Photo: "Hornets for Wounded Warriors” students, left to right Mary Lavorato, Calvin Czapko, Jenny Pantoni; also left to right: Natalie Williams, Library Head of Kids & Teens Services, Tom Rodak, VFW Darien Post 2838 and Combat Infantrymen’s Association, Michael Moretti, Hinsdale South "Hornets for Wounded Warriors” support teacher, Nick Darien VFW Post 2838 Sr. Vice Commander.
The Hinsdale South High School "Hornets for Wounded Warriors” student
group, led by teacher Michael Moretti, had raised $340 at an athletic event.
The group, of which three of the members are shown in the photo, approached the
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Darien Memorial Post 2838 asking if the Post was
aware of an appropriate wounded veterans organization to which they could
donate their funds. Post 2838 member Tom Rodak, also a member of the Combat
Infantrymen’s Association, had received a book from his association for
donation to the local library. The book was written by Sarah Verardo, the wife
of a wounded veteran who had returned home from Afghanistan with loss of two
limbs and other injuries. The book tells of how schoolmates of the wounded
veteran’s children commented that their dad looked "gross” as he moved
about with his orthopedic and transport aids. To preserve the veteran’s
dignity, the author uses the book to explain to children that a veteran’s
wounds occurr as a result of his bravery in action and that the orthopedic aids
are actually a testament to his courage in defending his
comrades and his country. Recognizing the need to help other wounded veterans, Mrs. Varardo established The Independence Fund for the purpose of providing means for wounded veterans to acquire needed orthopedic and transport aids. VFW member Nick Darien researched and proposed this fund to the "Hornets for Wounded Warriors,” who enthusiastically agreed that this was their select destination for the funds they had raised.