FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Operation Helmet Receives Broad Support of the Baton Rouge Community 

Washington DC – May 11, 2007 – Members of the Baton Rouge family have supported their Marine Reserve sons and daughters by providing over 425 combat helmet upgrade kits through Operation Helmet.

The fundraising efforts have been to upgrade the lightweight helmets of Weapons Company 3rd Battalion 23rd Marine Regiment stationed in Baton Rouge. 

Three organizations have spearheaded the fundraising efforts.  The first recognition goes to the ‘Ben and Bettsie Miller Foundation’ led by Bettsie Miller, the second goes to ‘Buquet and LeBlanc Inc’ led by Al Pickett, and the third is ‘Turner Industries’ led by Daniel Hudson.  They were joined by many patriotic members of the community that simply wanted to show they support of our Marines.

The person most responsible for this endeavor in Baton Rouge was Sergeant Baker M. Brooks, who was recently selected by Marines Forces Reserve as their 2006 Marine of the Year based on his demonstrated superior performance, leadership, initiative, community involvement, dedication to duty, and contributions to the Navy and Marine Corps team.

 All excess funds are being used to outfit the helmets for other members of the USMC Reserves’ 3rd Battalion 23rd Marine Regiment and then other military members currently in harm’s way.  The 425 upgrade kits cost over $30,000, but the potential cost avoidance is in excess of $1 billion given that the lifetime cost of medical care for each permanently disabled brain injured veteran is over $2.5 million.  This is nothing compared to getting our brave troops home safe, sound, and with their minds intact. 

The majority of today’s helmets worn by most Marines and Airmen are designed to protect our troops from gunfire and flying debris – not blasts – which have accounted for 65 percent of U.S. military deaths in Iraq since May, according to figures compiled by the Associated Press.

A helmet upgrade kit consists of shock-absorbing pads and when needed, a new chin strap. Adding shock-absorbing pads to combat helmets can reduce fatal impact forces to a survivable level.

“We get e-mails every day from real Americans who want to make a difference by helping young troops return home safe and sound,” says Robert Meaders, M.D., who founded Operation Helmet after his Marine grandson requested upgrade kits to make his unit’s helmets safer in Iraq.

About Operation Helmet

Operation Helmet is a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 charitable grassroots effort that provides helmet upgrade kits free of charge to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Operation Helmet depends on tax-deductible donations and is a team member of AmericaSupportsYou.mil. For $70-$100, added safety and comfort can be provided for a trooper. But donations of any amount are welcome. The donation can be designated for a specific branch of the military, a particular unit or an individual trooper.  Over 99% of donations go toward helmet kits. There are no salaries or payroll costs deducted and the Operation’s books are available for inspection at the home office. To date, Operation Helmet has sent upgrade kits to over 36,000 troops.

Contacts:

Dr. Bob Meaders, President, Operation Helmet
Montgomery, TX
ophelm@operation-helmet.org
www.Operation-Helmet.org
(936) 449-9706

Mark Meaders
East Coast Director
610-202-3037

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