Wounded Veteran Receives Track Chair from HPU Students and the Independence Fund
HIGH POINT, N.C., March 18, 2017 – Patrick J. Glavey, a Marine who lost both legs from above the knee while fighting in Afghanistan, can pursue his dream to build a tree nursery and vegetable farm with his family thanks to a Track Chair he received from High Point University students today.
For the second year in a row, HPU’s Kappa Alpha Order fraternity raised $25,000 to purchase a Track Chair for a veteran. The fraternity partners with The Independence Fund and Heal Team 6 each year to award the special all-terrain chair, which allows wounded veterans like Glavey to regain mobility and independence.
“I’m extremely grateful that a group of individuals came together to assist me in living a richer, more capable life with my family,” said Glavey, who lives in Thornton, Colorado but was flown to High Point, North Carolina for today’s on-campus event. “I am a proponent of focusing on service before self. Seeing members of a fraternity apply this principle in their own lives has provided me with a great appreciation for the men of High Point University’s Kappa Alpha Order.”
Glavey served as a Marine until 2010 when he was injured while on deployment in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of both legs above the knee. Following his injury, he spent a year completing rehabilitation at the Naval Medical Center.
He is currently focusing his efforts on growing a tree nursery and developing a permaculture-based vegetable farm. The chair will be instrumental in helping him achieve this goal, as hauling and carrying large, heavy items has proved extremely difficult on prosthetics or in a manual wheelchair. He said the chair that Kappa Alpha Order and The Independence Fund are providing will allow him to complete the work necessary to provide food and trees to the community around him.
“I am going to put this chair to good use and am extremely appreciative.”
The project has been led by HPU senior Michael Esposito, the fraternity’s past president who spoke to students and community members at today’s event, where the chair a check for $25,000 was also presented.
“I’m beyond grateful for the service and sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform, and I’m extremely proud of my fraternity brothers,” Esposito, said. “Last year, we presented a chair to Michael Verardo’s family, and we got to see how much that impacted their lives. That’s why we’re here again today. The members of this fraternity have created one of the most successful and directly impactful student-led initiatives in the country. They have built a nationwide coalition of donors to provide this incredible, life-changing gift for a deserving veteran. I am so proud of them all.”
Through last year’s event and this year’s event, the brothers have raised more than $50,000 from donors in 32 states.
“We look forward to doing this year after year,” Esposito said. “I hope you all continue with us in our mission to serve the men and women who protect this country.”
Sarah Verardo, director of development at The Independence Fund, is also the wife of Mike Verardo, who received the Track Chair at last year’s event. She said the HPU students hold a special place in their hearts.
“It’s so vital to us that young men have this leadership to ensure the veterans are not forgotten,” she told the crowd. “We’re truly appreciative to be here and so excited to continue this tradition.”
High Point University frequently honors the sacrifice of our nation’s veterans and the principles upon which our country is built. In November, HPU honored 1,000 veterans and their family members at the university’s annual Veterans Day Celebration.
About the Independence Fund: The Independence Fund (www.independencefund.org) is a 501(c) 3 organization. Donations to the Fund are tax-deductible and help provide injured troops with the tools, therapies and guidance that they might not otherwise receive. Independence Fund has distributed more than $20 million in grants and services to qualifying veterans including track chairs, custom cycles, and retreats for the veteran family.