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Posted: 08/06/14

Romeo Engine supports
Wounded Warriors

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer

      The Romeo Engine Plant built the 5.8L motor powering a special Ford Mustang honoring veterans, but it's also a driving force behind raising funds for those veterans.
       The engine plant's United Auto Workers Local 400 is teaming up with the Sterling Axle Local 228 and Van Dyke Transmission Plant Local 2280 to present the Fifth Annual High Five Tour to support the Wounded Warriors Family Support organization.
       The event will be held 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Dodge Park on Utica Road in Sterling Heights.
       Jeff Shields, UAW Local 400 job security/job safety representative, said the engine plant wanted to support an organization that helps veterans, but also do so in a way that involves the community.
       "A lot of us are veterans, some of us have active sons and daughters in military today, so it's something a lot of people have a commonality with," he said.
       This manifested in supporting the Wounded Warriors Family Support organization, which provides a multitude of services to veterans that have been discharged with injuries or other disabilities.
       "It seemed like a pretty good concept," Shields said. "They pick up where the government leaves off and extend a helping hand to families in order to keep families together."
       Last year's High Five Tour event was the first to be supported by the Local 400 and was held at the Romeo Ford Engine Plant, located on 32 Mile Road east of M-53. Shields said the venue shifted to Dodge Park this year due to the other local UAWs supporting it, providing a more central location for people from each community to enjoy it.
       "We're very pleased, it's the second year and we've had a lot of repeat sponsors and a lot of new sponsors coming on board after hearing what we did last year," he said.
       The tour is a nationwide road trip featuring a 2014 Mustang GT500 painted with the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag. At every stop, people are encouraged to sign the vehicle, whether they're a veteran, a relative or friend of a veteran or just a supporter.
       The event will also feature a car show, music, food and activities for kids. All proceeds from the event will go to the Wounded Warriors Family Support organization.
       According to a letter from retired Col. John Folsom, founder and president of the Wounded Warriors, the program has pledged $1,000,000 toward building two "smart homes" for two veterans: Staff Sgt. Jason Ross of the Marines; and Capt. Anthony Simone of the Air Force and their families in San Diego, California and Joliet, Illinois, respectively. Ross lost both of his legs above the knees, while Simone suffers from a brain injury.
       The houses, which cost around $500,000, are specially made to accommodate wheelchairs and other disabilities with computer-oriented technology to control heating and cooling, blinds and even cabinetry that descends to a wheelchair-accessible height.
       "Every donation, large or small, is deeply appreciated and helps us meet our goal of making these `smart homes' more than just a set of blueprints," Folsom said.
       The Wounded Warriors also supports veterans by giving families all-expense paid trips. Caregivers are offered to families as well, giving spouses or relatives some relief from taking care of their disabled veterans.
       The High Five Tour is free to attend, but donations are encouraged. Registration for the car show is $15. For more information, visit woundedwarriorsfamilysupport.org or www.repwwfs.com.


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Retrieved 10/31/2014 at 2:33:19 PM.
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