Uwe Reinhardt, the noted healthcare economist, spoke at this year’s Veteran’s Day service at Princeton University Chapel, hosted by the Princeton ROTC. At the end of his speech, he accepted, on behalf of the Wounded Warrior Project, a $1 million check from Linda Munson, president of the Forrestal Village-based Charles Evans Foundation, to honor the founder of the fashion house Evans-Picone.
Munson, a client of the MSM Group at Merrill Lynch, had been looking for a way to honor and help veterans. “As a trustee and president of the foundation, she asked us to find an organization that helped veterans and would benefit from a major gift,” says Matt McCarville, an alum of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Class of 1981. His pre-retirement assignment was as commander of Princeton University’s ROTC unit, and now he works with two other West Pointers (Tim McDonald and Mike Stewart) in the MSM Group.
The Wounded Warrior Project, headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida , helps severely injured soldiers make a transition to civilian life, doing everything from providing personal items to hospitalized soldiers overseas, to pushing through legislation that eliminates red tape on $100,000 payments to traumatically injured soldiers. The Evans Foundation gift will provide scholarships for a 12-month training and rehabilitation program in Jacksonville, Florida. Wounded soldiers will get physical rehabilitation in a state-of-the-art facility plus earn 12 credit hours at Florida Community College and work in paid internships.
Charles Evans, who died in 2007, founded Evan-Picone, the fashion house, and a commercial real estate firm, the Evans Partnership, but he is also known as the producer of the Oscar-winning movie “Tootsie.”
Having lost his former wife, Frances, and their two daughters in a 1975 fire caused by ashes from a fireplace, he funded the Crusade for Fire Detection, lobbying for mandatory fire detectors. In memory of his father, he was a major donor to Alzheimer’s research.
The founder of the Wounded Warrior Project was a former lieutenant in the U.S. Army who was determined to reenter the Army to serve in Desert Storm. In 1992 he was training on an aircraft carrier, on a mission in Somalia, when he was severely burned. Like most trauma casualties, he was sent to Landstuhl, Germany, where his only object of clothing was a hospital gown.
The signature program of the Wounded Warrior Project,” says McCarville, is providing backpacks for wounded soldiers. “He bought the backpacks and filled them with sweats, CDs, and candy, for the first wounded soldiers from Afghanistan.” Now the program has expanded to nearly a dozen different initiatives.
McCarville had served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, where he was in the Special Operations Command, and as a lieutenant colonel he directed Princeton’s ROTC program from 1998 to 2004. When he retired and went to work for Merrill Lynch, he joined two other West Pointers in the MSM Group – and then had the opportunity to look for a worthy charity that helped soldiers. Says McCarville: “I’m feeling really good about coming full circle.”