Being associated with Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) as a Director and Secretary since the early 2000’s has been a wonderful experience. How this happened was a long time in the making.
I was born during WWII in eastern North Carolina, which had numerous military bases in the area. We were around armed forces people often and, in those days, all families had members who had served.
In 1966, I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill and the Vietnam War was going on. Much like the generation before me, I enlisted in the Army. After Basic Training, AIT, OCS and a couple of Army schools, including Vietnamese language training, I was assigned as an advisor to a Vietnamese Infantry Battalion. This was a terrific experience, and my three years of active duty was exactly what I needed after college.
Upon retiring from business around the millennium, I reached out to General Pete Schoomaker, asking him for his recommendation regarding a top military support organization for me to become involved with. He immediately said SOWF and that he would introduce me to Colonel John Carney, the president at the time. After meeting John and following the organization for a few years, I was asked to join the board.
Of all the corporate and nonprofit boards I have served on, SOWF has by far been the most enjoyable and rewarding. During my many years on the board, we have expanded the mission by adding tutoring, enhancing our impactful counseling efforts, removing all limits of how much we spend per student for their college education, ensuring children of all parents lost in the Line of Duty were included in our programs, issuing immediate cash payments to severely wounded Special Operations Personnel and funding educations for children of all Medal of Honor recipients.
I am happy to also say that SOWF has received Charity Navigator’s Four-Star rating for 16 consecutive years – it is without a doubt the best of the military support organizations.