Send a Wounded Warrior Home for the Holidays!

Eastern North Carolina’s community came together at the New Bern-Craven County Riverfront Convention Center on December 11, 2013 to welcome our local Wounded Warriors and raise money to send them home for the Holidays!

If you missed this special event, you can still make a difference and help send our troops home for the holidays

Thea Kincaid and I had the pleasure of meeting Sgt. Sean Sedwin and his wife Holly before the festivities. Sgt Sedwin said, “when it comes to this program, it’s a huge benefit. In the Wounded Warrior East Battalion, a good majority of them got to use this program to get home for the Holidays. The reason it’s so exception, especially from the base that I’m from is that we have Marines that are having substantial medical issues that wouldn’t be able to afford to travel with their families, with their wheelchairs, and everything else. So this program greatly helps them be able to be home with family.”

MajGen Tom Braaten, USMC (Ret) was the Master of Ceremonies. He began with, “President Kennedy said, “A Nation reveals itself not just in the men it produces, but also the men it honors and the men it remembers.”

General Braaten introduced Navy Chaplain, Commander Philip Pelikan, to present the

Invocation. “Almighty God, as we gather this evening for a worthy cause, to honor and give back something to those who’ve sacrificed much for the freedoms we all enjoy. We ask your blessing upon them as they head off this holiday season to visit family and friends. As we remember their sacrifices for our country, may we also look forward and pray for your grace and guidance as they face the many challenges their injuries bring. Not only to themselves; but to those close to them. Help us also to look inward to find the character and courage exemplified by them. To stand for and secure the life and liberty in which you’ve endowed us. May all we say and do here this evening bring honor to those who have those how have so nobly served. May they never be forgotten or left out. May your grace of mercy ever protect them and us as we move into the uncertain future.”

MajGen Braaten recognized Craven County Commissioner Steve Tyson and Jim Casti who started this program eight years ago.

He introduced Commissioner Tyson. Tonight Steve thanked everyone in our community who joining forces to make it a success and raise money to send our Wounded Warriors home for the Holidays.

Jim Casti, NC Charter Member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, spoke next. He introduced a Navy Chaplain, Stan who was with the Marines in Vietnam. “Stan saw a Corporal go down and he jumped on him to save him. Stan stood before us with one leg, his other mangled, one shot in the head, and another in his chest”. Jim’s called Stan an American Hero and it was obvious that the crowd agreed!

Jim also welcomed Pat Little, the Nation’s Vice Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Senior to the stage.

Meet Wounded Warrior, Sgt Sean Sedwin and his wife Holly during the interview with Thea Kincaid:

The New Bern High School Color Guard presented colors as Lizbeth Holt sang the National Anthem:

Tom Meutsch, Sound Manager, opened the music and welcomed the troops with “Bad to the Bone”.  As the Wounded Warriors took to the stage, they stood at attention as he played the Marine Corps Hymn.

Greg Cooper sang “I’m Proud to be an American…God Bless the USA”:

Joan Meutsch sang all be home for Christmas:

Ask anyone who has attended and they will tell you “You get far more than you gave!”

The Wounded Warrior Leave program began several years ago when local members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart pledged to give our Wounded Warriors what they wanted for Christmas – to travel home. Most of the Wounded Warriors don’t have the disposable income to pay for the trip, so the MOPH stepped up to the plate! Please support these wounded Marines this Christmas! Just mail a donation of any size to Wounded Warrior Leave, 1914 Trent Blvd, New Bern, NC 28560.

It’s not too late to send our troops home! They accept donations from everywhere! Like them on http://www.Facebook/WoundedWarriorLeaveProgram, follow them on Twitter @WarriorLeave, and visit our website at

Special thanks to Craven County Commissioner Steve Tyson; MajGen Tom Braaten USMC (ret); LtGen Harry Blot USMC (ret); Jim Casti, National Welfare Officer of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and so many volunteers and businesses who supported this special event!

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