$2 Million 'Call to Action' for American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial


Generosity of Florida Philanthropist Lois Pope

Spearheads Landmark Fund-raising Effort

DALLAS, Aug. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A $2 million 'call to action' was issued last weekend at the 81st National Convention of Disabled American Veterans in Dallas, TX, spearheaded by Lois Pope, one of America's leading philanthropists.

Mrs. Pope presented the gift that will serve as the springboard for a campaign to fund construction of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Pope's contribution was made in honor of Jesse Brown, former Secretary of Veterans' Affairs and Executive Director of the Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation, Inc., who is himself a disabled veteran.

"I can think of no one more deserving of being honored with this gift than Jesse Brown, whose proud service to our nation and relentless advocacy on behalf of all veterans earned him the distinction of being known as the Secretary FOR Veterans' Affairs," said Mrs. Pope, founder of the Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation. "It is my most fervent hope that all Americans will join me and pledge to remember those brave veterans like Jesse who gave so much when they answered our country's call."

Upon learning of Mrs. Pope's gift, which will provide seed funding for the memorial, the Honorable Jesse Brown responded, "America has a solemn obligation to assure the men and women who have served and sacrificed will never be forgotten or neglected. The sight of this memorial will be a constant reminder to us all that disabled veterans have paid the cost of freedom and borne the deepest wounds and scars of war."

The Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation was created to commemorate the sacrifice and dedication of all disabled veterans and to ensure that they are always remembered. The bill establishing the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which will be located near the U.S. Capitol at Independence Avenue and Second Street, S.W., has been passed by Congress and unanimously approved by the National Capital Memorial Commission.

Mrs. Pope was first confronted by the disabilities of veterans when, while performing on Broadway in the 1960s, she agreed to sing at a benefit at a New York medical school. The sight of quadriplegics, amputees and other disabled veterans as she sang 'Somewhere' from the musical "West Side Story," left a powerful impression. After finding her cousin's name etched in the black granite of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, Mrs. Pope contacted Mr. Arthur Wilson, National Adjutant of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization, and the Honorable Jesse Brown, then Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Affairs. The DAV and Mrs. Pope then formed the Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation to honor the millions of veterans -- more than 2,300,000 of whom are living today -- who became disabled while defending our American freedom.

"Throughout our nation's history, we have erected monuments to our heroes. Mrs. Pope's vision, commitment and support are helping to ensure that the dream of a memorial dedicated to America's disabled veterans will become a reality," said Art Wilson, National Adjutant of the DAV and President of the Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation.

Mrs. Pope is also the founder of the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and Leaders in Furthering Education (LIFE). These two charitable organizations are devoted to saving lives, helping people help themselves, improving the quality of life for families in need and encouraging young Americans to become leaders by helping others. They provide awards for medical research, scholarships, summer camp programs and much more.

The Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation, Inc., is organized in accordance with the IRS section 501(c)(3), thus all contributions are tax deductible. $60 million must be raised and completion is planned in 2005. For more information please visit http://www.disabledveteransmemorial.org .