Operation Second Chance provides grant for Scholarship Fund in memory of a Hero
For Immediate Release February 17, 2016
Contacts: Cindy McGrew & Vanessa Toner 301-972-1080
In honor of Army SPC, Wade Christiansen, OSC provides $5,000 grant towards The Wade Christiansen Purple Heart Scholarship Fund.
GERMANTOWN, MD, February 17, 2016— Since 2004 Operation Second Chance, a non-profit organization based in Germantown, MD, has worked tirelessly to provide emergency financial assistance and morale boosting retreats and activities to wounded, injured, and ill post 9/11 combat veterans and their families. It’s President and Founder, Cindy McGrew, saw the need for a ‘grassroots’ organization that would never lose sight of the goal to provide relief for the men and women of our armed forces who have sacrificed so much in the name of freedom.
Cindy, who visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) regularly, first met SPC Wade Christiansen after he was injured in January 2010 from an improvised explosive device (IED) detonation. Seven IEDs had been hidden inside of a wall, spaced out in 15ft intervals, the same amount of space soldiers leave between each other on foot patrol.
“These guys are good,” Christiansen said when interviewed by Lorna Thackeray of the Billings Gazette in 2010, “This was a very intricate ambush.” Six of the seven IEDs were detonated but the seventh, the one nearest to Christiansen, failed, leaving him severely injured but alive.
SPC Christiansen was treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (now known as WRNMMC) in Washington, DC. He lost sight in his left eye and sustained substantial trauma to his jaw from the blast, as well as other injuries from shrapnel. Wade would recover, but his injuries would prevent him from returning to battle. He received a Purple Heart Award, and was medically discharged from the Army.
Wade returned to his home in Montana and began participating in Operation Second Chance’s Retreat Program. He became heavily involved with OSC, and even became a peer mentor for other wounded veterans who joined the retreats. “He would teach other veterans about horseback and ATV riding, how to fish, but mainly how to love Montana the way he did,” says OSC President Cindy McGrew.
Christiansen later enrolled in Montana State University to study photography, however his troubles weren’t over. “His pain was persistent and required ongoing attention to manage. Wade endured admirably, but ultimately we lost him in May 2013 to a continuing social epidemic: veteran suicide,” it reads in the Wade’s Story section of his scholarship fund page, wcpurpleheart.org.
From his involvement with the Operation Second Chance Retreats Program, OSC began receiving donations in his memory after passing. “All year long we receive donations in memory of SPC Christiansen,” Vanessa Toner of Operation Second Chance said.
OSC uses money from donations to provide assistance to wounded combat veterans; to date Operation Second Chance has provided more than $3 million in financial relief and morale boosting activities to veterans in need. However, when word reached OSC about the Wade Christiansen Purple Heart Scholarship Fund, Cindy said, “this was the best way to pay it forward for another veteran.”
Operation Second Chance has provided a $5,000 grant to be applied towards the scholarship fund, moving them that much closer to their $25,000 goal so that it can be awarded in the fall of 2016. As stated on the Fund’s website, “The Wade Christiansen Purple Heart Scholarship Fund has two purposes: to preserve the memory of late Army Paratrooper Specialist Wade Christiansen, and to support military service members with a critical resource in their transition to civilian life: a quality education.” Operation Second Chance is proud to be able to help provide such a wonderful resource to our veterans.
If you would like to donate to the Wade Christiansen Purple Heart Scholarship Fund please go to wcpurpleheart.org and make a charitable contribution. “The fund will award a scholarship to a continuing Montana State student with military service, or to a student family member of a veteran, on an annual basis.”