Sharing Christmas with Our Wounded Vets

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There are other ways you and your family can change the focus from presents to God's love this Christmas, like reaching out to our wounded veterans.

It's a sad fact of life in the combat zone--casualties happen-- and when a Marine is hurt, the road to recovery can take years.

Doctor visits, physical therapy and mountains of paperwork are only the beginning. There are also stressful questions about finances, family relationships and an uncertain future.

The Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune has a special unit to ensure that when a Marine is wounded in combat, he's never left to navigate these challenges alone.

It's called the Wounded Warrior Battalion. There, Marines are cared for while they work through the process of healing, then given assistance to either re-integrate into the Marine Corps, or move on to civilian life.

"I was in tenth Marines, I got injured in '06 from multiple IED blasts. I came here last year, and they've been taking good, good care of me," Cpl. Joseph Meola said. "They have a lot of programs to help us out-- helping us try to find jobs. The country's support has really been wonderful."

This help is especially important at Christmas time, and donors across the country are stepping up to ensure these brave Marines' families don't have to go without.

"Because of my injuries I'm unfit for active duty, unable to do my job as a Marine," Cpl. Robert Scheide said. He suffered a broken back in Iraq last year.

"I got transferred to wounded warrior to help me get my abilities so I can at least try to get back to where I can work as a civilian," he said.

"They've helped get my wife and I stuff for our son. Just last week the Marine Corps association brought toys and diapers for our son. New York fire department came down, brought care packages, a whole bunch of stuff," Scheide added.

Cpl. Joseph Meola is thankful for the program too.

"We got stockings and stockings full of stuff, if you have a purple heart they help you out with a little bit of money, kindergarteners coming down and singing to us and trying to uplift our spirits and stuff," he said. "It's just been wonderful."

Ed Salau is the charitable giving liaison. Salau coordinates the gifts that come in from outside donors.

"We've got quilts made by some really nice women down in Florida, cookies from every Girl Scout troop you can count…the response is huge," he said. "It's heartwarming. There are so many grateful Americans out there."

And while these Marines say they welcome your prayers, there's one other request they have this Christmas.

"Pray for Iraq... for those people to start seeing the light," Meola said.

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CBN News
Chuck Holton

Chuck Holton

CBN News Reporter

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