NEWPORT, Maine — Nokomis Army Junior ROTC cadets Staff Sgt. Felix Thibodeau, Lt. Devin Colcord, Sgt. Zach Winslow, and Capt. Jordan Mackie went to the Bangor State Fair, but they had a loftier goal than just riding the rides and eating cotton candy.
“We raised $4,800 for the Wounded Heroes Foundation,” Thibodeau said Friday. “The Wounded Heroes Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises money to help local Maine veterans who have been 100 percent disabled by PTSD.”
The cadets and others in their Nokomis Regional High School unit will be in Bangor and Newport next week trying to add to the bottom line to help more veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the cadet staff sergeant said.
The Institute of Medicine is now recommending that all soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan undergo annual screening for PTSD, and it is estimated that 13 to 20 percent of the military personnel deployed in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD symptoms.
The Wounded Heroes Program of Maine falls under the Warrior Legacy Foundation, started by Biddeford resident Pam Payeur, whose son was injured in Iraq.
The local cadets also stood outside Bud’s Shop ’n Save in Newport in their Class A dress uniforms every day of their February school break.
“It was well worth it, for in that short week — with nothing but the support of the small community of Newport — we managed to raise over $2,700,” Thibodeau said in a statement. “That was used to benefit 27 families in the Bangor area who are currently caring for a disabled veteran.”
Thibodeau said he has “always wanted to be a soldier” and follow in the footsteps of his grandfather who served 28 years in the U.S. Navy.
The group will be at Marden’s in Brewer on Aug. 13 and 14, Bud’s Shop ’n Save in Newport on Aug. 15 and 16, Sawyer’s Dairy Bar in Newport on Aug. 17 and Sam’s club in Bangor on Aug. 18 and 19.
According to the Warrior Legacy Foundation, Harvest Hill Farms is holding a barbecue showdown and battle of the bands on Saturday, Aug. 11 on Route 26 in Mechanic Falls. The event starts at noon and 20 bands are scheduled to play.
For information, visit the the Warrior Legacy Foundation at warriorlegacyfoundation.org.