American Spirit Makes Difference for Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2007 - With traditional "American Spirit" at the heart of its mission, one California group is working to make a difference in the lives of wounded servicemembers and their families.

Operation American Spirit, established through the nonprofit Fitness Challenge Foundation, provides for military members and their families who have suffered injuries as a result of combat.

"Our mission is to help make a difference in the lives of soldiers and their families by providing support and funding in ways that teach them self-sufficiency including scholarships, job (placement) assistance, home modification and improved morale," John Wordin, the group's executive director, said.

Operation American Spirit has set its eyes on the goal of raising $100 million over the next few years to successfully fulfill this mission. Help from actor Jack Scalia is making it a little easier to reach this goal.

Scalia, who has played roles in many TV shows, including "Dallas" and "All My Children," is expected to begin a 16-day, 1,500-mile bike ride from Seattle to San Diego on Sept. 22. The purpose of the ride is to raise awareness and funding for servicemembers injured in the global war on terrorism.

"Our nation has asked our soldiers and their families to make sacrifices and the have," Scalia said in an Operation American Spirit news release. "Now it is our turn, as Americans, to step up and help them when they need it."

Other celebrities are expected to participate, as well.

Operation American Spirit is a new supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

"While we are new to the group, we are hoping to get the word out about our organization and our efforts," Wordin said.

He added that the group also hopes to find assistance in identifying families that need help.

*Related Sites:*
Operation American Spirit  [ ]
American Spirit Makes Difference for Troops [ ]