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Lake Travis Christmas Hope key factor in gift from Chrysler to Wounded Warriors

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Ram Truck brand on Friday (Dec. 13), with the support of Chrysler Group LLC’s Southwest Business Center in Dallas, delivered a new 2014 ProMaster 2500 Series Cargo Van filled with toys, diapers and other supplies, plus a $25,000 grant from The Chrysler Foundation to support Wounded Warriors and their families at the Warrior & Family Support Center (WFSC) at the San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC).

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The donations, which were facilitated by members of the Lake Travis Christmas Hope (LTCH) charity, were presented to the Air Warrior Courage Foundation (AWCF) and were timed to coincide with the WFSC’s annual holiday party to make it a very special holiday for the WFSC and the Wounded Warrior families.

The ProMaster was resplendent in brilliant white with a very special wrap boldly honoring the Warrior & Family Support Center operation with their "heart-in-hand" logo displayed alongside a truck-sized U.S. flag for ready identification of their mission at SAMMC.

“The Ram Brand considers it an honor and a privilege to provide the all-new 2014 ProMaster van to support service members and their families who have played a vital role in in keeping America safe and free,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO, Ram Truck Brand.

Each Wounded Warrior family child, who was at the WFSC on Friday for the ProMaster delivery, received a very special gift bag from the Ram Brand officials on hand. Inside was a unique Ram stuffed toy and a $50 gift card for them to use at Toys R Us.

If one wanted to understand the meaning and importance of these gifts - both big and small - you needed only to have experienced (as this writer did) the little girl sitting with her mother in front of the fireplace at the WFSC following the presentation.

I recognized her from having given her one of the gift bags from the ProMaster earlier.

She was hugging the Ram stuffed toy and clutching the gift card oh so tightly.

I heard her tell her mother "See, I told you if you wanted and wished for something hard enough, it could happen. And it did."

Her mother later told me that the little girl had her heart set on an item at Toys R Us that was not going to be in the family budget for Christmas 2013. Now - on Saturday, because of the gifts from Ram, Chrysler and LTCH, mom was taking her shopping to get what she was wanting so earnestly.

Lake Travis Christmas Hope is a fund raising arm of the Air Warrior Courage Foundation (a 501c3) that supports needs (not covered by military assistance) of Wounded Warrior families resident in treatment at SAMMC.

Funds are raised mostly through person to person contacts by LTCH team members in the Central Texas area. In 2012, just under 300 individuals contributed $150,000 for the program.

The Christmas Hope program funds raised are then used directly for grants to Wounded Warrior families that are identified by case workers and counselors at SAMMC as families that will be unable to provide a proper Christmas for their children and the family.

During the 2012 holiday season, LTCH wrote grant checks to over 100 Wounded Warrior families for over $80,000 so that those families could have a proper holiday.

As LTCH members worked with the SAMMC team, they became aware that the 12,500 foot WFSC (which is volunteer run and paid for by donations) was without a proper cargo van and was struggling with moving of supplies, picking up donations and delivering needed items to families.

Sharing the story of the WFSC and the work it does in support of Wounded Warrior families with executives at Ram Truck brand resulted in starting wheels turning in Detroit about how Ram could maybe fill the need for a cargo van to replace the well-used older SUV and mini-van the WFSC currently had.

Not only did the Ram Truck brand deliver the customized ProMaster Cargo Van, but the Chrysler Corporation, along with the Chrysler Group LLC’s Southwest Business Center in Dallas, joined in the effort to provide the other items with their $25,000 grant.

And to be sure it was an extra special day for the children, Chrysler also arranged for a large mound of snow to be placed nearby for them to play in as each was given the special gift bag from inside the ProMaster.

“At Chrysler Group, we strive to make serving others part of our everyday mission,” said Jody Trapasso, Senior Vice President — External Affairs, Chrysler Group LLC and President — The Chrysler Foundation. “The Air Warrior Courage Foundation makes a difference every day in the lives of returning heroes and their families. The Chrysler Foundation is proud to support these efforts.”

The AWCF has been supporting wounded warriors and their families at SAMMC for more than eight years. The W&FSC is the community center at the military hospital complex that provides major support to wounded warriors and their families, including emotional support, referrals and rehabilitation to cope with war related disabilities.

At any point in time, there are over 700 Wounded Warriors in treatment at SAMMC. A large number of them have families with them supporting their treatment and recovery which may last two years or more. Military benefits do not cover all of the expenses of these families as they are relocated to San Antonio and rebuild their lives.

The Lake Travis Christmas Hope and the Air Warrior Courage Foundation take care of many of those needs.

If you want to help Lake Travis Christmas Hope make a real difference for Wounded Warrior families rebuilding their lives, consider making a donation this Christmas to their program.

Sources: Ram Truck brand, Chrysler LLC, Air Warrior Courage Foundation

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