SAN ANTONIO — Karen Guenther, president and CEO of Semper Fi Fund, shared how the organization began during her time at Camp Pendleton in 2003. She was an ICU nurse and working at two Navy hospitals at the time. She had an idea to help service members and their families by offering small care packages.
“I think we were there at the right place at the right time when the medevac started coming back from Iraq,” said Guenther. “So, we helped very organically at first. We had toiletry bags, phone cards and helped flights for home.”
Guenther said the need for assistance continued to grow and she decided to start her non-profit organization.
“We started with 500 dollars and this year, we celebrated our 15th year anniversary, giving out 192 million to our critically injured and wounded, ill service members and their families,” said Guenther. “When your loved one’s injured or critically ill, family members want and should be at the bedside. It’s better when they’re together and supporting each other. It’s the best medicine.”
Semper Fi Fund also, provides adaptive equipment, housing, counseling, coordinates unit reunions and assists in service member’s career goals.
KENS 5 spoke with a couple who received services from the organization. Blaine Scott, a Marine Corps veteran, was hit by a roadside bomb while serving overseas in 2006. He was one of only three people who survived the blast. The Scott’s now volunteer with Semper Fi Fund.
“After injury, it was our new chapter. It was our new journey. With the Semper Fi Fund, we couldn’t be here where we are with our strength, with our family together, and his recovery was much less stressful not having to worry,” said Lily.
“There’s life after this as well. It can be a good life. Don’t get down on yourself, don’t get down on life because it gets better. We want to be that role model to say hey, you can do this,” said Blaine.
If you would like to find out more information about Semper Fi Fund, click here.
“The only way we can keep this going is the support from our communities,” said Guenther. “With hope, community, and connection, we can help our service members and their families on the right path.”