b'P endleton Marine Today, Semper Fi & Americas Fund reported a significant Pendleton Marine one-year spike in the number of grants given to assist service members and their families, as well as the amount associ-Sa es Trraapped Ba ated with those grants and the number of service members Savves T pped Baby byU.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Wetter, the formal seeking assistance. marksmanship training center staff noncommissioned officer in charge with Headquarters and Support Battalion, The numbers are a sobering reminder of howF om Burning Car Marine Corps Installations - West, Marine Corps Base Frrom Bur ning Car an unprecedented health crisis has and continues to impact Camp Pendleton, sprang into action to help when a car burst into flames on the side of a road in Fallbrook, all Americans in unimaginable ways, especially service mem-California, and threatened the life of an 18-month-old child.bers and their families already dealing with pre-pandemic (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Andrew Cortez)challenges, said Karen Guenther, Semper Fi & Americas Story by Lance Cpl. Alison Dostie Fund President and CEO.Despite 2020 reductions for event and travel grants, a significant increase in individual grants resulted in The Fund seeing an overall 20% increase over the past yearof service members, veterans and their families assistedincreasing to U.S. Marinenearly 8,000 receiving grants this year. From the startof the year through December 15, 2020, the dollar amount Gunnery Sgt. of individual grants issued by the Fund jumped by 59%, theKyle Wetter number of service members receiving assistance increased by 73% and the number of grants increased 122% compared with the same period last year. Grants designated specifically to provide support to families with a critically ill child more than doubled, from $172,000 in 2019 to $416,000 this year. We are truly grateful for the continued support of all of our major corporate and foundation partners and donors around the world, including the overwhelming generosityof The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. It is this generosity that enables us to provide programs that are so vital to the financial, emotional and physical FALLBROOK, Calif.On Dec. 7, when a car burst intothe car seat would not disengage from the base. At that well-being of those we serve every day, especially during these pressing times. flames on the side of a road and threatened the life of anpoint, Wetter tried to unbuckle the seat belt, but to no During the COVID-19 crisis, The Fund has been meeting 18-month-old child, a Marine sprang into action to help.avail. He then grabbed his pocketknife to cut the seatthe immediate, life-essential needs of veterans and their U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Wetter, the formalbelt and free the child. families in the following ways:marksmanship training center staff noncommissionedHis preparedness is what resulted in a positiveFinancial support to acquire food and supplies forofficer in charge with Headquarters and Support Battalion,outcome, said Capt. John Choi, the public information immediate needs during short-term potential shortagesMarine Corps Installations - West, Marine Corps Baseofficer with North Country Fire Protection District. Immediate financial assistance for daily expenses forCamp Pendleton, was on what he thought would be a typicalAccording to Choi, had Wetter not been there to assist, service members and/or spouses who are facing unemployment and need immediate relief.drive home when he witnessed a gas can fall out of athere would have probably been parents with burn marks Financial assistance due to lost income to cover phone nearby truck. The can became lodged underneath the caror smoke inhalation due to a delayed rescue attempt andbills, rent, mortgage payments and car paymentsin front of himthe car of the Hurley family. Sparks begana rapidly growing fire. Gas cards to enable family members to provide support, to fly underneath the car and a fire immediately erupted. I am an infantryman, so obviously our training is toincluding childcare, physical support for those severelyAll I could think at first was what the heck happened?react to contact, said Wetter. We get taught at an early injured, and general family support.said Wetter. Immediately, I was like I need to help themage in the Marine Corps to react to situations.Food and financial assistance for cancer patients and any way I can. Though Wetter has had no formal training in firefighting,elderly Vietnam veterans who are at higher riskThe driver of the car, Anthony Hurly, then slammed thehe was able to assess the situation and figure out the Through December 22, 2020, The Fund has provided brakes and pulled over, causing Wetter to do the same.best way to help. He credits his job training for his ability COVID-specific assistance to 4,493 Service Members, Veterans and Families amounting to more than $4.3 million Wetter ran to the car and began analyzing the situation. to react at a moments notice. According to Wetter, his in direct financial support. The extinguisher Wetter attempted to use was nomentality was instilled in boot camp, and he has carried it For the 9th straight year, The Funds Double Down for match for the fire, which at this point had too much fuel. with him throughout his military career. Veterans Match Campaign is underway and continuesIt was then that he heard the childs mother shout outI am forever grateful for Gunnery Sgt. Kyle through December 31, 2020. for her baby. The father, Anthony, was already there tryingWetter, said Anthony. He came at a time of need The challenge, issued by The Bob & Renee Parsons to get the child out with no success. Wetter noticed thatfor my family.Foundation, is an effort to raise $20 million. AllThank You For Your Service HJ an ua r y2 021 H Mi l i ta r y A p precia tionResource M agazi ne 17Thank You For Your Service HJ an ua r y2 021 H Mi l i ta r y A p precia tionResource M agazi ne 17'