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A fund created to provide clothing and entertainment to troops wounded downrange will continue to help servicemembers long after contingency operations have ended.

Marine Corps Col. John Folsom, creator of the Wounded Warriors Fund, plans to continue the effort as a scholarship fund for medically discharged servicemembers.

“I think the long-range plan is … to become a scholarship fund for young [servicemembers] injured or wounded that have to leave the service and need to get an education in other skills,” said Folsom, Marine Corps Forces Europe liaison officer for the European Command.

Since it was established at the start of the Iraq war, the fund has brought in more than $25,000 in donations.

The money is used to purchase clothing and provide entertainment for injured troops at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, which has treated more than 12,500 patients injured in Afghanistan and Iraq since November 2001.

“I thought about them and thought that I could do something,” Folsom said.

“I sent an e-mail out and ended up collecting $1,500 that day.”

Folsom said most of the money has come from individual contributors.

A big-screen television purchased for a contingency ward at Landstuhl was the fund’s first major purchase.

The donations have continued to grow, bringing new clothing, phone cards and food coupons to servicemembers at the hospital who were injured downrange.

A Web site, www.woundedwarriors.org, was launched in 2003, and Folsom is applying for tax-exempt status for the fund to become an official nonprofit organization.

As for the immediate future, Folsom said, “My impression is that now the folks at Landstuhl are pretty well set.

“What we’re looking at doing now is trying to get stuff to Afghanistan and Iraq, to see what those folks need.”

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