Interviews

Home Depot co-founder on his $38M donation to help veterans

The donation will help create a brain health institute for veterans

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 12, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, "YOUR WORLD" HOST: In a day and an age where you almost hear nothing good about CEOs or corporate America, enter Bernie Marcus and his foundation announcing a $38 million gift to create a Marcus Institute for Brain Health to help our vets.

The co-founder of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, with us now.

Bernie, what a nice gesture. What got you to do this?

BERNIE MARCUS, CO-FOUNDER, HOME DEPOT: Well, Neil, I have been involved with trying to help these kids. And I'm talking about post-9/11, the kids that have come back from the war.

These are all volunteers. And I'm going to give you the bottom line. The bottom line is that, in the United States today, between 20 to 22 kids a day commit suicide. That ought to tell you something.

CAVUTO: Right.

MARCUS: That the system is not working.

Traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, from depression, addiction, all the things that have happened, and it's a number, that it's a shame of our country that this has happened. We started with this about 10 years ago with Operation SHARE in Atlanta.

And we have taken care of, I don't know, 600 young men and women, and we have been able to take them and move them back into society. They have come to us in pain, not sleeping at night, not dealing well with their families.

And when they finish, they're able to go back into society. And it's always been a wonder, how can we not do this around the country, because I knew that it had to be private institutions that would do it.

Well, there are some that are doing it. We have something like UCLA with the help of the Katz Foundation in California. We have Rush in Chicago. We have Massachusetts General that is doing it. And we have Emory University in Atlanta. That's a very small part of it. But they're all working independently.

The meaning of this organization here is to set one up that will be the best of the best, but will share all information, bring everybody into a network where they will all remain independent, but share the data and try to find the best way to treat these young people.

They don't deserve what they're getting, Neil. And they're getting the short shrift.

CAVUTO: And they don't deserve the way they're being treated by the VA, right? The VA tries to deal with these issues. I don't dismiss their good intentions.

But even getting a handle on these suicides a day that you report, they just can't. Why?

MARCUS: Well, the bottom line is, they're not able to do it. There are just too many of them. It's in the hundreds of thousands.

We're not talking about 50, 60 people. And, in many cases, they're misdiagnosed, their traumatic brain injury or their post-traumatic stress. There are many of them that don't come forward. In addition to that, there are a couple hundred thousand that have been mustered out of the military with dishonorable discharges. And many of those people had post-traumatic stress.

And that actually has an effect on their behavior. And that may be one reason why they got dishonorable discharge. This is for all of those kids, every single one of them.

And we have Jim Kelly here in Colorado at this place. And he's going to be the one factor that is going to try to bring everybody together individually. And we're hoping to have 10 to 15 hospitals in the United States that will be taking care of these kids.

We will find the best for pain. If there's a place that does pain better, we will send them there. UCLA does a wonderful job on plastic surgery on these kids. These kids, if they come to Chicago, we will send them to UCLA.

And, by the way, every one of these organizations has an establishment so that they can bring their families with them, which is very, very important.

The Fisher Foundation is helping a lot in this, the Angel Foundation. I can't give you how many. And Wounded Warriors has done a wonderful job in this area.

So, there are so many. What we're trying to do is leverage everybody together. We're all on the same page. We're all trying to do the same thing.

And Mark Arusic (ph), who works with me, who is a military guy that is on -- that is on -- just got out of Afghanistan six months ago, is trying to put this group together.

And if we could bring them together, I think that we can have an impact in the United States.

CAVUTO: Good for you.

MARCUS: And, hopefully, we will demonstrate -- yes.

Hopefully, we will demonstrate to the United States government that this is the way to go.

CAVUTO: All right.

MARCUS: That, if the Veterans Administration can't handle it, let private institutions handle it.

CAVUTO: All right, you have done a lot of good here. Thank you, Bernie, very much. Very encouraging. Very hopeful. We wish you the best.

MARCUS: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Bernie Marcus, the Home Depot co-founder, and, again, his latest initiative here to help our vets -- not a bad cause, not a bad cause at all.

END

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