(Kevin Lake) My first experience with the Wounded Warriors Project came in 2006, when I made several donations from between $200 and $500 to the organization. I was a stock broker at the time and my income allowed for such idiocy. I guess you could say that I had more money than I had sense, but more importantly, I gave the money because I felt that I needed to do something to take part in the war effort, and what better way than to provide financial assistance to those who were coming back from the wars in the Middle East maimed and wounded. At least that is where I thought the money that I was donating was going.
In 2007, I took a bigger step in doing my part in the war effort, by leaving behind the brokerage business I’d spent 8 years building, as well as that much nicer income, and headed off to basic training and airborne school at Ft. Benning, Georgia, where I became an Airborne Infantryman at 33 years old.
I later ended up manning a machine gun, from 2008-2009, for a convoy security mission team in Mosul, Iraq, when that city was Al Qaeda in Iraq’s last urban strong hold. My brigade and I managed to run the bas#*ds north into Syria, though many of those bas#*ds have been returning to Northern Iraq with new machine guns given them by U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama. (See related: Horrific Video Syrian Rebels Armed by U.S. Execute Civilians and Surrendering Soldiers).
As proud as I am of my service, I ended up spending 6 months in a Warriors Transition Battalion upon my return because of it. That’s military jargon for the equivalency of “Wounded Warrior Battalion.” Thus came my next personal experience with the Wounded Warriors Project.
While I was in the Warriors Transition Battalion, my novel “Serial Street” was published. I noticed at one of the events that the Wounded Warriors Project had at Ft. Lewis, where I was stationed as a wounded warrior, had various vendors set up, selling Wounded Warrior garb to raise money for disabled soldiers. I asked if I could go around with the local events and set up a booth and sell autographed copies of my new novel. I was summarily told “no” because doing so would represent a “conflict of interest.”
I didn’t understand how a wounded warrior making a buck or two at a Wounded Warriors Project event from selling a book he’d spent more than a year writing represented a conflict of interest, but in time, as public knowledge of the Wounded Warrior Project’s true, very much for profit operations grew, I began to understand loud and clear.
Dean Graham is a fellow Iraq War veteran and journalist. He writes for Western Journalism.com and he has summed up what the Wounded Warriors Project really is. He says it best in his own words, so I give them to you now:
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) pays millions of dollars for commercials showing injured service members. Many were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements (why?). I have talked to many Veterans who were promised many things from WWP and did not receive anything in return for the use of their likeness in commercials and print ads.
The commercials do not mention anything WWP does to help the injured service members. Listen closely to the commercials as they parade an injured veteran around like an injured animal. They pay famous actors and musicians to pull on the nation’s heart strings. Fox News takes millions in commercial revenue from WWP, along with A&E and other T.V. networks. I have written to Fox and others begging them to investigate for themselves. I imagine they too are blocked by a non-disclosure agreement.
WWP has many paid board members; this is not legal, according to their own company bylaws. WWP claims that only one board member is compensated. In addition, they have multiple board members and employees who are former Veterans Administration employees, including the former head of the Veterans Administration. This allows the WWP to tap into federal grants that may not otherwise be available. WWP has made sure to hire board members from high places to give credence to their claims. I beg to differ and believe most people will too.
WWP has twelve or more offices in seven states employing thousands of civilian employees and very few former veterans. These employees should be volunteers. Yet every dime they collect for their paycheck is on the back of an actual injured veteran who needs assistance. I called and talked with six different paid civilian employees, and all stated that WWP does not award any type of financial assistance. Injured Veterans do not want to go on trips very often; however, they do need financial assistance while going through their recovery.
WWP uses other non-profits and organizations to provide trips and special events. Why are they not using their own donations? I believe they have so many employees working on collecting donations and soliciting help from other organizations that the actual help to veterans is minimal in comparison to donations.
WWP uses Non-Disclosure agreements with actors and employees to keep them from telling the truth about where the money actually goes. One pilot who used to do Air Shows with them shared this information with me; he said the WWP wanted them to exit the room with donors so they could be in complete control of donations. He refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement because they were taking all the credit for the air shows he and others were performing.
WWP is a for profit business, working under the umbrella of a non-profit. I believe they should be exposed for what they really are; many caring people are duped into donating to WWP, believing their donations will really help injured veterans. No financial donations, no homes built, no material donations; and according to their own website and commercials, it is not clear exactly what they do. I know they help a handful of veterans by showing up at hospitals, throwing their logo on a veteran’s chest, and snapping a picture to look like they are helping wounded warriors.
WWP is a fraud created by former military members and former Veterans Administration employees that needs to be investigated immediately. They will not go quietly and have an army of lawyers on staff to punish all those who try to expose them. I leave it up to every American to investigate on your own; do not take my word for it. Tell your friends and relatives not to donate to WWP; just help a veteran directly.