LOS ANGELES, May 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- There are no state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs. There are no white canes with red tips. There is no outward physical disfiguration. But for Brandon Gauvreau and thousands of military veterans like him, their health and well-being issues are just as serious.
In 2007, Gauvreau, a 19 year old airman stationed at McChord Air Force Base in Lakewood, Washington, suffered a Hemorrhagic stroke that left him partially paralyzed. He also suffered some left side hearing and vision loss and he is cognitively impaired. While Brandon's illness didn't happen on the front lines of Iraq or Afghanistan, he was in the armed forces doing the job of protecting his country.
Gauvreau soon realized that there was a woeful lack of facilities available to provide very important services to wounded veterans. Services like assistance filling out forms, arranging for benefits and help with finding housing are absolutely essential for the veteran who is suffering from some debilitating injury or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
But Gauvreau was not one to sit back and accept the status quo. "Thinking about what was going on with me made me want to go out and help others," he said. Gauvreau had an idea; he would start an organization that would do just that. He shared his idea with his mother Carol Blake, who took it and ran with it. Together they created Our Forgotten Warriors (OFW), a non-profit organization that was established to help veterans find their way through a maze of bureaucratic red tape and financial hardship.
Already OFW has helped a large number of veterans. "We get more than 20 calls a month, and we just don't have the resources to help everyone who needs it. There have been times I have had to come out of my own pocket to help someone," said Blake. Hopefully that won't have to happen too much longer, some people are taking notice. Blake was recently notified that OFW is the 2011 Community Impact Grant recipient, a $5000 grant that was awarded by the Home Depot Foundation. According to Blake the funds will be used on a home repair project for a veteran living in Michigan who served two tours in Iraq and received a purple heart and has already filed bankruptcy.
And, after hearing Gauvreau's story, a company in Olympia, Washington, Country Green Turf Farms, felt compelled to do something. So they agreed to landscape his entire back yard at no cost to the injured airman, a job that could typically cost as much as $9000.
Blake contacted Klaus Price an old friend and president and CEO of Elite B Inc., a personal management company in Southern California. The three of them came up with the idea to produce 'The Road to Recovery Tour' a free concert for the service men and women at Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) in Washington. Armed with a great idea, Blake soon elicited the enthusiastic support of the then garrison commander Colonel Thomas H. Brittain. Price, seeing this as a wonderful opportunity to help a good cause, agreed to provide financial support for the event and immediately went on to recruit a talented lineup which includes: VH1's Somaya Reece, Jessica Sierra of American Idol fame and Traci Bingham. In all, he has arranged for a total of 10 featured performers.
"I always wanted to join the Air Force, but it just didn't work out," Price said. "I think this is a great way for us to show our men and women in the military that we care about them."
Roderick Lyons: (310) 487-8524
Carol Blake: (360) 280-9055
CEO, Our Forgotten Warriors
Klaus Price: (818) 936-3436
Talent Manager, Producer
SOURCE Our Forgotten Warriors; Elite B inc.