Walk for the Wounded 2015 Raises Over $100,000 for Vets

first_imgSgt. Matthew Sonderman addresses the crowd at the seventh annual Walk for the Wounded.The annual Walk for the Wounded on the Ocean City Boardwalk on Sept. 26 raised more than $100,000 to support Operation First Response.Since the first Walk for the Wounded in 2009, the event has raised more than $500,000 to help injured soldiers and their families.“When we organized Walk for the Wounded in Ocean City, I knew we would find some support in the area, but I had no idea of the extent to which our residents, business owners, and area organizations would contribute to the ongoing success of the fundraiser,” said Steven E. Brady, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ocean City Home Bank, the main sponsor of the Walk.“From our local firefighters, who work tirelessly to raise thousands of dollars for the Walk, to school clubs who organize fundraisers throughout the year, to co-workers at local businesses who get together and walk as a group, our community has truly stepped up to the plate to help our nation’s heroes,” Brady said.In addition to the substantial funds raised since 2009, Walk for the Wounded has raised awareness of the physical, financial, and emotional struggles encountered by soldiers once they return from battle.  Each year, the supporters who attend the opening ceremonies of the Walk hear the personal stories of veterans who faced significant challenges upon their return to the United States, along with descriptions of the assistance they received from Operation First Response.At the 2015 Walk for the Wounded, United States Marine Corps Sergeant Matthew Sonderman, whose vehicle was struck by an IED in Afghanistan, explained that when he arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center, badly burned and convinced he would lose both his right arm and right leg, he was surprised to find his family waiting for him at the hospital, courtesy of Operation First Response.“It meant the world to me to see them when the ambulance doors opened,” Sonderman said.  The initial connection with his family was not the only assistance provided by Operation First Response.  “Out of all of the groups that support veterans, Operation First Response is the only one that still checks in with me on a weekly basis,” he said.  Sonderman has made remarkable progress in his recovery and has recently graduated from Drexel University with a degree in engineering.Supporters also heard from James Levison, who served in the United States Army and was deployed twice to Baghdad, Iraq.  While training for a third deployment to Afghanistan, he began experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. He received a permanent change of station to Fort Stewart in Georgia, where his injuries nearly led him to take his own life.  Operation First Response offered the support he needed to address his challenges, and ultimately, to make plans to help other injured soldiers.“When I originally heard my friend, Phil Martelli, speaking on television about the outstanding work of Operation First Response, I knew I needed to do my part to help this cause,” said Brady.  “And every year, without fail, when I hear the stories of the brave soldiers who have made such sacrifices for our country and the help they’ve received from Operation First Response, I’m grateful to be part of this great event.”— News release from Ocean City Home BankRead more: Hundreds Walk for the Wounded in Ocean Citylast_img read more