On The Backs Of Veterans

I’ve spent so much of my time and energy focusing on the presidential race in both parties that I realize that I’ve let the other things go by the wayside.  And when I say “other things” what I really mean to say is the important things.

One of the things that I’m most proud of during the years I’ve been writing here is the work we’ve done with Fisher House, a charity that seeks to help injured military personnel by uniting them with perhaps the best medicine out there; their families.  It’s important for me to do my part to help out, to turn “support the troops” into more than just a phrase or a bumper sticker.  Especially in this political climate where tempers flare and we so often disagree, it’s important for me to make sure that the troops, the boots on the ground, know that despite the politics of the conflict they are in, I’m behind them, I support them, and in gratitude for their sacrifices for me, when they need it, I will do what I can to get their back.

So, to me, charities that benefit veterans is a pretty big deal, and I want to thank my buddy Cernig  over at the Newshoggers for directing my attention to what is an absolutely disgusting story.

Playing the villain of the piece would be one Roger Chapin, a professional philanthropist who has started up over 20 charities.  The two charities we’re going to concern ourself with, however, are Help Hospitalized Veterans, and Salute America’s Heroes, both of which are charities geared towards helping out US veterans and their families.  They are both also under investigation by congress.

Now, you would be naive to believe that every dollar you give to a charity goes directly to the purpose stated; there’s financial overhead to take into consideration, but it would seem as though Chapin has a rather loose interpretation of what is considered overhead.  Take for instance the Help Hospitalized Veteran’s charity where only 31% of donations actually made it to charitable causes.

Where’d the rest of the money go?

Well, as Cernig pointed out, Chapin’s charities paid for his $17,000 golf club membership, because really expensive golf courses are absolutely vital to the smooth running of a not-for-profit, and of course you have the cool $4 mil that Chapin and his wife picked up between 1997 and 2005, as well as the $19 mil handed to rightwing mouthpiece Richard Viguerie.

But the part that really gets me, the part that really just steams me up is that this guy was AN ARMY VETERAN himself.  So what not only is this guy picking up a sweet salary, fat golf club memberships, and funding for his crusaders of his own ideology on the backs of veterans, those Veterans are his own brethren.

That, in my book, is pathetic.

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