JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Sept. 27, 2017)
Cheryl Pfeiffer was a small child when she said she first witnessed true heroism.
“At a family reunion, I was with a group of kids playing in the woods,” Cheryl said. “While throwing rocks around, we struck a hornets’ nest, and an enormous swarm of hornets erupted from the nest. We all ran screaming, except my older cousin Mike, who stayed behind and stood still. His actions allowed the swarm to sting him over and over again so that we could all run to safety. Although I was very young, I knew he was a hero.”
This incident left a considerable impression on Cheryl, and years later, her cousin Mike confirmed his selflessness once again in an act that saved many lives when he served in Vietnam.
“One night, he was patrolling with his platoon when a grenade was thrown in their midst,” Cheryl reflected. “Mike threw himself on the grenade to save his fellow soldiers. He was and always will be my most highly regarded hero.”
Like many supporters of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), Cheryl has been inspired by America’s veterans. WWP relies on the support of donors, including individual supporters, corporate partners, and even groups of students. And like the warriors who answered the call to serve, Cheryl has her own reasons for giving back to our nation’s wounded heroes.
Cheryl wanted to give back to her nation through service in the Peace Corps and military. She was ultimately talked out of it – a decision she said she regrets.
“After graduating from school, I wanted to make a difference,” Cheryl said. “However, my dad and guidance counselor both told me the Peace Corps would not want me since I offered no trained skills. I heard the same when I wanted to join the Reserves – that I wouldn’t make it, that I wouldn’t survive. I realized too late that they were wrong.”
Cheryl said the drive to make a difference and give back continued throughout her life, increasing when a friend’s son died from combat wounds.
“Marshall served his country and returned home from the war safe and sound,” Cheryl said. “We didn’t realize this was only on the outside. He had invisible wounds he tried to deal with on his own.”
Several months after coming home from combat, Marshall committed suicide. His parents believe post-traumatic stress disorder played a role in his actions. While watching TV one night, Cheryl saw a public service announcement about WWP, and the memories of Mike and Marshall came flooding back. She viewed this sign as an opportunity to finally make a difference and change the lives of warriors in need.
“I always knew that when I became old and passed away, I wanted all my assets to go to a charity that would help those in need,” Cheryl said. “Thinking of my cousin and Marshall, I knew Wounded Warrior Project is the cause I will support.”
To learn more about how WWP’s programs and services connect, serve, and empower wounded warriors, visit https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org.
Contact: Mattison Brooks – Public Relations