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Sua Sponte Foundation provides support to Rangers, families

  • The Sua Sponte Foundation supports the members and families of the 1st Ranger Battalion at Hunter Army Airfield.
 

Sua Sponte Foundation provides support to Rangers, families

27 Jun 2017

If you’ve never heard of the Sua Sponte Foundation, you’re not alone.

The foundation, which supports the members and families of the 1st Ranger Battalion at Hunter Army Airfield, keeps a low profile. Ed Durham is the president of the Sua Sponte Foundation.

“We’re not in it to be on the front page of the paper,” he says. “We’re in it to get the job done.”

A July 4 patriotic concert at the Tybee Post Theater featuring the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra is a benefit for the Sua Sponte Foundation.

Read more about the concert here.

The all-volunteer organization formed features four programs, Durham says.

“First and foremost, we maintain the memorial at the post. That serves as the backdrop to all the change of command ceremonies and services for fallen Rangers. The Rangers see that as very hallowed ground.”

The foundation is responsible for the design, upkeep and ongoing maintenance of the memorial grounds.

“The second thing we do, when a ranger is killed in action or has a medical emergency, we run the logistics to bring the family in,” Durham says. “The third thing involves improving morale and unit cohesiveness by supporting the chaplain and any events he wants to put on.”

Those events include opportunities for Rangers to bond, including fishing trips and leadership events. There are also events for families, such as marriage retreats and father-daughter dances.

“We also send care packages to every ranger who is deployed,” Durham says. “When we started sending care packages, we had $1,000 in items to send, but it’s grown and our next care packages will have $130,000 in products that have been donated.

“The community got us there,” he says. “There are corporate sponsors out there making donations. And it’s all stuff the guys really want.”

The fourth program conducted by the foundation is a scholarship program to make private school affordable for children of Rangers’ families.

The foundation assists financially in crises, which can be medical, travel or logistics related.

“Basically, we’re geared to step in any situation the government doesn’t have set up already,” Durham says. “During the last deployment, we had a guy literally on his way to Afghanistan when his father had a heart attack.

“That’s called a Red Cross emergency, and the Red Cross usually sends them home. But it takes time, and his dad was literally hours away from possibly dying.

“Our reaction time when we know about a situation and can disperse funds is under an hour,” Durham says. “We called up Delta and flew him back home.”

The foundation also renovated the house of a Ranger who had been paralyzed from the waist down in combat.

“We renovated his house to make it compliant to the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Durham says. “We widened the doorways and hallways.

“This is paid for by the Army in some cases, but it’s a fixed dollar amount. They get $60,000, but it’s a lifetime amount.

“We’re talking about a kid who is 22 or 23 who needs it done now,” he says. “And we literally did it all with donations.”

Founded in Savannah, the Sua Sponte Foundation is run by a local board. Several are involved in the financial services industry and conduct sessions for Rangers on financial planning, resume creation, job search and interviewing skills.

Just as the foundation assists with the memorial at Hunter, it works to keep every fallen Ranger’s memory alive.

“There is a famous quote that says, ‘If a man’s name is spoken, he never dies,’” Durham says. “We memorialize them on the date of their death.

“We post on social media to make sure people remember these guys,” he says. “We tell their stories on our web page. There is an opportunity for their families and Ranger buddies to write and say what type of guy he was.”

Foundation members are strictly volunteers.

“We all have other jobs and do other things,” Durham says. “Nobody on my team, and there are six of us, is paid by the organization.

“Everything goes right back to the Rangers,” he says. “If I want to go to an event for the Rangers, my travel doesn’t get paid for by the foundation; I pay myself.”

LEARN MORE

For more about the foundation, go to suaspontefoundation.org.

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