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posted: 7/5/2012 10:54 AM

Noon Rotary hears about need to help disabled veterans

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  • Tom Spangler, left, and Rich Wahlberg with the Disabled Patriot Fund recently spoke to the St. Charles Noon Rotary Club about the critical need for funding.

    Tom Spangler, left, and Rich Wahlberg with the Disabled Patriot Fund recently spoke to the St. Charles Noon Rotary Club about the critical need for funding.
    Courtesy of St. Charles Noon Rotary


Submitted by St. Charles Noon Rotary Club

Rich Wahlberg and Tom Spangler, both volunteer board of directors with the Disabled Patriot Fund, gave an impassioned talk to the St. Charles Noon Rotary Club members about their efforts with the Disabled Patriot Fund and the critical need for funding help.

This fund was formed by a group of southwest suburban area business people and local officials, who came together because of a common interest: to help local Illinois disabled veterans who have fought in the War on Terrorism. As their mission statement explains, their common goal is "to provide financial relief for local U.S. military families who have been adversely affected by the War on Terror."

Men and women who are protecting our freedom are coming home with varying levels of disabilities, and may need more financial assistance than the government may be able to provide.

For example, Chad Watson, a Marine deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, was hit by an IED while conducting a vehicle mounted patrol. The blast caused Chad to lose his right leg above the knee, shattered his left ankle and foot, and he also took shrapnel to his right eye and face. He spent the next 17 months recovering and going through rehabilitation and multiple surgeries.

The Disabled Patriot Fund approved a $10,000 disbursement for help with his financial situation and, in September 2009, the Fund and other organizations gave Chad a new vehicle which will provide him independence.

Many of the fund's directors and committee members are associated with the home building industry. Since 2004, thanks to their generous donors, they have raised over $1.4 million, but the financial need is great due to the large number of Illinois vets returning to their lives compromised by service disabilities.

For a complete list of Disabled Patriot Fund Honorees, visit or call (708) 364-9445 to become a supporter. The Disabled Patriot Fund is a 501(c)(3) and donations are tax deductible.

St. Charles Rotary Club 50 member club are doers for their community and the greater world needs. For example, this club has assisted in the building of a library and school in a rural area of Guatemala; has sent emergency aid to Haiti; has financially supported local nonprofits, has contributed funds to Rotary International's goal of worldwide eradication of Polio. In addition, the club has provided more than $50,000 in local scholarships over the past 6 years. Rotary members are business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. For information, contact Dustin Hawkins at (630) 584-2255 for the St. Charles Noon Rotary Club or Tassie Brautigam at (630) 222-6311 for the St. Charles Breakfast Rotary Club.