ECU student from Salisbury cooks up something for the troops
Special to the Post
GREENVILLE – “Support Our Troops,” was a little more than just a trendy bumper sticker for East Carolina Senior Kevin Robinson of Salisbury.
In spring 2013, the first annual “Cookout for America” or “C4A” took place, drawing in a crowd of more than 120 people. During the event, Robinson, who has been said to be a master of the grill, cooked up homemade barbecue, hot dogs, burgers and fixings, and all proceeds were donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“I’d say the first cookout was definitely a successful. We were nervous because it was our first philanthropy event in a couple years but we managed to raise over $2,000, which I think was a good start,” said Robinson, who is now the president of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, the organization that hosts the cookout.
“The following year we were able to increase our attendance by roughly 30 percent and our donations by more than 50 percent, bringing our total to more than $5,000 and this year we’re aiming to keep that uptrend going and hopefully rake in at least $4,000,” said Robinson.
Robinson chose the Wounded Warrior Project because of his best friend, Lt. Noah King of the United States Marine Corps, who was deployed to Camp Leatherneck in the heart of Afghanistan.
“Through correspondence with Lt. King, I found out how dangerous it is really and how little the media portrays it,” said Robinson. “You see something about a soldier getting injured on the news maybe once a week, it barely makes a headline, but in reality since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 6,800 of our nation’s servicemen have died there with more than 50,000 wounded and more than 300,000 with traumatic brain injuries.”
Those are only the physical repercussions of war. The Wounded Warrior Project helps a lot with the silent injuries. An estimated 400,000 soldiers are diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, which occurs after you’ve gone through a very emotional trauma that involved the threat of injury or death. After hearing these numbers, Robinson felt that having a philanthropy event to benefit one of the programs whose sole focus is to aid the nation’s servicemen was the least he could do.
The Wounded Warrior Project offers 19 programs specifically structured to engage warriors, nurture their mind and bodies and encourage their economic empowerment.
“With the Wounded Warrior Project ,you can talk to some of the veterans and really see that your efforts aren’t for naught. You can see the effects of the programs and the effects of the counseling, and you can see that you are making a difference for these people,” said Robinson. “In the end, I think that’s one of the greatest and most satisfying feelings, knowing that you’re making a difference in someone’s life for the better.”
Robinson believes that almost anyone can help make a difference in veterans’ lives and that contributions don’t always have to be monetary. “Sometimes all these guys need is a friend or someone to talk to because the military, as good as what it is, they’re meant to get a job done and not necessarily nurture each other, so that’s something that any civilian can do.
“Even if you don’t know anyone in the military, it (the Wounded Warrior Project) is a great way to give back and you could end up really changing someone’s life,” Robinson said.
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