TERRY KEENAN, GUEST HOST: Welcome back.
Well, calling on all CEOs. My next guest has a mission for you. Spend a little less at country club this year and start giving to the ones who put their lives on the line for this country.
Joining us now is John Scherer. He’s better known as the Video Professor (search). You might recognize him from those commercials right here on FOX and elsewhere. He’s doing everything he can to help the Wounded Warrior Project (search), set up by John Melia.
And gentlemen, welcome to both of you.
Okay, John Melia, let me start with you. How did you get the idea for this project?
JOHN MELIA, WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT: Well, I was injured as a Marine in a helicopter crash in ‘92, and I didn’t have anything but the clothes I had on my body when I returned injured from Somalia. And so, I felt these folks would be going through the same thing.
So the Wounded Warrior Project, we developed a backpack in my small town in Virginia. And we go to Wal-Mart and take — take general donations and raised about $5,000 for Wounded Warrior backpacks. As of today, though, we’ve delivered almost 2,700 backpacks to wounded soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.
KEENAN: And John, how did it then start to transform itself into calling on CEOs to participate?
JOHN SCHERER, VIDEOPROFESSOR.COM: I heard about it on the Tony Snow (search) radio show. And I immediately called, because we were already supporting the troops, and giving them our free lessons. And so I immediately called to have my P.R. guy call and find out what was going on and got involved, because it’s a great project.
KEENAN: And what’s been the response so far from CEOs?
SCHERER: Well, we just started. I’ve only been involved for a week and a half, almost two weeks. And we just started. We got calls today. I was on Tony Snow's radio show this morning, and people are starting to step up. I know that once they hear about this, they will.
KEENAN: And I mean, John, given all of the animosity, not just on the campaign trail, but about the situation in Iraq, what kind of response do you expect to get from — from CEOs?
MELIA: Well, I hope they would pony up, because honestly, our security is — is, you know, from the protection of these young men and women who have given so much to protect us, and these CEOs are part of our — our general economy. This is an apolitical mission, and the Wounded Warrior Project is just there to ensure that we serve the wounded warriors.
KEENAN: And you’re looking for donations, right? What sorts of things? Computers? Is that one of the main things?
SCHERER: Well, what we’re doing — The Video Professor, what we’re doing, we’ve donated, of course, the learning lessons.
We’re donating six computers and setting up a lab at — I was just at Walter Reed (search) this morning. And they’re going to have laptops so these soldiers, when they’re recovering, they can sit in their room and e-mail their friends and talk to their family and have some type of communication. That’s not asking too much of these guys. I mean, for these guys. So, we’re doing that.
And I am really here to call on the CEOs. All of the businesses, their doors are open. My company’s doors are open, and we’re safe and free because these guys are over there fighting these terrorists. So, the corporations today need to step up. Before they pay their country club bill, they can do a line item and give money to Wounded Warriors. They need money. They need — they need items.
KEENAN: Yes. John Melia, other than the computers, other things that you would like for these companies to start to donate? Because we all know there’s plenty of waste in corporate America.
MELIA: Well, people come home with just the clothes they have on their bodies a lot of times. And we’re looking for underwear and socks and T-shirts and shaving kits and backpacks and — and CD players and calling cards and those types of things.
Wounded Warrior Project will essentially try to serve all the needs of these soldiers. We help them with transportation costs to bring their families in. We help them with things like computer labs, computer learning centers. And Wounded Warrior Project is looking for anything that would help these guys to — to readjust to civilian life, to get into the new economy, and to get great jobs.
KEENAN: And there we — there we see the address where you can send any donations. I — I assume all donations are welcome. It doesn’t have to be from a corporation?
MELIA: Welcome and tax deductible. Absolutely.
SCHERER: Yes. I called a friend of mine in Denver the other day, trying to figure out how to get a van for these guys, and he’s with auto dealership there.
And he said, "Forget it. They won’t do it," he said.
But we raised some money and within less than 24 hours, they — Rocky Mountain Ford Dealers donated $32,000 to this project, so they can go out and get that van.
SCHERER: It’s that kind of stuff. They can be creative. There’s money sitting out there, that this is a great project for them to donate to.
KEENAN: Every little bit helps.
John Melia, since you are a veteran, you came back from a conflict in Somalia, a different situation in a different time. Emotionally, what kind of reception are these wounded veterans getting?
MELIA: Well, I think they’re getting a lot better reception than they — than they’ve ever gotten before, but there’s still a lot to do. And you know, we can be the first generation to take care of our wounded soldiers and Marines and sailors and airmen and do it right.
You know, we’ve fought a lot of wars in this country, and we have an opportunity right now to get corporate America and create private-public partnerships to insure that we do it right this time.
KEENAN: You know, critics have said that the dead and wounded from — from this war in Iraq haven’t been getting the sort of attention that they deserve, and that the administration might be not highlighting some of these atrocities.
Is that hurting you in terms of raising money for the wounded soldiers, because they’re not getting that much press attention?
SCHERER: I think — as far as I’m concerned it, it shouldn’t. This is going to go on forever. If they’re not in Iraq, they’re going to be somewhere else. This is going to continue. This is a long fight we’ve got ahead of us.
So, I think they’re getting attention. They aren’t getting the support they need. They need the support when they get home.
These guys — these guys are — some of them are reservists. They have their leg blown off. They were a mail carrier before they joined. And what are they going to do now?
SCHERER: They need our help. They need jobs. They need donations. And they aren’t going to ask. These servicemen don’t ask. It’s guys like this that are doing it for them.
KEENAN: And so many of them heads of families, as well.
KEENAN: Thanks. Thanks to you both, John Scherer and John Melia.
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