Brian Burry was not satisfied just being a police officer in Fresno, Calif., or the chairman of the $1 billion City of Fresno Fire and Police Retirement System.
The Vietnam veteran had spent 3%BD; months in military hospitals far away from his family members, who couldn't visit him, and he decided soldiers injured in Iraq should not suffer the same fate. So he helped set up a new charity called Patriot Down, which raises money to help soldiers' families pay for food, lodging and transportation to visit their injured relative.
According to Mr. Burry, the U.S. government pays for airline tickets for injured soldiers' family members to fly to the military hospital for a visit. After that, they're on their own.
The organization is close to finishing negotiations with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark., and its Sam's Club unit to have donation collection boxes installed at cash registers around the country.
But that's not all. Mr. Burry is also instrumental in another charity called Brotherhood of the Badge, which collects used but serviceable bulletproof vests, equipment and radios, mostly from municipal police departments, and delivers them to Iraqi police officers, who lack even basic equipment, he said. With the help of the U.S. Marine Corps, Mr. Burry and a team of other police officers took more than 5,000 pounds of gear to Iraq last year, and he is planning a second shipment in March.
More information on both of these efforts is available at www.operationsoldier.com.