Fundraising is vital to organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), which relies on community contributions to provide life-changing services to America’s veterans. Recently, the organization made headlines for a few fundraising efforts that saw dedicated supporters using some truly creative methods.
Let’s look at two of the most inspiring WWP fundraising stories:
One Navy hospital corpsman put his own spin on WWP’s virtual Carry Forward event this past year by gearing up with a full set of Star Wars stormtrooper armor for his own 10-kilometer ruck (a fast march carrying weight). The man, Jeffrey Priela, walked along Highway 101 in Carlsbad, California, in late August 2020 to raise money for WWP in a year when veteran demand has risen sharply due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Priela has been wearing stormtrooper armor during fundraisers since 2016 and says that the outfit always garners smiles and attention from passersby. Though the armor is unforgiving, he says it’s well worth it to raise money for the causes he supports.
In 2019, Air Force veteran and Minnesota resident Jerry Meadows set off on a cross-country journey to raise money for WWP. He selected the organization because of its focus on the needs of both veterans and their families. Meadows, who recently underwent triple bypass surgery and brought an oxygen tank along for the journey, aimed to walk more than 1,200 miles from Minnesota to WWP headquarters in Florida for the fundraiser. His wife, Virginia, followed behind him in the family van to make sure he was safe and keep him supplied with his medication.
Meadows said the journey was challenging, both physically and mentally, but the enthusiasm of passersby kept him going—that, and the worthy cause he was raising money to support.