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Veteran organizes fundraiser to help Afghan Veteran

The man that helped raise funds for VAdm. Mark Norman, with a GoFundMe Campaign, is now helping another Veteran military personnel in need.

Colonel (ret’d) Lee Hammond, fell into fundraising by accident when he raised over $400,000 for Norman’s legal fees.

“I was talking online with some buddies, and someone stated that someone should do something to raise some funds. I suggested GoFundMe, and my friends thought that was a good idea,” said Col (ret’d) Hammond. “As we come to the conclusion of the VAdm Norman campaign, we were contacted by many worthy causes.”

During this process, Hammond aware of MCpl (ret’d) Fitzgerald, a former military member who was awarded the Medal of Military Valour for his bravery in Afghanistan, who now has over $200,000 in legal fees after returning from combat and struggling with PTSD.

“Over 4000 Canadians supported VAdm Norman. I know there are lots of good people out there. We just need to get the word out. Even a $20 donation helps. All we are asking for is whatever people can afford,” Colonel (ret’d) Lee Hammond

 

After his return from Afghanistan, Mcpl Fitzgerald had encounters with the Canadian Justice system.

“The stress he was under is quite frankly off the charts. While these charges were eventually dropped, at the end of it, he has no access to funds to pay his legal fees. He is in debt, for the rest of his life, with no prospect of ever paying it off,” said Hammond.

Currently, Fitzgerald is living on his medical pension, unable to work. He likes to focus his energy on the positive, including his daughter, Peyton, volunteering with at-risk youth, and his fellow veterans.

He says he’s grateful for the support he has received from Hammond, VETS Canada, and Veterans Affairs Canada.

“Receiving support from Colonel (ret’d) Hammond has given me hope and a chance at reaching financial recovery that I have never had,” says Fitzgerald.

The goal of Hammond’s GoFundMe campaign is to raise enough funds to pay off all of Fitzgerald’s legal fees as quickly as possible.

“Over 4000 Canadians supported VAdm Norman. I know there are lots of good people out there. We just need to get the word out. Even a $20 donation helps. All we are asking for is whatever people can afford,” said Hammond.

Collin owes funds to both his lawyers and the family of his greatest supporter, Kerri Tadeu.

Hammond said the funds raised during the GoFundMe campaign will be managed by his lawyers, Duvernet, Stewart and will only be used to pay for Fitzgerald’s legal debt.

“During my career, I was committed to never leaving a soldier behind, and I don’t plan to leave MCpl Fitzgerald behind either,” says Hammond.

For more information or to help Fitzgerald go here to visit the GoFund Me web page.

 

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Paige LeClair

As a recent graduate from the St. Thomas University Journalism program, Paige has a passion for storytelling and investigative journalism. In 2016, she, along with her journalism team were awarded first place at the Emerge Media Awards in the multimedia category. The team was also a finalist at the Canadian Association of Journalist Awards. She is excited to work with other military spouses providing stories and information to the military community. Paige is newly married to Andrew, a Lineman, and moved to their first posting in Petawawa in May of this year. She is excited to begin this journey with Andrew, their dog Diablo, and cat, Linux

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