Students adopt Wounded Warrior Project

Emily Rajcic, president of Mountain Valley Academy’s Associated Student Body, sells Christmas trees at the Ramona Senior Center during lunch last Tuesday to raise money for the students’ Wounded Warrior Project. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard
Emily Rajcic, president of Mountain Valley Academy’s Associated Student Body, sells Christmas trees at the Ramona Senior Center during lunch last Tuesday to raise money for the students’ Wounded Warrior Project. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

By Pixie Sulser

Veterans Day celebrations and remembrances have come and gone, but daily recognition and support for the troops is still needed. To this end, the Associated Student Body (ASB) of Mountain Valley Academy is in the midst of its Wounded Warrior Project, earning money to donate to the Wounded Warrior Foundation by selling holiday trees.

“Over the years,” said ASB adviser Larry Hofer, “we (the ASB) have looked for a worthy cause to fundraise and donate to. When I brought the idea of the Warrior Foundation to our ASB, the students overwhelmingly agreed to pursue this project. Our school counselor, Chuck Lopez, suggested we sell holiday trees. Chuck put us in contact with the Family Christmas Tree Farm tree in Lakeside who provided us with 150 trees at cost, and we sold our first 50 trees in just 24 hours! We are on our second set now.”

The student group sells Stone pine and Aleppo pine trees for $12 a tree in the Ramona Community School parking lot each school day from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and again from 2:30 to 3 p.m. Anyone wishing to support the cause, but who cannot make it to the school parking lot sales, may also purchase a tree in front of Albertsons from 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays and on Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m.

“We basically set up a table and dance around with our warrior signs until we sell the trees!” said Mt. Valley Academy ASB President Emily Rajcic, who is also the academy’s student representative on the school board.

“This project,” continued Rajcic, “is really valuable, not only to the warriors, but to our leadership students as well. Our ASB theme this year is Mind, Heart, Hand. The Wounded Warrior Project fits right in and allows us to do everything we can to give back and possibly change someone‘s life.”

Rajcic explained that the ASB students have the responsibility for the entire operation.

“The project is turning our students into real leaders,” she said.

The students are accountable for making the signs, running tables, and advertising the trees for sale.

“We have raised funds over the past five years that we donate to the Warrior Foundation,” said Hofer, “but this is the first year selling the holiday trees. From various efforts and with the additional funds from the tree sales, we hope to donate between $1,500 and $2,000 to the Foundation.”

The Ramona VFW Men’s Auxiliary and the VFW Post have donated funds to the Warrior Foundation through the MVA ASB effort, shared Hofer.

The Wounded Warrior Foundation, founded by Rick Roberts of radio station KFMB, and in partnership with the San Diego Navy League Council, helps wounded warriors financially and with gifts of appreciation. The organization groups its wounded soldiers into four categories and provides assistance and support in ways that fit the needs of that particular group.

For example, the First Group is the seriously injured who come home from Iraq or Afghanistan via Germany and who have immediate needs, both medical and emotional. The foundation will fly in family members, provide accommodations, transportation, and anything else they might require so that the family may concentrate on helping their warrior with recovery.

Those in the Second Group have suffered from exposure to blast from IEDs (improvised explosive devices), the Third Group constitutes warriors who have been going through physical therapy and occupational therapy for four years or longer, and those in the Fourth Group have been medically retired and remain in the San Diego community.

For information about the Warrior Foundation and ways to help, visit www.warriorfoundation.com.

   
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