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One of the most difficult things to deal with is betrayal. It is the very thing that is driving the popular success of the Donald Trump f#&k you campaign. People feel sold out – betrayed – by our government and they are livid and they gravitate to a candidate spewing outrage. That sense of betrayal – the stab in the back by those we trusted – is part of the reason why treason is a capital crime.
And it is exactly why I have a problem with the Wounded Warrior Project. I’ve always had an unease about the slick commercials that show wounded vets in rehab, families with a disabled parent and they’re all smiling, a popular country singer tugging at hearts in a practiced baritone voice and a sound track that begs that we say a prayer for peace. The commercials are slick, because nowhere in the ads is there a statement about services actually delivered to vets and the benefits vets get and the recoveries they experience due to Wounded Warrior Project services, so the ads don’t quite pass the sniff test. What is really going on?
In a stunning January 27, 2016 article in the New York Times online, Dave Phillips detailed the lavish spending – hundreds of millions of dollars per year – that Wounded Warrior Project spends on its executives, not vets, for travel, dinners and hotels, its draconian employee practices and other questionable activities of the organization.
Wounded Warrior Project urges us to donate $19 per month and they give a WWP blanket as a token of thanks. That would be nice, were the monthly ding on your credit card account actually going to helping our vets. Phillips reports that, “About 40% of the organization’s donations in 2014 were spent on its overhead . . . which includes administrative expenses and marketing costs . . .” That means that $7.60 of every $19 monthly donation goes to executive pay and fancy hotels at $500 per night, instead of helping wounded veterans. To put that into perspective, ” . . . the Semper Fi Fund, a wounded-veterans group . . . spent about 8 percent of donations on overhead.”
Ugly fact: Phillips reports that Mr. Nardizzi, CEO of Wounded Warrior Project, ” . . . was given $473,000 in compensation in 2014.” Is it okay with you that all that money went to a very healthy, never-been-in-the-military CEO instead of going to vets suffering PTSD or amputations? If you have donated to Wounded Warrior Project, are you now feeling duped?
We hold our veterans in highest esteem, as they do for us what we don’t want to do ourselves. They intentionally put themselves in harms way to protect us and they too often need our help when they come home. I’m all for supporting our veterans and I’m definitely not for supporting Mr. Nardizzi, who probably won’t be sending me a Wounded Warrior Project blanket any time soon. And that’s okay, because I think he is betraying our veterans.
CBS reported on this issue, too, and if you’d like to read the weasel words Wounded Warrior Project had to say in response, click here. Perhaps the reporting is wrong. Maybe they spend 20% on overhead, as Nardizzi claims in his rebuttal. But 8% is even better – and there’s still that sniff thing.
Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.
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Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
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