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IFHF Receives $250,000 Donation From Columbus Citizens Foundation for Construction of NICoE Satellite Centers

ccf_check.JPGColumbus Citizens Foundation President, Frank Fusaro (Left), presents IFHF President, David Winters (Right) with a check for $256,250 aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund received $250,000 raised by the Columbus Citizens Foundation (CCF) for the construction of nine NICoE (National Intrepid Center  of Excellence) Satellite Centers at military bases around the country, designed to provide new hope for those suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS).

The quarter of a million dollar donation was presented just 10 days after the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund broke ground on its third NICoE Satellite Center at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, while the construction of the first two centers in Camp Lejune, N.C. and Fort Belvoir, VA is nearing completion.

“Our wounded military heroes and their families deserve the best care there is – and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund makes sure that they get it,” said Frank G. Fusaro, President of the Columbus Citizens Foundation and a United States Marine Corps veteran. “We are grateful to the thousands of men and women – many of them Americans of Italian descent – that have sacrificed for our safety and freedom.  Many are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with life changing injuries that we are only beginning to understand – and it is more important now than ever before that we support them and give them the resources they need to fully recover and heal.”

This is the second time Columbus Citizens Foundation has directed its generosity toward Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. In 2003, CCF donated $300,000 to IFHF to support its work on behalf of our wounded military men and women and their families.

“We firmly stand behind the mission of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund – and are deeply grateful to the brave men and women of our military,” said Louis Tallarini, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Columbus Citizens Foundation and United States Army veteran (4th Infantry Division, Vietnam). “The injuries sustained by many of these brave heroes will last a lifetime – and the NICoE centers will be critical to their treatment and ongoing care. Just as they once answered the call to protect us – it is now our turn to support them.” 

“The men and women that wear the uniform of our nation are among the strongest and bravest I know.  Many will return home only to face new challenges while coping with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress -- invisible wounds that can change their lives.” said Rich Santulli, Chairman of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.  “Thanks to organizations like the Columbus Citizens Foundation, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund has the opportunity to give back to these service members – giving them access to treatment, space to recover, and a support system that they can rely on.” 

The NICoE Satellite Centers will be located at military bases and medical centers around the country to provide medical care for service members without having to separate them from their units or leave their families for extended periods of treatment.  This proximity to family and friends is expected to enhance their care and rehabilitation.

The design and mission of the Satellite Centers are based on the original NICoE, opened in 2010 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.  Operated by the Department of Defense, NICoE is the most advanced facility of its kind in the country, and is the center of the Armed Forces’ efforts in researching, diagnosing and treating TBI, PTS and related injuries sustained by military personnel. Hundreds of American Service Members have received some form of diagnosis or treatment from NICoE in the last two years.

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is also currently engaged in a social media campaign, #MakeItVisible, which encourages all Americans to lend support to the NICoE Satellite Center Effort, and to learn about the invisible wounds of war, specifically Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress. Visit www.makeitvisible.org for more information.

About the Columbus Citizens Foundation (www.columbuscitizensfd.org)
The Columbus Citizens Foundation is a non-profit organization in New York City committed to fostering an appreciation of Italian-American heritage and achievement.  The Foundation, through a broad range of philanthropic and cultural activities, provides opportunities for advancement to deserving Italian-American students through various scholarship and grant programs.  The Foundation’s scholarship funding averages slightly under to $2 million a year, and the Foundation was at the forefront of the effort to reinstate The College Board’s Advanced Placement Italian Language and Culture Program through a donation of $500,000.  The Foundation organizes New York City's annual Columbus Celebration and Columbus Day Parade, which has celebrated Italian-American heritage on New York's Fifth Avenue since 1929.  The Foundation is made up of approximately 600 members who are of Italian ancestry and are grateful for the opportunities their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents found as immigrants to the United States. The Foundation’s members are proud of their heritage and their American citizenship. They are committed to improving the lives of Italian-American students, and their families, by providing scholarship funding that will help the students develop the skills and tools needed to succeed in life.