Monday, October 16, 2006

Marines Strip To Raise Cash For Wounded Buddies

Via: The Associated Press

The America's Heroes calendar is being sold by Freedom is Not Free, a San Diego-based nonprofit group that helps injured service members and their families with such expenses as travel, mortgage and utility bills and special beds for burn victims.A group of Marines and ex-Marines who fought in Iraq – including two wounded there – are featured in a beefcake calendar being sold to help wounded veterans.Reyes and the other men who appear in the glossy 2007 lineup served in Iraq in Marine reconnaissance units. Sgt. James Wright, 31, who lost his hands and part of his leg, appears on the back cover in full uniform, saluting with what's left of his right arm. Several members of the group, promoting the calendar on a cross-country tour, said they have medical conditions, ranging from combat stress-related symptoms to injuries to their feet, knees, hips and backs from carrying combat loads of more than 200 pounds. When service members come back, “many don't have the financial or emotional support to get back to daily life,” said former Sgt. Michael Saucier, 24, of Prior Lake, Minn., who served two Iraq tours and is now a carpenter's apprentice in Lake Tahoe, Nev. “It's a stopgap effort to help people where government programs leave off,” said Rudy Reyes, who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan and is on the calendar's cover. “This is a way for citizens to help citizens.”The $14.99 calendar promises “100 percent of proceeds aid wounded heroes and their families.”

It’s not my place to rant, but this should not be happening in the United States.