Tag Archives: Wounded Warrior Project

Ridgewood students raise money for wounded veterans

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy I.S. 93

Students from I.S. 93 in Ridgewood raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project through the Penny Harvest Program.

A group of seventh- and eighth-graders from the middle school held weekly meetings focused on finding a charity to support. After much research, they decided to donate $500 to the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military.

In addition, the kids signed up to become student ambassadors for the Wounded Warrior Project. They decided they wanted to help even more by raising additional money. They fundraised by selling Wounded Warrior Project bracelets and pins, informing the I.S. 93 community about the special ways in which this program helps wounded soldiers.

They were able to raise an additional $200, totaling a $700 donation to the organization.

As a special surprise, the group of students were able to meet a true wounded warrior: Sgt. Juan Arrendondo, one of the first soldiers to receive help from the Wounded Warrior Project when it began over 10 years ago.

Arrendondo spoke to the students about his injuries, losing an arm and part of his leg, and gave an inspirational speech on how he considers himself lucky to be alive.

“When you told your story about how you got hurt I wanted to cry,” said Weronika Pawlowska, a student at I.S. 93, in a thank-you letter to Sgt. Arrendondo. “It made me sad at how this happened to you and many other people. I love how you have confidence in telling us about your injuries and how you opened out to people. I learned no matter what happens, life can be amazing and full of surprises.”

I.S. student Anthony Paredes wrote, “Dear Juan, it was indeed a pleasure of meeting you. When I met you I knew that you were a person of endurance and that nothing could stop you. When you told us your story, you couldn’t prove me more correct of how you were a symbol of courage. I hope to be like you one day.”


Bayside tattoo artists donate $1,300 to veteran charity

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Life, liberty and tattoos for a cause!

Following the Super Bowl, the owner of Mean Street Tattoo in Bayside raised $1,300 for the Wounded Warrior Project to help war veterans.

Tom Murphy, the owner of the Bayside tattoo shop, enlisted the aid of dozens of friends in the tattoo business to turn helmets into works of art that were then sold during a Super Sunday fundraiser for the charity organization.

“We had a really good turnout,” Murphy said. “It’s great we were able to get everyone together and do this thing for veterans.”

Tattoo artists from England, Canada and across America answered Murphy’s call to use their skills for charity. In total, they sold all 21 helmets and raised $1,300. The artists that Murphy recruited were told to draw or paint whatever they wanted. The helmets fetched as much as $200 each. Many of the helmets depicted military-themed subjects like “Full Metal Jacket” while another artist represented a demon with real deer antlers screwed into the helmet.

The success of the fundraiser inspired Murphy to continue organizing events that bring people and art together. To mark Cinco de Mayo, a party will be held at Mean Street Tattoo. Murphy will try to get as many artists as possible to paint something related to the historical date commemorating Mexico’s victory over France during a battle in Puebla.

“We’re opening our doors to the community,” Murphy said. “Anyone is invited to come.”


Bayside tattoo artist brings some color to Super Bowl celebrations

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Eric Jankiewicz

This isn’t the Super Bowl half-time show. A tattoo artist in Bayside is holding a fundraiser on Super Bowl Sunday for the Wounded Warrior Project. And he’s enlisted tattoo artists from around the country to paint helmets to be sold at the fundraiser.

“It’s a good kickoff to a Super Bowl party,” said Tom Murphy, who owns Mean Street Tattoo, where the fundraiser will be held. “And we’re just trying to raise money for soldiers.”

Tattoo artists from England, Canada and across America used their tat skills to make paintings on helmets. Murphy is hoping to sell the helmets for $500 each and he has a total of 21 inked helmets made by 18 artists.

Murphy thought of the idea after he noticed his neighbor was a Vietnam veteran and he began to think about the new generation of veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. He also thought the idea would be a good way to bring the tattoo artist community together.

“I want to grow a community,” he said. “And if we could bring a splash of color to the boulevard that would be great.”


Murphy contributed to the collection by drawing an American flag with the Purple Heart on a helmet. Some artists took a more expansive view on the soldier theme and drew things like a helmet from Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket.

Others strayed from the soldier theme altogether, with one artist drawing what Murphy described as an Elvis Geisha. Another helmet depicts a demon and the artist attached two deer antlers to the helmet.

“We hope this snowballs and the helmets sell,” Murphy said. “It’s for veterans, that’s all that matters.”


Students at P.S./M.S. 207 learn to ‘persevere’ through Wounded Warrior Project

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

One man’s story of perseverance left a crowd of middle schoolers captivated.

Brandon Trapp of the Wounded Warrior Project spoke to the middle school students at P.S./M.S. 207 Rockwood Park as part of a series of monthly assemblies meant to instill different virtues in the youngsters.

The school kicked off the year last month with the topic of respect. Two kids from each grade were awarded for showing respect “above and beyond” as their classmates cheered them on.

This month’s theme, perseverance, brought former Army officer Trapp to Howard Beach to discuss his deployment overseas, a crippling injury and his journey back to normalcy.

“I liked the idea of being a team and serving something bigger than yourself,” Trapp said of his Army beginnings.

In 2010, Trapp deployed to eastern Afghanistan, a site he said was one of the most beautiful, but also the most violent.

“Somebody in our battalion was fighting with the Taliban daily,” he said.

The officer, now a medical student, then recalled the fateful attack that ultimately sent him home. A rocket landed close to him on the field, and Trapp was thrown.

“I knew we had been attacked because I saw the smoke billowing up,” he said. “For the first split second, it didn’t hurt. Then the pain came.”

Trapp later learned he had broken his back. He said at first he couldn’t feel his legs, but after a fellow soldier assured him his legs were in fact still there, he thought, “Alright, this is looking up.”

His First Sergeant put his head against Trapp’s, yelled “We love you sir,” and the officer was transferred to a hospital in Germany, then to Washington, D.C. As he awoke out of a medically induced coma, the first image he saw was the picture of his Army unit — a “screaming eagle” on a black flag, which eventually was filled with signatures of friends, family, doctors and nurses.

Trapp suffered injuries to his femur, torso, left leg and endured extensive nerve damage.

“They weren’t really sure if I’d be able to walk again,” he said.

But the screaming eagle stayed with him through physical therapy, and a little over a month later he was able to take his first steps.

“I made a goal that I wanted to take that flag up a mountain,” he said.

A year after his injury, Trapp and a team of Wounded Warriors climbed Mount Baker in Washington, and while thinking about his own injury and his fellow climbers, Trapp made it to the top.

Trapp started medical school in August and is contemplating going into trauma surgery because he feels he can thank his own doctors by “being in their shoes,” and treating patients like he once was.

To the students, Trapp advised to “be honest with yourself” and “always be focused on what you can do to make a situation better.”