How to help hurting military families

Local push for support

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - More than 50,000 U.S. service members have been wounded during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom combined, and a local group is raising money for many wounded veterans' families.

The fourth annual Yellow Ribbon Fund Golf Tournament is Thursday and Friday at the Marsh Landing Country Club. The group's mission is to provide financial support to injured military veterans and their families.

On Thursday, there is a dinner featuring keynote speaker Dr. Kevin Murphy. Murphy served in the military for 25 years and was the chief of orthopedics at Walter Reed Military Medical Center for 10 years.

"It is a devastating thing for these young men and women," Murphy said. "Many of them are very young guys and they have young families. And really, that's the most difficult thing."

Walter Reed Army Medical Center closed in 2011. Operations moved to an upgraded facility at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and at Fort Belvoir, Va. The Maryland location is now called Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

"All these guys want to do is get better so they can go back to their units. But when they have their families around them, it really helps them heal," said Murphy. "We had families sleeping in the rooms with them because they couldn't afford to stay in hotels. The Yellow Ribbon Fund is one that takes care of that. It's really a great organization to help these folks recover."

Last year, more than 170 people were at the events that raised more than $55,000 in support of the Yellow Ribbon Fund. The goal this year is $75,000. To learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Fund and how to help, visit the organization's website.

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