INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 21, 2009) — In less than a week, an American Legion blog site raised more than $50,000, which Target matched with an additional $50,000 contribution, to help U.S. soldiers who were forced to destroy their camp and all of their possessions during a deadly Oct. 3 enemy attack in Afghanistan. In addition, Connecticut-based Computer Sciences Corporation has donated 56 laptop computers to the relief effort to replace those that were destroyed.
The Combat Outpost Keating Relief Fund sprang to life on The American Legion’s Burn Pit blog site after one of the 56 surviving troops wrote in an e-mail that he believed no one at home had any idea what they were doing there, and that no one cared.
“The American Legion, Target and all who contributed to the COP Keating Relief Fund have shown these brave soldiers that we do indeed care,” American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill said. “The relief fund contributions will help replace such things as digital cameras, video games, DVDs, books, memory cards, music players, and other personal items that give soldiers a break from the intensity of the war.”
The early-October attack by Taliban-allied militants in the rugged Nuristan province of Afghanistan claimed the lives of eight American soldiers from Bravo Troop 3-61 Cavalry out of Fort Carson, Colo. The troops were forced to call in an artillery strike on their own position to destroy the camp before it was overrun.
On Saturday, Oct. 24, members of The American Legion will go to a Target store near Fort Carson and purchase many of the items that will be shipped later in the month to Afghanistan. Also participating in the “packing party” at American Legion Post 209 in Colorado Springs will be members of Fort Carson’s Family Readiness Group. Similar shopping and packing events are planned for Minneapolis on Oct. 27 and Fairfax, Va., on Oct. 29. Target Volunteers will help assemble the packages in Fairfax.
“Within a month of losing everything other than the clothes on their backs, these soldiers will have replacement items from home and a realization that they are not forgotten at war,” said Hill, who leads the nation’s largest veterans service organization. “It is our duty as a nation to stand by those who go in harm’s way on our nation’s behalf. Visitors of the Burn Pit, Target and Legionnaires across the country understand the importance of that duty.”
“For years, Target has donated funds and volunteer hours to local and national veterans’ and military organizations,” said Laysha Ward, president, community relations, Target. “It is our hope that our contribution, along with other generous donors’ gifts, will show our thanks to the soldiers of COP Keating who are sacrificing so much for our country.”
About The American Legion
With a current membership of 2.5-million wartime veterans, The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans organization. It was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,743 stores in 49 states nationwide and at Target.com. Target is committed to providing a fun and convenient shopping experience with access to unique and highly differentiated products at affordable prices. Since 1946, the corporation has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs like Take Charge of Education. Today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week.
Media contacts: Craig Roberts (202) 263-2982 or Joe March (317)630-1253. A high resolution photo of National Commander Hill is available at www.legion.org.