The Wounded Warrior Project Kerfuffle

In lieu of lengthy explanations, I am posting the email exchange between Tom Gresham and Leslie Coleman PR of WWP. My comments will be at the end of the exchange.

After Sunday’s show, we’ve gotten many emails about Tom’s remarks after WWP declined an interview request on Gun Talk Radio because it’s a firearms-related show. We’ve also seen the forums that are suggesting many things that are not true. So, I’m going to lay it all out right here.

We thought it would be great to book the WWP on the Veterans Day show to promote the organization, so I contacted them. I was flabbergasted when their PR contact, Leslie, sent me an email saying they could not participate because our show dealt with firearms. Knowing that WWP has a booth at SHOT show and various gun shows across the US, takes wounded warriors on hunts and range days, raffles guns and accessories as fundraisers, etc., their policy didn’t make much sense. I forwarded the email on to Tom to get his take.

-Sarah

 

The following is the complete email exchange:

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Hello, Leslie:

Sarah forwarded me your email after I asked her to invite the Wounded Warriors Project to join me on “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” radio show.

I’m stunned at your email saying that the WWP doesn’t participate in an interview or activity related to firearms.  Inasmuch as there are 90 million gun owners and most of them support wounded veterans, I think they would be shocked to hear that they are, by way of their hobbies, somehow not worthy of helping with the Wounded Warriors Project.

Does your policy apply also to police agencies and the military, since they are “related to firearms?”

 I’m hoping that we have misunderstood your email.  Can you confirm that it is, in fact, an official policy of the Wounded Warriors Project to not do interviews with or participate in any activity related to firearms?

 Thank you.

Tom Gresham

 

============

 

Good afternoon –

 While we appreciate your interest in Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) you are correct that we decline the media opportunity.

 Please note the following notice that appears on our website which also applies to WWP public awareness policy and inquiries from media outlets:

http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/additional-opportunities.aspx

 WWP does not co-brand, create cause marketing campaigns or receive a percentage or a portion of proceeds from companies in which the product or message is sexual, political or religious in nature, or from alcohol or firearms companies.

Thank you for your inquiry.

LESLIE A. COLEMAN

public relations director

O: 904.405.1433

M: 904.654.8138

F: 904.296.7347

 Wounded Warrior Project

 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300

 Jacksonville, Florida 32256

 

====================

Thanks for confirming that, Leslie.  It was a simple opportunity to promote the WWP on a national program in an effort to send donations your way.

 I’ll pass along the info that you don’t want or need the help of America’s gun owners.  

 Best regards,

 Tom Gresham

 

=====================

 

Good morning –

This policy is not a judgment on those who own and use firearms – clearly every member of our armed forces has been trained in the use of firearms and then called on to use them in the course of their service to this country.

 Our position regarding firearms and alcohol is in response to the struggles that many injured service members face with substance abuse and suicide and the roles those items often play in those issues.

 Thank you.

 LESLIE A. COLEMAN

 public relations director

 

=============================

 

Hello, Leslie:

 Thank you for that explanation.

 I do think — and I’m being as kind as possible — that it’s the nuttiest thing I’ve heard in years. Suicides are not linked to firearms. Japan has a much higher rate of suicide than does the U.S., and they have essentially no firearms. Suicide is a serious issue irrespective of the methodology used.  

 This explanation doesn’t pass even the most simple “does this make sense” test.

 Your policy does, in fact, brand firearms and the companies which make them as undesirables, and by association, you are saying that those who own and use firearms for recreation, hunting, self protection, and other safe and legal uses are to be avoided.

 It’s certainly your option to ostracize the firearms industry, the 90 million gun owners in America, and the media which support firearms safety training.  

 At this point, I feel an obligation to make sure the millions who listen to my radio show and watch my two national television series know about your policy.

 I cannot fully express how much I feel you are doing a disservice to our wounded veterans, and how disappointed I am to discover this bias at the Wounded Warriors Project.

 Sincerely,

Tom Gresham

==========================

God, what a mess. This is The Make A Wish Foundation Screw Up for the new century.

Unfortunately this is clearly a politically motivated/pseudo scientifically taken decision by WWP. If they think guns are bad, they wouldn’t be proudly announcing in its webpage that Raytheon is a corporate sponsor.

Years ago I made the decision that I would not support Make A Wish with direct donations but I would not reject to offer direct help if asked. This came about one day at a previous job where we had the chance to give a four-year old who’d never seen the ocean a weekend at the beach. As much as I consider the organization’s stand against hunting stupid, I could not say no to a little kid enjoying his last summer on this planet even if the event was being sponsored by M-A-W.  You have to be a callous S.O.B. to say no to a dying kid and I am not that cruel. Also, besides this post, I will not endorse publicly nor come down on WWP. As misguided as they are on this subject, they are serving a good cause and they have a fair rating with Charity Navigator.

As for you reader, you take your own decision.

26 thoughts on “The Wounded Warrior Project Kerfuffle”

  1. It’s their position and I’ll stick by it alongisde the whole Chik-fil-a non-news earlier in the year. They do a good job for vets and it’s better to support or not to support by what I do best.

    My wallet.

    “That has a WWP logo on it…but that one over there is cheaper…I need to live to my next paycheck.” -grabs cheaper item-

  2. IIRC Joe’s boomershoot dinner in 2010 was dedicated to WWP. Pretty sure I gave $75 there. I hope they re think (or possibly think) this “policy”. I know Washington Arms Collectors has sponsored their mustang fundraiser in the past, had one of the cars in our Puyallup show catching $5’s and $20’s from passersby. Boyd K WAC secretary all IMO

    1. False.
      Joe gives to Soldier’s Angels’ Project Valor-IT.

      Has been every year I’ve gone since 2008. Started after they helped his nephew. Here’s Joe’s donation from 2010.

      Please be careful about saying who gives to what because it can turn off fund raising in the future because they could assume it’s WWP when in fact it isn’t. If you’re sure, go with it, but shooting from the hip, especially when something like this is on the line isn’t the best thing for either side.

  3. Sad that such political correctness can cause so great a loss for those so much in need. So many misguided administrators living in fear of retaliation. Demonstrate courage, hope and trust as THAT will go much further than just dollars.

  4. While I am disappointed in Wounded Warrior Project’s policy, I respect their right to run their organization as they deem fit. (I note that they do not have a booth listing for SHOT Show 2013).
    There are other organizations for supporting wounded vets: http://www.honoredveterans.org/

  5. WWP, IMO, is more about looking good than helping the most wounded warriors they could help. My time and effort (& $ when I have it to spare) goes to Soldiers’ Angels. They might not have the same fancy sponsors or the same level of national recognition as WWP, but they have helped far more people…

  6. SA isn’t persnickety. The mission remains to help servicemembers. And they are not WWP–not by a long shot. (sorry, couldn’t help myself.). Boomershoot (Hi Joe!) and the gun blogger rendezvous has been very kind to SA and Project VALOur-IT in particular.

  7. We have done fund raising for WWP three times in the past and raised a good chunk of change. It saddens me to hear this. We won’t be doing it again..

  8. The WWP is on track to make well over $60 Million this year in donations. There are serious questions to be asked about how that is being spent with a staff of well over 300 people in Jacksonville. Sadly they have become a massive PR machine that raises money like a beast off of a great name and logo. Quick…ask yourself…what is your favorite thing that WWP does for the troops…come on..think…think…you don’t know do you? That’s cause no one does. But who doesn’t love “wounded warriors”? So the money keeps flowing. There are some amazing local and national organizations your fund raising should go to. Doing a shoot? That $5,000 would make a MASSIVE difference to your local homeless veterans shelter where it’s a drop in a multi-million dollar bucket to WWP. I’m sure the folks at WWP are fine people and truly care but I am a fan of giving local where possible for what it’s worth.

  9. Special Operations(Green Berets, SEALS, AF & Marine Special Ops) has a separate Wounded Warriors Projects that will gladly accept the donations of bitter clingers and God-botherers. specialops.org is their site. I give through payroll deduction; these warriors give at the tip of the spear.

Feel free to express your opinions. Trolling, overly cussing and Internet Commandos will not be tolerated .