Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Plug

I have something of an interest in charities with a narrow focus. They pick something well defined and go with it. This is as opposed to the big fluffy groups that have kind of lost their way but they have a lot of supporters and money and they need to find something to do with it so they have an ever increasing "mission". So for an example I tend to be more supportive of groups that are pro microloans or pro wetlands conservation but don't tend to trust groups whose mission is just some vague idea that they're pro-environment or pro-developing countries. (Or whatever, those are just the examples that came to mind)

Well, in 1980 after the Iranian hostage rescue debacle in which nine special ops folks were killed or incapacitated somebody noticed that 17 children were left behind. Special Operations folks get killed at a very high rate, often fairly young, so we're talking about 2-3 year olds typically. And these guys got together and said OK, let's just make sure they can go to college. Nice, well defined goal. Even though these guys die at 15 times the rate of regular combat troops there's not that many of them so it's an achievable goal. They do a lot of helping the kids get grants and anything that they can't cover that way they just pay.

Six years ago today their mission changed slightly. Not so much in terms of goals, but numbers. As you might imagine we've lost a lot of these guys, and they've left behind a lot of kids. To give you some idea of the numbers - they've had 113 graduates over their 27 year history, but they have 120 students in college now, and 500 in the pipeline. Now, since a lot of these kids are younger they have time to save before they become college aged - but can you imagine being responsible for sending 620 kids to college when you were thinking you would have to just do a few a year?

Anyway, they've been on a massive fundraising push for six years now and it doesn't seem like the problem's going to get easier any time soon. Whatever your politics, if you think this whole thing is misguided or not, these kids pretty much got screwed and could use some help. Check out the guys that help them. Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

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