2008 Grant Recipients



Freedom Fund Recipient
Attleboro, MA

Sergeant Heath Hobson of the Massachusetts National Guard was injured while on duty in Iraq.  Sergeant Hobson while deployed was injured due to an IED explosion.  He was hit in the leg with a piece of shrapnel causing major leg damage. SGT Hobson’s leg was so severely damaged, the doctors had to place a metal rod and pin in his leg, which caused him to become wheelchair dependent. 

SGT Hobson, his wife Jodi and their year-old son Michael are still facing this everyday battle…they now must adjust to a new and extremely challenging lifestyle, which has taken an enormous toll on their family both emotionally and financially.  They still must travel back and forth to Walter Reed on a regular basis for treatment.

SGT Hobson & his Wife, Jodi accepted a $7,500.00 grant at the Diamonds & Denim Gala.   The grant is to help them with medical and living expenses.

Freedom Fund Recipient

Staff Sargent John Salonich served with the Massachusetts National Guard, and was stationed at Guantanamo Bay Cuba during 2003-2004.  While there, he contracted a very rare form of viral encephalitis, which was treated very aggressively.  Unfortunately, John suffered some long term brain and memory damage due to his illness and now is no longer able to return to his job and support his family as he once did. 

Today John resides at the West Roxbury VA, where he is unable to care for himself or his family.  His wife Lisa and their three children, Andrew age 10, Collin 9 and Emily age 7 have had to move out of their family home into a smaller home to meet their expenses.  Staff Sargent Salonich was not able to travel. A grant for $7,500 was given to his wife, Lisa.  This grant is to help them with their living expenses.

Freedom Fund Recipient

Staff Sergeant Mark Coleman 

Sgt. Coleman was a very high functioning soldier prior to his deployment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Since that time, Sgt. Coleman has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder along with a degenerative brain disorder known as FTD, a rare and devastating terminal disease.  He has a life expectancy of 3-5 years.  He lacks the ability to process emotions, make decisions and follow through on his activities of daily living.  He is no longer able to live at home with his wife Martha and their three children, Joshua, age 16, Evan 15 and Garth 9.  Sgt. Coleman is currently assigned to West Point and is waiting for a medical board to place him in a long term facility.

During this emotional time the family has endured the struggles of just trying to keep up with everyday living expenses, along with the hardship of missing their husband and dad.  Martha Coleman has to cut back her work hours in order to care of her children.  This family needs our help and that’s why we’re all here tonight. 

That evening Martha along with her three children was presented with a grant for $10,000.  This grant is to help them with everyday living expenses. 

Freedom Fund Recipient


A $6,000 Grant was issued to Suds.  Suds is “Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba”.   This grant allowed Suds Diving, Inc. to give out three Scholarships for soldiers who come home from the war on terrorism as amputees.  Suds at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are designed to help improve the lives of injured soldiers returning from Iraq & Afghanistan.  By training the soldiers in a challenging and rewarding activity it helps facilitate the rehabilitation process and promote mobility.

Freedom Fund Recipient

Corporal Cesar Sandoval
U. S. Marines
Randolph, MA

Major Brandon Conway, also accepted a grant on behalf of Major Cesar Sandoval, his wife, Miriam and their newborn twin children.  Due to complicated pregnancy and  Major Conway being deployed, Miriam a nurse was unable to work.  They incurred medical and traveling expenses both for Miriam and their newborn twins.  A grant of $7,500 was given to the Sandoval family to help them with unpaid medical bills and traveling expenses.

Patricia Wickham
Brooklyn, NY

On March 14, 2008, a grant in the amount of $2,000 was issued to Patricia.  Patricia was suffering from stage IV Breast cancer and was unable to work therefore not collecting any income.  The grant was to help her with living and medical expenses.

Consolado Suero
Manchester, NH

On March 14, 2008, a grant in the amount of $2,000 was issued to Consolado.  Consolado is a single mom of three boys suffering from cancer of the intestine.  The grant was to help her with living expenses while undergoing treatment for her cancer.

Freedom Fund Recipient

Lance Corporal Alexander Briere
U. S. Marines
Marshfield, MA

Major Brandon Conway, accepted a grant on behalf of Lance Corporal Briere, his wife and 5 children.  Prior to Corporal Briere’s deployment to Iraq the family home was destroyed by a fire.  They lost everything.  A Grant of $7,500 was given to the Briere Family


Peggy Vecchione
Plymouth, MA

In September of 2008, Peggy was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and unable to continue to work.  “Friends of Peggy Vecchione” in conjunction with The Weber Foundation held a Fundraiser for Peggy.  The Fundraiser was held in November of 2008 at a Local restaurant where $20,000 was raised to help Peggy with her medical/living expenses. This grant also helped Peggy to not have to worry about money during this very difficult time.  Peggy passed away on March 10, 2009.

Anita Palumbo
Wakefield, MA

A grant in the amount of $9,000 was issued to Anita.  Anita suffered from terminal uterine cancer.  She was unable to continue to work and this grant helped her with 6 months of living expenses and uncovered medical expenses.  Anita passed away in July.

Justina J. Colon
Napanoch, NY

On March 14, 2008, a grant in the amount of $2,000 was issued to Justina.  Justina is a 33 year old single mom of an 8 year old daughter suffering from metastic stage IV breast cancer.  This grant was to help her with living and medical expenses while undergoing treatment for cancer.

Cathy & Joe Stanley
Milton, NH

A grant in the amount of $333.00 was given to the Cathy & Joe.  The Stanley had a house fire. 

Tony & Rose Orlandella
Braintree, MA

A grant in the amount of $5000.00 was given to Tony & Rose.  They had a house fire.