Teamsters Airline Division Chairman Capt. David Bourne and Economics and Contracts Director Jim Kimball participated in a hospital visit over the weekend as part of their work with a non-profit that they coordinate closely with and raise money for, “Ipods for Wounded Veterans.” The non-profit, an organization that is completely run by volunteers, was started by a retired Teamster, Paul Cardello of Local 170 in Worcester, Mass.
The non-profit doesn’t restrict their activities strictly to donating iPods – they also donate Kindles, Ipads, tablets, headphones, and a number of other much-needed items for soldiers. They also bring the soldiers letters that were written to them by school children. The event that Bourne and Kimball attended was part of a multi-city tour down the east coast that featured live entertainment in addition to donations for the recovering veterans.
“If you told me five and a half years ago that we’d have an entertainment division, I’d tell you you’re crazy,” Cardello said. “This has never been attempted before.”
Wounded veterans often have to be in a medical facility for multiple years while they recover from their injuries, and being stuck in a hospital for such a long time can lead to a great deal of boredom and feelings of alienation.
“We saw a young woman who we had seen the last time we were at the medical center, and that was a number of months ago,” Bourne said. “You tend to see a lot of the same people over and over. They have to wait weeks and months between operations recovering, and this sort of becomes their life. But they’re always happy to see us, and they’re a very inspiring group of young men and women.”
Over the summer, Kimball and Bourne went on a hiking tour of England and Scotland to raise money for the organization, and they ended up raising more than $10,000.
“I appreciated the opportunity to do something for our wounded veterans, however small it was,” Kimball said. “I wish them a speedy recovery and thank them for their service.”
David Renshaw, a Business Agent with Teamsters Local 769 who also serves as the Southern Region Representative for the organization, says that they are looking to expand in the future.
“It would be great to see additional growth in the west coast – by that I mean awareness, sponsorship, and involvement,” Renshaw said. “We really enjoy visiting these veterans and spending time with them. Once we recruit a new volunteer, all it takes is one hospital visit and they’re hooked for life.”