Anne Arundel County residents Jeffrey Wells and Ann Parker dedicated years of their lives to service in the Unites States of America military. Today, the two have joined forces to provide service of a different kind: Wells founded and operates the non-profit Connected Warrior Foundation, and Parker is volunteering her time and leadership skills in organizing a fundraiser to benefit the Foundation.
One of the primary efforts of the organization is providing Kindle Fire and Google Nexus tablet devices to veterans—whether newly-injured or on the path to recovery over an extended period of time—who have suffered severe physical and/or emotional ‘invisible’ wounds (PTSD) during the course of combat on behalf of the United States of America. CWF provides active support to the families of those veterans as well. Additionally, CWF has a unique tele-presence robot project in the works.
Wells – a wounded US Navy military veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and current Annapolitan – founded CWF in 2012 when he discovered that many US military soldiers and personnel were being transported to US military hospitals with no local family or friends to visit them and no way of staying connected with family, friends and the outside world. The Kindle Fire and Google Nexus tablet devices allow the wounded veterans to connect with the outside world and help keep them occupied while they recuperate in the hospital. Over the past year and going forward, Kindle Fire and Nexus tablet devices will be delivered from CWF to veterans at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, San Antonio Military Medical Center and Balboa Naval Hospital.
Funding for the devices and services CWF provides to military veterans and their families comes from a variety of sources, including special events hosted by CWF and others. Parker, a Crofton resident and retired Colonel from the United States Air Force who spent 23 years as a nurse in the military, is leading a group of volunteers to plan a special fundraiser to benefit CWF. “Hats Off to Our Heroes” will be held on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 from 6:30 – 10:30 PM at Union Jack’s of Annapolis (2072 Somerville Road, adjacent to the Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole.) The event will feature live music by Sly 45, a free appetizer buffet from 6:30 – 8:00 PM compliments of Union Jack’s of Annapolis, a raffle and a live auction. Attendees, who will have the opportunity to meet several military veterans and their families, are actively encouraged to participate in the “Hats Off to Our Heroes” theme and wear a hat. A hat contest will be held at the event with prizes awarded in the following categories: Silliest, Most Original, Ugliest, Best Team-Coordinated Hats, and Best Overall. Tickets are just $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and can be purchased here: http://hatsofftoourheroes.
“I’m really excited to be a part of this fundraiser and this group,” says Parker. “Military members and their families sacrifice so much; there are so many deserving. If we can start with a few and help them connect, and continue to grow and raise awareness along the way, our efforts will be well worth it.”
In addition to his efforts with his Connected Warrior Foundation, Wells also serves on the Boards of the Friends of the Light House Shelter and Candle of Light organizations and actively supports the Wounded Warrior Project (where he is a peer mentor), Mercy Corp, Pennies for Peace, and Turquoise Mountain Foundation charities. Wells is also involved as a dedicated fundraiser for the Navy Seal Foundation, 31 Heroes Project, and the Special Operations Command Family Support Organization.
“Connected Warrior Foundation gives the opportunity to continue to serve. For me there is no greater reward than to reach back to my fellow brothers and sisters in arms and help to carry them forward,” says Wells.
For more information on the Connected Warrior Foundation or the “Hats Off to Our Heroes” event, contact Kaeti Bradley, CWF Community Liaison at [email protected] or on 855.892.1949.