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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Giving Back: A Post by Conservative Girl with a Voice

Our veterans deserve the best America has to offer for all the sacrifices they have made in serving our great country. When I heard Sarah was going to be a part of a benefit auction on eBay to aid wounded veterans, I was so excited because I knew this charity would greatly benefit from Sarah's star power. I am so happy that a great woman, Cathy Maples, from Huntsville, Alabama, won the chance to have dinner with Sarah and Todd with a winning bid of $63,500.

As a great supporter of our men and women in uniform, as well as an ardent supporter of Sarah, there is no doubt in my mind that Cathy is going to get to experience the chance of a lifetime in meeting Sarah. As I was watching the news (Fox News Channel) this morning and drinking a cup of coffee, I was thinking about what an awesome experience Cathy would have in meeting Sarah when I saw a story that truly touched my heart. It is stories like the one I am about to describe that makes me truly thankful to be living in a country where so many great individuals and organizations do so much for our great men and women in uniform. It is this story, fellow readers, that inspired today's random thought post.

The inspiring Fox New's story focused on the outstanding work of The Lakeshore Foundation, a non profit organization that serves people with disabilities. The foundation's motto is: "healthy, active, independent." According to the foundation's website, Lakeshore serves more than 3000 people with physical disabilities each year. The individuals they help range in age- from six months to those in their 90's. According to the Foundation's website:

"Lakeshore meets their critical needs for access to exercise and recreation opportunities--needs that can't be met elsewhere. We are setting a standard in this country and changing the perception of people with disabilities."

Not only does the foundation allow disabled individuals the chance to experience many of the things we may take for granted, it also allows them to experience the fun with their families.

This weekend, the foundation has invited 30 injured veterans and their families to take part in activities they normally otherwise would not be able to partake in part of what the foundation calls "Operation Rise and Conquer." Think of your own life- think of all the outdoor activities you do without so much as a thought. Now, think about how hard participating in these same activities would be for an injured veteran. This puts life into perspective, doesn't it?

This weekend, brave men and women from across the country, who have given and sacrificed so much, are finally going to be able to experience the joys many of us get to experience on a daily basis. For injured veteran Orlando Pettis, this means the world:

"It (waterskiing) was amazing! Just to know that I'm able to do stuff that other people take for granted that I can do. It's just amazing."

Fox New's Channel's Marianne Silba asked Orlando what being able to participate this weekend means to him as an injured veteran to which he replied:

"Coming here is amazing because it not only brings together the injured military from all across the country, it also brings the family members. It shows us that it's not only competition, it's not only just going and leaving with a disability. We can do this other stuff and have fun with our families and our service members, just get together and be together."

For men and women like Orlando, they will get to participate in amazing activities such as waterskiing, target shooting and archery. This organization adapts these experiences to fit the needs of the veterans. For example, when waterskiing, veterans can sit or stand- how amazing!

For many of the 30 veterans and their families, this may be the first time they have been able to experience sports activities together since being injured; therefore, this weekend will allow them to re-connect with their loved ones, which is crucially important.

There are over 34,000 injured veterans living in America today, and The Lakeshore Foundation will continue to be a service to these brave men and women as they have been to so many since beginning "Operation Rise and Conquer" four years ago. It is so important that we have organizations like The Lakeshore Foundation. Many of us forget the important fact that just because a service member comes home, does not mean that the rough times are over. Our disabled men and women in uniform are so important and need to feel as if they are no different than anyone else just because they are disabled. The Lakeshore Foundation is setting the bar for this and making sure our disabled vets are not forgotten, but instead built up and made to feel that there are no limits, only limitless possibilities.

To learn more about The Lakeshore Foundation or to contribute, visit the foundation's website: http://www.lakeshore.org.

(I'm a Conservative Girl with a Voice!!! Visit my blog and become a follower: http://www.conservativegirlwithavoice.com. I'm on Twitter too @rachellefriberg.)

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