WASHINGTON –Retired TV host Bob Barker trained to be a Navy pilot during World War II, but Japan surrendered while he was awaiting orders to join a sea-going squadron. His time as a young Navy aviator gave him a deep appreciation for wounded veterans.
“To face life with that kind of handicap, I have nothing but sympathy for them,” Barker told Stars and Stripes. “Life’s a pretty tough proposition for all us anyway, and when you face something like that for the rest of your life, I think you deserve and should have all the help that any of us can give you.”
That’s why Barker, who hosted “The Price is Right” from 1972 to 2007, recently gave $2 million to the Semper Fi Fund, a nonprofit group that helps injured and terminally ill servicemembers and their families. Barker said he was impressed with the Semper Fi Fund because only 5 percent of its revenue goes toward administration costs and advertising.
“When I learned that 95 percent of their income was going right straight to the wounded veterans, why then I set about finding out what it is they do,” he said.
Barker’s donation comes at a time when the Semper Fi fund is facing decreasing donations due to the economy and donor fatigue, group president and founder Karen Guenther said in a March 9 news release.
“Bob Barker’s tremendous gift gives us the ability to help more than a thousand wounded and critically ill Marines, sailors, soldiers and their families,” she said. “God bless him for believing in our noble mission to serve those who are prepared to give everything for their country.”