INSIGHTSPARTNERS IN PHILANTHROPY
Charity Spotlight: Julie Rothmeier / Rotary March for Veterans
A Mother’s Mission to Make March for Veterans
What do you do when your son returns from war and has bared witness to the unimaginable? How do you help a young man, only 21 years of age, struggling to assimilate with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome? This is the situation Julie Rothmeier faced when her son returned from the Iraq War in 2012.
“My son was a first gunner responsible for leading convoys from Kuwait to Iraq where they would tear down camps and bring everything back to Kuwait,” explained Julie. “When he came home with PTSS, we did not know how to help him. We had never been to war. I didn’t know what to say, what to do, or where to turn.”
In Julie’s search to help her son, she learned about PTSS and its lingering effects on veterans and their families. PTSS last months or years and can cause intense physical and emotional reactions when triggers of painful memories and traumatic experiences occur. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSS afflicts 20% of Iraqi War veterans.
“If you aren’t familiar with war, it’s not easy to identify what could be a potential trigger,” said Julie. “One veteran experienced a trigger when visiting Mall of America. There was a lone package resting against a wall which no one seemed to notice. To this veteran that package was very distressing because he had experienced bombs disguised as packages in the war.”
Since her son’s return from Iraq almost seven years ago, Julie continues to focus on helping veterans. On March 2nd, the second annual Rotary March for Veterans Celebration will be held at the AAD Shriners Building in Hermantown, Minnesota. Julie, an active member of the Rotary Club of Cloquet for over eighteen years, introduced the idea of the annual benefit two years ago to her fellow Rotarians. Last year the benefit raised $15,000 for the local Department of Veterans Affairs, the local V.F.W and 23rd Veteran. The 23rd Veteran uses an innovative program to assist veterans in their transition from military to civilian life. This event was attended by 300 people.
“The goal of the Rotary March for Veterans is to recognize and celebrate veterans, educate our community about PTSS, and raise money for different organizations focused on helping our veterans,” explained Julie. “This year we are focusing on our local Honor Guard and our local DAV.”
Guest speakers at this year’s event include Command Sergeant Major John S. Werner, a heavily decorated 40-year veteran, and John Marshall, Captain of Duluth Honor Guard, a purple heart recipient who was severely wounded in the Persian Gulf War. Since serving, both are dedicated to the ongoing support of veterans. Guests will also be entertained by Letters From Home, a talented group of performers dedicated to reviving patriotism through music.
“Everything about this event is for our veterans,” said Julie. “It’s going to be a great night of celebration and fun! We’ve also arranged for our local VFW to get any surplus food that we may have from the event.”
To learn more about this year’s Rotary March for Veterans Celebration including guest speakers, Letters from Home entertainers and more visit https://www.rotarymarchforvets.org/
To learn more about 23rd Veteran, visit https://www.23rdveteran.org.
To learn more about Julie Rothmeier and her firm Strategic Wealth Partners, visit http://www.swpcloquet.com/.