Wounded Warrior Anglers Act of Kindness Emergency Relief Fund changed the lives of a couple and their one-year old son, Keygan, Wednesday, Oct. 22, when the organization donated $1,200 to Melissa and Eddie Breese.
“I didn’t even see the amount on the check until after they left,” Melissa said the following day. “Eddie looked at it and I seen tears in his eyes as they were walking out the door. He handed me the check . . . what can I say . . . it was amazing.”
Although the family recently lost their home, among other things, Melissa said people like the Wounded Warrior Anglers really came through for them, helping them see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Wounded Warrior Anglers just paid our first month’s rent,” Melissa said, adding that the donation also helped with putting down a deposit for their electric.
Wounded Warrior Anglers Vice President Judy Souders and Wounded Warrior Anglers Act of Kindness Emergency Relief Fund Committee Members Kevin Purdy and Keith Campbell presented the family with the check donation.
“This avenue for Wounded Warrior Anglers can be powerful for our community and the outreach we can do,” Souders said.
Melissa said they are beyond thankful.
“She is an angel,” she said of Souders.
“I thank God for all the help and all the good hearted people that have really come through for us,” Melissa said. “I don’t even know how to begin to tell you . . . there are so many wonderful people.”
The Act of Kindness Emergency Relief Fund became a part of the organization on Oct. 14. The fund was created to provide appropriate relief to eligible veterans or disabled veterans who experience a qualifying event or emergency.
“I think it is a fabulous thing that Wounded Warrior Anglers is doing,” Purdy said. “I feel very blessed to be a part of it.”
The Breese family was the first to benefit from the newly established fund because of a recent hardship they are experiencing.
Eddie, a Fort Myers High School graduate, enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in Desert Storm from 1988 to 1992. After returning from the service he started working on roofs, while owning his own business at one time.
“We have always been the ones to help others,” Melissa said.
Often times, she said her husband would repair roofs for free for other veterans.
Unfortunately on Sept. 11, Eddie took a bad fall, falling 25-feet through a sky light to the concrete. That fall broke his back, mangled his right arm, broke his ribs and gave him severe head trauma.
“There is no rational explanation why he is alive,” Melissa said.
The only explanation is this man is a true Marine having nothing but muscle before he fell.
“That was probably what saved his life,” she said. “That he was in good shape at the time of the accident.”
Although the past few months have been extremely trying, Melissa said she is thankful.
“We have such a long road ahead of us,” she said. “At the end of the day I am so blessed because I have my husband and Keygan still has a dad.”
After Lee Memorial Health System let him go because of insurance purposes after the accident, Melissa took her husband to the VA clinic in Cape Coral. Once the ER doctor looked at Eddie, he immediately called an ambulance and rushed him to Bay Pines VA Healthcare System.
While he was at Bay Pines he spent time going to a speech pathologist, physical therapist and occupation therapist.
Eddie returned home on Friday, Oct. 17, after spending two months in the hospital.
“They absolutely love him up there,” Melissa said. “They were so good to him. I knew he was in the absolute best care. They treated him like gold. He had such good doctors. They were just awesome.”
Because his case is so complex, Eddie has to travel to Bay Pines to continue the therapy two days a week, which completely wears him out.
The trip wears him out because since the accident, Eddie suffers from extreme vertigo, causing his head to spin constantly. He has also experienced a lot of weakness in his right arm.
“Head trauma is the worst,” Melissa said. “Normal every day thinking is a multi-choir for him. He has severe memory loss.”
Behind the scenes:
Purdy became a member of Wounded Warrior Anglers when the organization first began because it is an organization that he really believes in without question.
“I met them at Miceli’s two years ago,” he said of the founders Judy and Dave Souders. “They were selling tickets for the original raffle boat. I was very impressed with Dave and Judy with their vision and commitment.”
Purdy served in the U.S. Calvary from 1973 to 1976 before his knee was destroyed during a training exercise in Germany in 1976.
Campbell, a founder of another nonprofit organization in Southwest Florida, spent his time focusing on fundraising, paying tribute to veterans and helping them in their time of need. After the founders of Wounded Warrior Anglers asked him if he would like to be a committee member for the Act of Kindness Emergency Relief Fund he was on board.
Campbell said he was excited after meeting the Souders because they gave him another avenue in which he could help veterans. That avenue being PTSD.
“It always feels good to help out veterans,” Campbell said. “I enjoy doing it. I don’t do it for recognition. I come from a long line of veterans in my family. It has always been in the blood.”
Wounded Warrior Anglers of America, Inc. was founded in 2012 by Dave and his wife Judy Souders. Its mission is to “help rehabilitate the mind, body and soul of all service members who have been injured, wounded or disabled in the line of duty no matter what their era of service.”
The organization helps its warriors by taking them out on the water for a day of fishing. This outing helps promote a friendly and peaceful environment to help warriors heal.
Wounded Warrior Anglers also help the warrior’s caregivers by treating them to a day of relaxation at the spa.
To read past blogs about Wounded Warrior Anglers visit: https://meghan80.wordpress.com/wounded-warrior-anglers-of-america-inc/