Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund started on a military wife's kitchen table at Camp Pendleton. In April of 2003, Karen Guenther, a registered nurse and Marine wife, saw the difficulties facing injured or wounded Marines and had an idea. She decided to make a difference.
Karen drafted other Marine wives and Marines to assist her in making the idea a reality. It took just a little over a year to incorporate and officially become the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. As milspouses, we know that if we really want to do something, we must have the patience and the longterm commitment to see it through.
What IMSFF does is provide financial assistance to Marines, Sailors, and other servicemembers wounded or injured in support of a Marine unit while they and their family go through recovery, rehabilitation and beyond. Hopefully, it also provides some moral support to these fine folks as they deal with life.
IMSFF's reach is long. Support could start as far away as Landstuhl if needed. Most often, support starts at one of the Medical Centers stateside. Many folks get their first contact with the fund at Bethesda or Balboa. This is critical support as families take time off from jobs and their lives in order to be at their servicemember's bedside. The stay could be a couple of days, a couple of weeks or many months and it could be further complicated by having young children at home who need to be cared for by another person or even having to kennel family pets.
The fund's reach is long and so is the support. As I wrote, the support will begin at a Medical center and continue on until either the servicemember is returned to active duty or has gone through the VA system. In the latter case, support can consist of assisting with a custom vehicle, home, a palm pilot or a laptop for higher education or any combination thereof.
Another way that IMSFF supports wounded/injured Marines and other servicemembers is through Team Semper Fi. From the website: "Team Semper Fi will provide coaches, specialized sporting equipment, entry fees and travel expenses for the wounded team members. This program was inspired by those wounded Marines and Sailors who refuse to allow their disabilities to get in the way of their participating in sports as a way to move forward with their lives."
From it's beginnings on a kitchen table in 2003 to dispersing over 5500 grants to date totaling over $14 million dollars, Semper Fidelis is not just a motto, it is a way of life.