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$250,000 Donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

An announcement from Columbus Citizens Foundation President, Frank Fusaro:

In September of 2012, Chairman of the Board Louis Tallarini and I had the privilege of visiting with our Columbus Celebration Honoree, General Raymond T. Odierno, the 38th Chief of Staff of the United States Army, at his home in Washington, D.C. After discussing the particulars of the upcoming Celebration, our conversation turned to the many issues facing today's military, particularly the effects of a decade of war waged on multiple fronts.

Among so many other concerns, the issues most troubling the General were the suicide rate and instances of domestic violence among active-duty soldiers. In 2012, 349 service members took their own lives across the four branches of military service with the army sustaining the heaviest toll at 182 soldiers. As you might expect, soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injury and depression have been shown to have a higher incidence of domestic violence. This abuse not only targets their partners and children but extends to friends and other family members. Very often, the families are the first to see the signs of mental-health issues but are not equipped to recognize the danger signals.

In the face of our troops now returning from Afghanistan, the scars left from long and multiple deployments will surely continue to surface as our soldiers readjust to family life. As Americans, we have asked much from those who have chosen to serve and, while we call them heroes upon their return, we often fail to provide for their needs.

In 2003, we supported one of the most well respected nonprofit organizations in the country, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a philanthropic arm of the Intrepid Museum in Manhattan in the building of a state-of-the-art medical facility for the Military. The facility, located in San Antonio Texas, specializes in prosthetics to treat so many returning amputees.

More recently the Intrepid Fund built a sixty thousand square psychiatric facility at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda MD to deal with the aforementioned issues. They are now embarking on the fundraising necessary to build nine, twenty-five thousand square foot satellite facilities on Army and Marine Corps bases across the United States, two of which are currently under construction and fully funded. These facilities will allow the care so sorely needed by the afflicted troops to be provided where needed.

In response to their request for support for this project and their pledge that every dollar contributed would go directly to the specific costs of construction, at a recent Board of Governors meeting I proposed a grant of $250,000 which was unanimously approved. I was never more proud of our Board for their support and I hope you share in that pride. Our funding will be dedicated to all of the Italian Americans who served and sacrificed for our country and recognized at each of the nine facilities to be constructed. Given the magnitude of this undertaking, if you share our feelings, I would urge any of you who wish to add to our pledge to do so online or by contacting our Executive Director, David Iommarini.

I hope you will join us to learn more about the work of this incredible organization.


Frank G. Fusaro

Columbus Citizens Foundation

To learn more about the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, visit their website at