A small group from Centreville is using small comforts to make a big difference in the lives of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Friends of the Wounded Veterans, a small group of 10 or 11 Centreville residents, was founded in January of 2011 by National Guard Sgt. Kenny Walls to help soldiers returning from conflicts overseas. The group mainly helps soldiers with PTSD, to help them transition back into society.
"It really doesn’t take a whole lot of money to make a big difference in these soldiers’ lives," said Bob Froehlich, a realtor and president of the group.
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Since the group was founded, Friends of Wounded Veterans has looked for ways to help: it has paid for a soldier's visa applications to bring his wife and son to the U.S. for citizenship, delivered Girl Scout cookies and a laptop.
The group has also provided 500 movie tickets—"so these soldiers have an opportunity to get off base with their families and do things," Froehlich said. It may sound like a small thing, but not to someone who is stuck in a hospital room recovering.
"If they’re not in therapy, or a doctor’s appointment, they’re sitting in their room," he explained.
The rest of the Centreville community has supported the group, too: some of the businesses and nonprofits that have chipped in include the Southwestern Youth Association, Glory Days, Red Rocks Cafe & Tequila Bar and Fast Eddies, in addition to Hooters in Chantilly and Manassas.
At Fast Eddie's on May 11, from 2-6 p.m., the group will raffle off a 1976 Harley Davidson and other prizes (if the winner doesn't want the Harley, the group will give a prize of $6,500. Brodie Outdoor Solutions, a landscaper, has also said that it will donate a portion of all proceeds from now until the end of the summer to Friends of Wounded Veterans.