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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

For Immediate Release

New Bern, NC - November 24, 2013

Jim Casti National Welfare Officer

Military Order of the Purple Heart Heads the
2013 Christmas Leave Fund for wounded Veterans

Wounded Warriors were guests at the 2012 Christmas Leave Fundraiser, with retired Marine Maj. Gen. Tom Braaten at the podium. Braaten is an active participant in the event, which will be held on Dec. 11 at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center.

A chance meeting between a New Bern businessman and a leader of the Military Order of the Purple Heart eight years ago blossomed into a major local fundraising project.

Wounded Warriors Leave Fundraiser has raised more than $2 million to give recovering wounded Marines a most special Christmas gift -a trip home for the holidays.

Steve Tyson's business is real estate and his community involvement includes being a Craven County commissioner. With military service of his own, he often attends functions involving veterans.

Jim Casti of Newport is a retired Marine and multiple winner of the Purple Heart. He is a leader in the nonprofit organization for combat-wounded veterans.

The two were seated beside each other at a 2005 military fundraiser in Havelock, an event unrelated to the Purple Heart group. Their conversation set the stage for what has become an annual holiday event in New Bern -the Wounded Warrior Christmas Leave Fundraiser. This year, it is Dec. 11 at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center.

It buys airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, bus tickets or whatever is necessary to get Eastern North Carolina wounded Marines together with their families for Christmas.

"He (Jim) had gone to the Wounded Warriors barracks at Camp Lejeune and asked the Marines what they wanted for Christmas. A lot of them said they wanted to go home for Christmas," Tyson said of his initial meeting with Casti. "The Marines had all that they needed at the barracks, but they just wanted to go home. Honestly, if you live in California, a ticket during the holidays can be a thousand or more dollars."

Read the whole story here at Sun Journal

For information contact:
National Public Relations Director, Jim Klug, 541-778-3480
Email: PublicRelations@Purpleheart.org
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