Six Flags Magic Mountain officials partnered with the nonprofit organization Operation Homefront Thursday to honor five wounded military service members, their caregivers and their families.
In honor of Salute to Heroes Day, park officials presented Operation Homefront with a check for $5,000, and each service member received Gold Season Passes good for entry to any Six Flags park for the entire family, as well as a VIP tour of Magic Mountain.
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“We brought them out here to say thank you on this Fourth of July weekend,” said Jack Chirrick, retired Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer and executive director of the California branch of Operation Homefront. “What Six Flags has done for these families is really given them the opportunity to just relax and not have to worry about the finances of it or anything else, which is a tremendous burden… This gives them the opportunity not only today, but the whole year through.”
The event is part of Operation Homefront’s Heart of Valor program, which provides services to military caregivers, Chirrick said.
Honored military service members and their families include Marine Corps Lance Corporal Clayton Freeman, his wife, Robin, and their two children; Navy Petty Officer Second Class Angelo Leonardo, his wife, Jessica, and their three children; Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Gareth Ray, his wife, Jessica, and their three children; Marine Corps Master Sergeant Jack Canaday, his wife, Gina, and their son; and Army Sergeant Bradley Chidester, his wife, Chante, and their four children.
“Primarily the focus has been on the care providers, which is usually the spouse,” he said. “A lot of the [wounded service members] are 100 percent disabled… Their spouses are really committed to them, not only as their spouse, but as their primary care provider. Through Heart of Valor, we provide retreats and other things to take care of their family and help them do that better. It’s a really great, supportive network so that they know that we’re behind them.”
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Operation Homefront was created shortly after 9/11 to provide financial and other assistance to wounded warriors and the families of military service members.
“It’s always been family-focused,” Chirrick said. “As we have the service members deploying, we thought the best way to take care of those military service members was to take care of their families back home. So if they ran into issues like needing car repairs, they couldn’t make rent or anything like that, we took care of them. That allows the service member to focus on the hard jobs they’re doing overseas to defend all of us.”
For more information about Operation Homefront, click here.
Source: Santa Clarita News