San Antonio, NY Post readers embraces our heros

Ralph Peters:

A YEAR ago this month, the Post ran a week-long series of columns on the courage and grit of our wounded troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Their medical treatment was state of the art, but the "off duty" facilities serving them and their families were a shame.

Those who gave so much asked for nothing for themselves. Fortunately, others stepped in.

Brooke Army Medical Center staffers and benefactors in San Antonio, Texas, saw that the local one-room Warrior and Family Support Center that helped prepare badly wounded vets for their return to the "real world" was overwhelmed.

A need was there. The money wasn't.

Always patriotic, San Antonio's citizens decided to do what government would not: Build a transition facility worthy of our troops.

But doing it right meant raising $4 million. That's small change in Washington, but not for citizens trying to pay their bills.

The help-our-vets effort proposed a stand-alone center where our troops could learn or relearn skills, take college courses, undergo counseling - or just relax, readjust and get to know their spouses and kids again (while families learned to deal with the needs of heroes badly burned or missing limbs).

A network of local contractors contributed their services, but the funding still fell short. Construction began, but the project's backers lacked the money to finish the job.

That's where you came in.

When those profiles of our wounded warriors ran last December, you stepped up with contributions great and small. Post readers came through with about a million dollars - a quarter of the funding.

Despite the financial demands we all feel every holiday season, you gave to those who had given so much to us.

The result? On Dec. 1, military authorities received the keys to a magnificent 12,500-square-foot facility.

Instead of one crowded room up a flight of stairs, our wounded vets have a beautiful building specifically designed to meet their needs. The quality is impeccable - this "home" will be there for generations of vets. For once, our troops received a worthy thanks.

Congress, tax dollars and war profiteers didn't give it. You did.


So let me make a last-minute holiday-reading recommendation to those of you interested in the story of just one severely wounded warrior who never experienced a facility like this. Track down "Once A Marine" by Gunnery Sgt. Nick Popaditch. "Gunny Pop" fought for us in Iraq, then returned to fight for his own future. His saga will break your heart - then lift it.


Thanks to Ralph Peters for publicizing this worthy endeavor, as well as his readers who help make it happen. San Antonio is a dynamic city that still embraces the military. The growth of San Antonio in the last 30 years is amazing. With the cities embraces of veterans it is not surprising that many decide to make their home there.

The Christmas Party this year was hosted by the Jewish Federation of San Antonio.


"Yes, it's a Christian holiday. But we do it because we know that the Christians are at home celebrating with their families," said Jewish Federation of San Antonio spokeswoman Judy Lackritz. "And, we're showing by our actions — a very Jewish concept — that we want to help Christians."



  1. Ralph Peters is a great columnist. "Once a Marine" is a GREAT read. Makes you laugh and cry with each few pages, and changes the way you look at life in general, and your own life in particular. I heard this Marine at a Rotary club. he is also one of the best speakers I have heard. Very genuine and humble. There is a really cool book trailer for it, too at I personally recommend this book to anyone middle school age or older. Even my wife liked it (lots of family issues involved, emotions, and character issues).

    Thanks Gunny Sgt. Popaditch. A lot of us Americans deeply appreciate your sacrifice.


  2. Anonymous11:38 AM

    Thank you, Ralph, for mentioning Nick Popaditch and "Once a Marine." Thank you, Marty, for your comments.

    "Once a Marine" tells a great story about a Marine willing to sacrifice all for his country. Nick Popaditch exhibits rare commitment and heroisim.

    Tammy Hall
    Sacramento, CA


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