Benefit truly a special operation
Warriors who fight and die in the shadows will be publicly honored as local business leaders and veterans stage a benefit at the Seaport World Trade Center tomorrow to raise money for wounded Special Operations combatants and the families of the fallen.
“The Special Operations Command soldiers put their lives on the line for all of us, and usually it’s below the radar,” said Steve Talarico, president of Dirico Motorcycles of Manchester, N.H., which has fitted out five custom motorcycles for auction themed to represent different branches of Special Operations Command.
The New England Warrior Benefit at 6 p.m. tomorrow is co-chaired by Wilcox Industries Corp. CEO Jim Teetzel and Fan Pier developer Joe Fallon, who said he hoped to raise “several million dollars” for his Fallon Family Charitable Foundation, which will divide the proceeds among five military nonprofits — the Navy SEAL Foundation, the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Project, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Semper Fi Fund and No Greater Sacrifice.
“There are a lot of single mothers as a result of war, so we thought the foundation would be an appropriate instrument to help distribute the funds to other foundations,” Fallon said.
Jim Smith, executive director of the Navy SEAL Foundation, which provides tragedy and education assistance to Naval Special Warfare community members and their families, said the event would raise crucial awareness about SEALs returning home from combat and having a hard time readjusting to society.
“The awareness piece of it is very important, especially now,” Smith said. “In so many ways it’s a perfect storm because never before has so much been asked from so few for so long. These guys have been in constant combat for over a decade. Our country’s never been like that.”
Smith added that, funding aside, the nonprofit is fixated on providing “3-D care” for Naval Special Warfare families before, during and after a loved one is deployed.
“We want to be able to provide life insurance that’s whole life, not term life,” Smith said. “What we believe in is benevolence with a purpose.”
The benefit will also honor three top military leaders for their influence and leadership, including retired Virginia Sen. John Warner and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, and retired U.S. Special Operations Commander Admiral Eric T. Olson, who will receive a lifetime achievement award.
Talarico said of his involvement, “This is a very personal event for me. It’s based on a couple of friends that have been in the Special Forces for years.”
Talarico said he attended a Virginia Beach funeral service for servicemen killed in a devastating helicopter crash in Afghanistan last summer.
“I’m 57 years old, and that was probably the single most powerful experience that I have ever had,” he said. “It was emotional, it was poignant, it was just powerful to look at the young families.”
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