EHT Mayor ?Sonny? McCullough Advocates for Wounded Warriors

From the New Jersey Conference of Mayors Newsletter. Written by Donna Clementoni, Director of
Employer Outreach for the New Jersey Committee
of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR)

Egg Harbor Township Mayor James ?Sonny? McCullough shares a collective hurt with other Americans who feel our nation turned their back on a generation of warriors that fought in an unpopular and highly protested war in Vietnam.

In his way, in his sprawling Southern New
Jersey Township, he wants to do his part to
make it right.

As a young man, McCullough was not able
to serve his country due to sports injuries,
but he never forgot how the Vietnam
veterans returned home.

The Mayor?s emotions are still raw when he reminisces
about their generation, and how they were
treated upon their return. ?I feel bad that
I didn?t do more for those guys and girls.?
As the Wounded Warrior organization will
remind us, ?the greatest casualty is being
forgotten.?

For today?s returning veterans, it is a dramatically
?kinder and gentler? nation that
they are returning home to. The U.S.
Military has many programs in place to
help transitioning soldiers and their families
through the adjustment such as the
?Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program?
and the ?Transition Assistance Program.?
Some injuries, however, cannot be counseled
away.

It is these multi-generational veterans that
inspired Sonny McCullough to take action.
He wanted to advance their mission, ?to
honor and empower wounded warriors.?
Mayor McCullough knew the small but
powerful players to contact in the community
to advance a fundraiser to benefit
wounded warriors. With several veterans
and some passionate advocates they
planned a golf outing in October, 2011
to benefit the mission of an organization
whose vision is ?to foster the most successful,
well-adjusted generation of wounded
service members in our nation?s history.?

Their goal was $10,000 and the stars were
in their favor. They were rewarded with
great weather and a dozen wounded warriors
were warmly hosted to a day of golfing
and camaraderie by Mayor McCullough
and his committee. The community and
business associations rallied their support
around Sonny?s charity and at the end of a
wonderful day, they had raised over twenty
four thousand dollars.

The bar is set. Mayor McCullough doesn?t
intend on going backward.

He has a passionate respect for the men
and women of the Armed Forces and he
acknowledges the ?sacrifices the families
have to make. The general public has no
idea,? he mused.

In Egg Harbor Township, the military is
deeply embedded in the community. It
is home to the 177th Fighter Wing and
the United States Coast Guard Air
Station Atlantic City which is located at
the William J. Hughes Federal Aviation
Administration Technical Center at the
Atlantic City International Airport. Three of the township?s police officers are members
of the Guard and Reserve and are assured
90 days full pay and health benefits
when they are in training or deployed for
military service.

The next Golf Outing will take place
October 5th, 2012 and will also benefit
Warfighter Sports, a program of Disabled
Sports USA, which offers sports rehabilitation
programs in military hospitals and
communities across the U.S. Since 1967,
Disabled Sports USA has proudly served
wounded warriors, including those injured
in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, offering
more than 30 winter and summer sports at
more than 100 events each year. Embracing
the most severely wounded warriors,
Warfighter Sports rebuilds lives through
sports by improving self-confidence, promoting
independence and uniting families
through shared healthy activities.

Without even realizing it and as a single
civilian, Mayor McCullough is modeling
the mission that the VFW?s have, ?honor
the dead by helping the living.?

The 2nd Annual Wounded Warrior Golf
Outing will be held at McCullough?s
Emerald Links Golf Club in Egg Harbor
Township, NJ on Friday, October 5th. It will
begin at 8 a.m. To participate, inquire about
sponsorships, make a contribution and/
or donate an auction item, contact Donna
Clementoni at 410 812-6677 or email her
at poet4pop@aol.com.

###

Donna Clementoni is the Director of
Employer Outreach for the New Jersey Committee
of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
(ESGR.) ESGR is a Department of Defense, mostly
volunteer agency that seeks to create a culture
where all American Employers value the military
service and sacrifice of their employees. For more
information, visit esgr.org.

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