Fundraiser golf outing planned for disabled veterans
By Ginger Brashinger Correspondent June 24, 2014 7:30PM
Sergio Lopez (center) stands with two guest at the 2013 Disabled Patriot Fund golf outing. Lopez lost both of his legs when his vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb in Iraq. | Supplied photo
IF YOU GO…
What: Disabled Patriot Fund 10th Anniversary Golf Outing
When: July 2
Where: Silver Lake Country Club, 14700 82nd Ave., Orland Park
Information: Tickets are $150 per person; $600 for foursome; $50 for dinner only at
www.disabledpatriotfund.com. For more information about donating silent auction and raffle items, call Dave Wagner at (708) 873-5508.
Updated: July 26, 2014 6:18AM
The Disabled Patriot Fund is celebrating its 10th year of assisting military veterans by doing more of the same.
The locally based not-for-profit organization intends to continue its mission to “provide financial relief for local U.S. military families who have been adversely affected by the War on Terror” for as long as necessary, said Dave Wagner, DPF board secretary, and one of several founding directors.
“We try our best to help everyone we can. We try to keep it local, too,” Wagner said. “If there’s a Chicago connection and there’s a need that needs to be filled, we’ll go ahead and do it.”
That’s been the case for nearly 150 veterans since 2004, according to the DPT website where the name and disability of each veteran who has been helped is listed.
Wagner said veterans are referred to DPT by counselors, other organizations and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“They come from everywhere,” Wagner said. “Every kind of organization you can think of has referred a vet to us.”
Veterans may receive financial help in order to pay household bills, medical bills or buy food, while others may need a vehicle to get back to work in civilian life, Wagner said.
The DPT will do what it takes to help vets. For example, Wagner said DPT has partnered with companies like Home Depot that ask the organization to help find veterans who need homes retrofitted for their disabilities.
Although much of the help is financial because “some of these guys got into financial trouble while being treated” for whatever disability changed their lives, some of the help DPT gives is “tapping into the VA benefits,” Wagner said.
“Most of these guys are just waiting for their VA benefits to kick in,” he said. “We all know where that’s at right now. It’s an embarrassment to us as Americans, and to these people it’s an injustice.”
Wagner said many of the veterans experience post traumatic stress disorder which DPT treats the same as a physical disability.
“We don’t ask why,” Wagner said. “We just ask what you need and how we can help, and we tell you if we can participate.
Anything in their life that they’re having trouble with and it’s financially related to their disability and service to their country, we’ll listen to it.”
That kind of help takes a lot of money.
One of the mainstays of the organization from the beginning has been its annual golf outing, Wagner said. In 2013, the fundraiser yielded more than $60,000, a sum which helped about 50 veterans.
DPT is hoping to exceed that amount for its 10th anniversary golf outing July 2.
But it hasn’t always been easy, Wagner said.
“Fundraising became more of a challenge for us” a couple of years ago, he said.
The organization had built up a considerable sum of money between the end of America’s Iraq War involvement and additional military personnel going to Afghanistan. Then, Wagner said, a surge of applications left them “short on money,” and the board had to make a decision whether to continue the organization or fold.
“It was unanimous that we would continue on and keep helping people,” Wagner said.
The DPT added a “Black and White” fundraiser dinner during the winter holiday season.
“We had to spend a bit more to make more,” he said.
The DPT is looking for help from everyone who shares its belief that the country should give back to the military personnel who have made so many sacrifices.
Wagner said there are still openings for the golf outing and/or dinner that follows and DPT continues to accept items for the silent auctions and raffles for the golf outing and the Black and White event.
Those who attend may get the opportunity to meet some of the DPT recipients who have put their lives on the line for America. Wagner said many of the veterans who received assistance attend the annual golf outing as guests of the DPT.
“You see where they were then and where they are now and the difference is just very humbling,” Wagner said.