In 2006, a small group of Marines, some retired, active and reserve, got together in Huntsville, Alabama. These veterans had a deep desire to continue being of service to their country after having honorably served their nation in the military and formulated a plan to be of service to the Tennessee Valley/ Northern Alabama community.
Today, the Semper Fi Community Task Force (SFCTF) has grown into a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization composed of dedicated representatives from all services, their families, and community friends. SFCTF members apply the core values of courage, honor, and commitment practiced during their military service into their community through volunteerism. SFCTF members give back to the community through a long list of endeavors which includes, but is not limited to: tornado/ disaster recovery, youth mentoring, support to JROTC and Young Marines programs, family readiness support to local reserve units, limited financial aid, job placement for veterans including resume writing and distribution, and in certain cases, veteran home repairs. Our members also donate their time and talents to other service organizations such as local churches, civic organizations, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the United Way.
Each year, in November, SFCTF is honored to be the host for Heroes Week. Thirty (30) Wounded Warriors representing all service branches from all over the United States are invited, along with their spouses and care givers, for a week of relaxation and recognition. Often, these warriors and their families do not receive the welcome home that so many of our military are given after returning home. These American heroes were in hospitals, recovering from injuries received in the line of duty while their units completed the deployment and returned to a heroes’ welcome. This event gives our Tennessee Valley/ Northern Alabama communities the chance to show their deep appreciation and recognition of these service members, their spouses, and caregivers. Our guests are honored at a Veterans Day Breakfast and Parade, Marine Corps Ball, fishing tournaments, parade of boats, numerous lunches and dinners hosted by community groups and businesses. The week also gives the families a chance to take a break from the stresses of recovery and rehabilitation, and there is an opportunity for some much needed appreciation and attention for the primary caregivers of the Wounded Warrior. Couples often remark on how therapeutic the week has been for their relationships and a unique new group of special friends they made, all who faced similar circumstances.
A smaller group of warriors comes back to Huntsville two weeks later for a Heroes Outdoor Adventures, sponsored by SFCTF, local land owners and vendors. These hunts are specifically designed for the disabled and offer the opportunity for the troops to get back in the woods and enjoy a hobby that they loved before their injury. It is therapeutic for the troops and for their hosts.
SFCTF and its’ volunteers have built relationships with many of these Wounded Warriors & their spouses, some have even relocated to the Tennessee Valley. As a result of the positive interaction they experienced, they in turn relay that to their peers, assured that the people of this country really do care for them.
SFCTF also acts as a conduit for companies, civic organizations, community groups, local churches, and individual citizens who want to use their resources to support wounded warriors and active duty military families.