This organization began in 1980 after the Iranian hostage rescue attempt. In the wake of those deaths, The Col. Arthur "Bull" Simons Scholarship fund was established to provide college educations for the 17 children surviving the nine Americans who were killed or incapacitated. The original fund was named in honor of the legendary Army Green Beret, Bull Simons, who repeatedly and unselfishly risked his own life on rescue missions for others.
Over the years, as special forces' casualties mounted in Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, Iraq, and Somalia, the Simons Scholarship was enlarged to encompass all Special Operations Forces. The organizations to assist the families of the 53 Iranian hostages and the Air Force gunship, Spectre, were merged to form the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. In 1998, the SOWF's services were again expanded to help in training fatalities incidents and that immediately added 205 new children to our eligibility funding.
This organization is, as they put it: "devoted to providing a college education to every child who has lost a parent while serving in the Special Operations Command during an operational or training mission."
The Warrior Foundation is currently providing grants, not loans, to more than 600 children who survive over 500 Special Operations personnel who gave their lives in the service of their country. These individuals are often unsung heroes whose confidential missions are never disclosed.
To date, 72 children funded by this organization have graduated from college. Children from all military services have received or been offered assistance, including: 378 Army, 182 Air Force, 47 Navy, and 3 Marine Corps.
While it may seem in some ways a small charity compared to the United Way and others, The Warrior Foundation achieves something unique: it remembers the sacrifice of some of America's bravest men and women, true unsung heroes, in a way that would have made them extremely happy: the fallen warrior's children's future is assured.
The Special Olympics is certainly one the world's best known charities. It is an international nonprofit organization "dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive, and respected members of society through sports training and competition."
The organization now sponsors 26 Olympic-type summer and winter sports and serves more than 1.7 million persons with intellectual disabilities in more than 200 programs around the world.
Participants in this organization's activities develop improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence and a more positive self-image. They grow mentally, socially, and spiritually, and through their activities, exhibit boundless courage and enthusiasm, enjoy the rewards of friendship and ultimately not only discover new abilities and talents, but they gain a whole new perspective on their lives and potential.
The Special Olympics emphasizes consistent training, and that competition among those of equal abilities is an appropriate means of testing skills, measuring progress, and providing incentives for personal growth.
The success of Special Olympic programs is very well documented.
Each participant takes the Special Olympics' Athlete Oath: "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." The oath is taken from the traditions of ancient Rome.
Reaching out to assist and inspire those who in other times have been cast aside or even shunned, the Special Olympics raises charity to the highest level of involvement and interaction and epitomizes human compassion and intelligent caring.
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