Green Beret Foundation
As executive director of the Green Beret Foundation, a wife of a combat injured Green Beret and mother of an active duty soldier, Fran Wesseling is one of the most inspirational people I have ever encountered. This retired mother of a severely combat injured Special Forces Green Beret has turned their family’s tragedy into a significant means to support hundreds of other injured Green Berets, their families and families of the fallen in an unprecedented fashion.
Fran’s leadership has built one of the most successful fund raising events for the Green Beret Foundation in Cincinnati where there is no strong Army or military presence. She has enlisted the support of business sponsors and volunteers to fund and work an annual event that draws 1000 participants. Listening to Fran explain how she as a mother made a promise to her now, totally disabled son, that she would never let people forget the sacrifice he and other combat injured soldiers made and make for their country and its people’s freedom. She has been regarded by many as a true American patriot. In addition to helping our organization she established and president of another nonprofit called Project Rise Above to help veterans participating in the Warren County Veterans Rehabilitation program. He commitment to Veteran causes and charities exceeds what most family members are capable of doing when dealing with life altering injuries sustained by her son. Fran’s leadership and inspirational skills facilitated the development of the Cincinnati Green Beret Classic which has annually raised over $150,000 in donations each year for the Green Beret Foundation. Her inspiration has been documented in articles and news videos that share her family’s heart felt tragedy and how she and her husband, Jim, turned it into something to benefit others. She has vowed to carry on her son’s service to our nation in all that she does to bring awareness of the service Green Berets provide our nation, and what the Green Beret Foundation does to support them in a time of great need.
Knowing Fran as I do, she is driven by her spiritual purpose to spend the rest of her life never letting people forget the sacrifice our military make for our Nation.
For the Green Beret Foundation, Fran has been a beckon of hope for hundreds of Green Berets and their families? The money raised through the annual Cincinnati event has helped cover the cost of family member immediate travels needs to see their combat injured spouse or son. The funds have paid for dozens of medical and therapeutic treatments for injured Green Berets not covered by military insurance or the VA. The funds have helped spouses and families funeral costs and travel not covered by the military or VA.
Being a wife of combat injured Green Beret and parent to an active duty Army soldier, I am profound by what Fran has been able to do to overcome her own grieve of seeing her son go from a healthy and strong, West Point graduate, Special Forces Green Beret Major to someone who is totally dependent on his wife and others for his everyday needs. Her faith and belief that this has a purpose has her committed to do what she knows her son and his beautiful wife, Bianca, would do if they could for their Special Forces Green Beret Community.
The Green Beret Foundation operates with a small overhead so that 86% of dollars raised on our behalf goes directly to the Green Beret Community we support. As the conflicts worldwide increase so does the need for Green Berets to be in the for front and sustaining the highest causality rate of any Special Operations Forces. The need for immediate assistance continues to be great and the award of $50,000 will support dozens of injured Green Berets and help cover the cost of their immediate family members to travel to them while they recover from combat sustained injuries.
Fran’s 35 years of business experience included her being a nurse and working on the business side of health care and advocating for people with developmental disabilities. In her last position she was the executive director of an organization that supported the housing needs of people with developmental disabilities. Fran has been an advocate of the medically ill , people with disabilities and America’s military. Her passion to give to others has been her lifelong ambition that has inspired her family and many, many others.