2015-08-07 Exec. Dir. Report

The past couple of months have flown by. The fall issue seems to have snuck up on us. The AWCF has continued to help the Wounded Warriors and their families as before. We have had two major programs ongoing in San Antonio.

The first of these was to build a children’s playground for the Marine Corps Detachment. We anchored the equipment with concrete footings and covered the area with a foot of special wood material which provides a safety cushion for the children. The playground set has multiple slides, a climbing wall and a playhouse on top. This project was completed on July 31st. Pictures are below. This project was at the top of the Marine Detachment wish list and they are delighted with the equipment. They have a big family event planned for 20 August which will give the playground a true test.


The second project was the procurement of therapeutic computers for the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Department at SAMMC. The department now occupies the entire 6th floor of the hospital and is dealing with the invisible wounds of the wars in South Asia. The 24 computers we donated were loaded with apps that the psychiatrist find hugely beneficial in treating PTSD/TBI. AWCF was able to purchase later generation and more capable iPads than the PTSD clinic had requested. Gary Baber formally presented the iPads and associated equipment to Dr. Burlson who runs the PTSD/TBI Department during a small ceremony at the Warrior and Family Support Center. That picture is also below.


Judith Markelz, who runs the famous Warrior and Family Support Center at SAMMC, approached AWCF about supporting the PTSD/TBI Department. She has a son who is a physician at the hospital and he made her aware of the acute need for computer support in the treatment of PTSD/TBI. Some of the warriors have had up to five tours in South Asia. Judith is intensely interested in any initiative that will help the causalities of war. The computers stay with the hospital after the warriors are released from treatment and are issued to new patients as they come in.

This program is a winner.

With the recent loss of the Marine helicopter that went down in Nepal, we are up to 172 IRS 529 College Savings Plans. Although it was a humanitarian mission we treated it as a combat mission. To remind you, for each child of an aircrew member lost on a combat mission, we will open a 529 at $2,000. For a training or other non-combat mission, we will open it at $1,000. Once open, family, friends and organizations can make tax deductible donations to the children. When the child takes the money out and it is used for his/her college costs, it becomes tax exempt income. If it is not used for college, it can be taxed as ordinary income. The current value of the 172 529s is $1.55M. This is one of our very special programs in which we “care for our own.”

I will take my author’s license and add a personal note to this. I had the opportunity to be at the promotion ceremony of Dave “Fingers” Goldfein to his 4th star and to become the Vice Chief of Staff of the US Air Force. This was a great occasion for the Air Force, the Goldfein family, the AWCF, and the River Rats. Fingers is part of a wonderful legacy beginning with Bill “Goldie” Goldfein, one of our original River Rats. Goldie’s granddaughter 1/LT Danielle, to be promoted to Captain in September, is an airborne intel officer with proper orders and is eligible for Rat membership. Once she is in, she will join 3 generations of Goldfeins and 6 members of the family as River Rats. This includes a grandson, brother Steve’s son, who is Thunderbird 3. The family has also been a great supporter and very active in AWCF activities in San Antonio and the DC area. When Fingers and Dawn were in DC before, they were active in our Eagle cane presentations and activities for the Wounded Warriors and their families. We are all proud to have them in our midst and programs.

Although this may be out after the time, the AWCF and RRVA will, again, have a booth at the 14-16 September AFA exhibit. It will be booth number 745.

On these last two upbeat notes, I will wish you a happy end of summer and Labor Day.

Check 6,


Therapeutic Riding Program FAQ

Are there any programs that would potentially benefit our community since our services are free?
ANSWER – Yes. AWCF support may be by cost per child/lesson (a personal scholarship) or, in the case of those TROs that do not charge participants, a blanket award to the Therapeutic Riding Center (TRC); all payments/donations are made directly to the TRC. Completion of the TRP Application is required for all participants.
How might a military family with a disabled child be reviewed for funding?
ANSWER – Military rank or branch of service is not an issue. The AWCF makes its decision solely on each child’s situation, medical prognosis and “need.” The AWCF reserves the right to verify the military status of the sponsor(s) and dependent status of the child involved, the medical condition of the child and the “need.”
Does your program provide support for military dependent children that do not have a diagnosed disability?
ANSWER – No, the AWCF TRP is designed to assist military dependent children receive disability therapy not covered by the traditional military service “safety-nets,” e.g. CHAMPUS, TRICARE, etc.
What is the advance timeline that they would need to apply?
ANSWER – Whenever a child is approved by the TRC for participation or is already participating, we will accept a completed TRP application and begin the process for possible funding. The AWCF approval process takes approximately 2-3 weeks to be completed and the Therapeutic Riding Center/family notified of whatever support is approved.
Is there a specific format?
ANSWER – Yes, please review our TRP Application.
Do you share participant information with anyone other than the AWCF, the Therapeutic Riding Center and family involved?
ANSWER – No. As with all AWCF philanthropic activities, all information is dealt with on a confidential basis unless, on a voluntary basis, written permission of all parties is obtained.
We are an EFMH (Equine Facilitated Mental Health) program, and the majority of our riders are able bodied but wrestling with many issues. Would your program be able to sponsor scholarship for those students if they qualified?
ANSWER – Probably not, as our program is not currently designed to support “able-bodied” children. However, our medical staff will review a child’s condition diagnosis/ prognosis statement, completed by his/her doctor, and make a determination of eligibility.
Some of our students are from families so broken apart that there is no contact between parents. Do you have access to military service information if the fathers are unreachable to fill out forms about their service history?
ANSWER – No, we do not have such a capability but the parent caring for the child should be able to provide sufficient information for our review. Having a “regular” family, i.e., not divorced/separated/etc, does not qualify nor disqualify a needy child from participating in our program.