Helping Out: Trip to Walter Reed deepens meaning of giving to soldier recovery fund

Monday, September 27, 2010

Steve George

Chief executive of Atteloir, a Germantown-based company that provides visual communication solutions to the federal government.

Charitable giving highlights: Gives personally and corporately to the Combat Soldier Recovery Fund.

Personal: Lives in Darnestown with wife and two kids.

There's a woman that walks through the halls of Walter Reed Hospital and cuts a check to any wounded soldier that submits a request. Some use the money to fly loved ones in while they're rehabilitating and others for car repairs or a few nights out with their family.

Garland Miller is the founder of the Combat Soldier Recovery Fund. The fund is an organization that supports wounded soldiers. It's very unique. Every dollar that comes in goes directly to the wounded soldier. There is zero overhead. That's phenomenal.

There's a gamut of charities that Atteloir supports, but the Combat Soldier Recovery Fund is nearest and dearest to my heart.

Atteloir is a company that works with soldiers while they're in combat. Through the fund, we feel like we're staying committed to them as they come back home.

We've been giving to the fund for four years now. Cutting a check is easy, but we wanted to take another step in our understanding. We decided to visit and walk with Garland Miller. Through the years, I had been apprehensive to go because I didn't know if I could handle what I would see. I was right.

We walked through the areas of the hospital where they were working on the prosthesis recalibration and physical therapy. We must've met 20 soldiers who were double and triple amputees.

There were several kids that were amputees from the waist down. They were upbeat and positive. Some were preparing to go back to battle because of their love for this country. Some of them, even though it was not verbalized, would do it again in a heartbeat.

We delivered 10 $300 checks. To see them open the envelopes, you would've thought they hit the lotto. They were so grateful.

I don't think the fund will completely change their lives, but it gives them a moment to breathe.

Cutting a check is easier than bringing you to the heart and soul of something. You have to touch it, see it, feel it to get the true sense of what that charity means.

-- Interview with Vanessa Mizell

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