A Letter* From Tom!
First and foremost - THANKS for making the kick off fund raiser (Tom Deierlein Foundation) last November a huge success. We raised over $22,000 - amazing.
1. Adminstration. My hats off again to Sean Finnegan, Paul Bremer and Bill Flatley for bringing this fund raiser from concept to execution. Another special and final thanks to Marcia Greenblatt at Forbes for coordinating the actual event. I would also like to acknowledge Nick Nyhan for putting me in touch with an elite law firm here in Washington DC who is working pro bono to set up the foundation legally. We are still awaiting the paperwork and non-profit status. Thanks to Sean for handling the initial finances until I got organized and set up. Please get in touch with me directly if you still need/want a tax ID for your charitable contribution. I do not plan on starting a website until I am recovered and decide how to continue the fund after March when my unit and friends return. Here is the basic mission statement I used for the formation:
The purpose of this organization is to help needy families and children both nationally and internationally with their most basic living needs including medical care. We will raise funds in the US and then use them to arrange for medical treatment and/or purchase critical daily items such as clothes, food, water, school supplies, vitamins, as well as toys, etc. We will partner with local organizations, institutions, and people to locate and distribute these goods and services to those in need. Our initial recipients will be Iraqi children effected by the current war.
2. Future Contributions/Funding. For any future contributions please send to my home address in Atlanta:
Tom Deierlein Foundation
199 14th St NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
Until I get settled back in NYC this summer, this is the best address.
3. Three Early Efforts and Successes.
- Two weeks ago we sent over $6,000 worth of children clothes. We partnered with a used clothing and consignment shop to get clothes below or at cost. My Commander, Phil McIntire, was thrilled and said the items arrived just in time as they had run out of government supplies and there were a number of humanitarian aid missions planned for January and February.
- A young boy named Abdullah was injured when RPG shrapnel destroyed his hip. Without expert pediatric orthopedic surgical care he will never walk again. My friend Bill Billeter, a West Point graduate who moved his family 2,000 miles and missed the birth of his child in order to deploy spearheaded this effort and refused to let the issue die with the military and Iraqi bureaucracies. Phil McInitre, a Michigan native tapped into his network at home and arranged for the boy to be treated at the University of Michigan Hospital by an elite surgeon – all medical expenses paid. Our Fund will pay the travel expenses for the mother and child. We are finalizing the passport/visa paperwork this week. Here is an excerpt from an email from Phil as he describes what happened when the father was notified. (Our interpreter's nick name is Jackie Chan and our company mascot is the ArchAngels).
Here's Phil's email:
I had Jackie Chan call the family today to make sure they were willing to go through with this. It will require for the boy and his mom to be away from their family, alone in the US for several weeks. The family had no idea of what was going on behind the scenes other than they asked the GIC for help. The Dad answered the phone; I prepped Jackie in what I wanted him to say so he just went on for several seconds. The Dad was so shocked he started crying... Jackie was actually shaking because he was so happy to give the good news and realize how much it meant to the Dad. The Dad kept saying between his tears of joy... "I feel like I am talking to an angel from heaven!" "I feel like I've been talking to an angel!" It hit me, the magnitude of what we were helping to give to these parents and little Abdual... I am confident the "Angels" had something to do with this!
I don't know the next steps regarding airfare, but will get back with you with and provide an update soon.
Thanks Tom for staying true to the calling of the "Archangels".... "the protectors".
- The third and final early effort involves another medical case. Another child was brought to my attention. She was presented to the NIAC and the NIAC people who we worked with for Abdullah earlier, contacted Phil to see if we could help. This baby girl has a form of Spina Bifida. There is a hole about the size of a fifty cent piece at the base of her spinal column, and the spinal column is actually exposed, but covered with a very thin skin membrane. The doctors say if she doesn't get surgery to close the hole in the next month or so, she may likely become a paraplegic. Right now she has full normal function of her lower body. Evidently most cases like hers degrade if untreated. The operation can be done in Jordan. There is a cost of about $7,500 total estimated needed to cover the surgery, visas, travel, lodging that the family can't afford. We are trying to help – no details or definite results on this one just yet.
4. Personal Update. Last, but not least a quick update on me. I am finally on my feet. My left pelvis is still healing and I cannot put weight on my left leg, but I do get up twice a day and I am even climbing stairs using crutches. Yesterday I got on an exercise bike (reclined). My recovery phase is FINALLY ending and I am anxious to start my full-on rehab phase. It is very slow going and trying my patience, but I remain positive and enjoy the little victories. Here is a quick video of me walking on Dec 27th - five days after I stood up for the first time. Here's the video clip.
Still many months to go...
*For new readers of the MadAve Journal, Tom Deierlein, COO, Dynamic Logic, Inc., was wounded last year while serving our country in Baghdad. Tom was called to active duty in early 2006 as Captain (CPT,) U.S. Army, and had been stationed in Iraq. Friends of Tom have requested we keep them up to date on his progress.
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