ARLINGTON, Va. --
The Segs4Vets program awarded 20 Segway personal transporters to wounded service members in a presentation ceremony at the United States Marine Corps War Memorial Oct. 29.
“They lost [their mobility] doing what we asked them to,” said Medal of Honor recipient retired Col. Harvey “Barney” Barnum.
“[Service members] are playing away games, so we don’t have any home games,” he continued. “And they have paid a big price.”
Cpl. Jacob Janes was one of the grateful wounded warriors to receive a Segway. The Evansville, Wis., native was injured in Afghanistan and is currently going through rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
“These organizations are awesome,” he added. “Generations past didn’t have [the support] we have today.”
While attending a conference in Italy, Segs4Vets president Jerry Kerr was inspired to donate a Segway like his, to a wounded service member.
The program, established in 2005, has grown significantly over the years.
In its first presentation, Segs4Vets awarded Segways to a Marine, a soldier and a National Guardsman that sustained injuries while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“It was a profoundly emotional experience when we saw what a difference they made,” said Kerr.
Segs4Vets has a goal to donate more than 400 Segways by the end of 2009 to service members who were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Segs4Vets is funded entirely by donations and run exclusively by volunteers. It is the first and only organization to ever receive a waiver from the U.S. military allowing a gift in excess of $1,000 to injured service members. The program received the Secretary of the Army’s Public Service Award for distinguished public service providing support for the nation’s veterans.