iWarriors

Moldmakers give back to our Wounded Warriors with the gift of technology, so they can stay in touch.

Related Topics:

The Bartz family journey began almost a year ago when Bob Byers (a regular contributor to MMT with his “Mold Shop Puzzle” series) shared the story of his son Will, who is a member of the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines stationed in Camp Pendleton, CA, and whose battle with cancer prevented him from being deployed to Afghanistan alongside his fellow Marines. Bob also explained to Tim Bartz (VP of Operations for MMT’s 2011 Small Shop Leadtime Leader Mold Craft, Inc. of Willernie, MN) and his wife Kim the high injury and casualty count of the 3/5 in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, which has resulted in the return of many young men as single, double and triple amputees.

Moved to give back to these Wounded Warriors, the Bartz family decided to create an organized donation of iPads, which would help the Marines recover faster by enabling them to stay in touch with family and friends who were unable to be with them at the hospital—as well as remain connected to the outside world.

The staff at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego delivered a list of amputees. Then through a letter campaign to AMBA members and partners, Tim and Kim put forth a challenge of matching the $400 Mold Craft donation. As a result, nearly $10,000 was donated, enabling the purchase of iPads, cases, earbuds and iTunes cards for 15 members of the 3/5.

The Bartz family headed to California, and was brought to Camp Pendleton and the Naval Hospital by Bob DePew, Director of Sales and Marketing for Southern California Plastics, Superior Mold Company and Unit Industries, who also sits on the Dana Point 5th Marines Support Group Board.  They met with Sergeant Major Hoopii—preparing for his third deployment to the Middle East—who gave them background on the men they were about to meet. They were then greeted by GySgt Morenoruiz and LCpl Johansen, Kim Reeves (a Family Readiness Officer for the 3/5) and LtCol Morris’ wife, Jane. They were taken to a Wall of Honor displaying photos and names of those from the 3/5 who were killed in action during the most recent deployment, as well a newly erected Memorial Garden.  Next they were escorted to Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego where they met a room full of unsuspecting Marines and their families to deliver the iPads—LCpl Thomas Parker, LCpl Josue Barron, SSgt Guillermo Tejada, and LCpl Jeffrey Grosky, and Sgt Thomas Parker.  (iPads were also given to those not present, including LCpl Mark Meirink, Cpl Marcus Chischilly and Cpl Justin McCloud).

Amazed and overwhelmed by the uplifting spirits and attitudes of these young men as well as their utter gratefulness for the iPads, the Bartz family decided to create an official charity through which anyone can donate an iPad. Visit www.iwarriors.org.