Art by Ed Steckley
Last weekend I was privileged to attend the first annual Wyakin Warriors Guardians Ball in lovely Boise, ID. The evening was sold out, and a great success. It’s always fun to get together with other cartoonists, and in support of such a great cause made it even more enjoyable.
The Wyakin Warriors Foundation is an organization dedicated to providing support to wounded warriors through college education, placement, mentorships and other programs. They provide these brave veterans:
- A full, four-year scholarship (including room, board, books, tutoring, and living expenses).
- A custom, one-on-one, multi-layered mentoring program by the nation’s top leaders in business, industry and government service.¬¨‚Ä† Mentorship continues for a full year after graduation.
- Monthly professional development seminars by business leaders, public officials and employment experts.
- Lifetime membership in a fraternal organization (the Wyakin Warrior Foundation).
- A service project, completed while in school, to benefit other wounded warriors.
- Robust networking to assist them in securing gainful employment after graduation – not just get a job, but get a good job with upward mobility.
There are many programs and resources that will pay for a military veteran’s college education, but in the case of a wounded warrior, so much more is needed. They have challenges related to their injuries and experiences that exceed those of your average military retiree. I was shocked when Idaho lieutenant governor Brad Little told me that only 12% of injured war veterans are successfully completing their post-military college educations. 12%! Just paying for college, while that is a great thing to do, isn’t enough. These veterans sacrificed things like their eyesight, limbs, mobility and more in service to our country. They need to be given all the support they need and deserve in order to be given a chance at a normal civilian life.
The Wyakin Warriors program goes far beyond just paying for college. Their mentoring and fraternal support programs keep these heroes on task and focused on their goals while they struggle with their other challenges. The networking and other educational and professional resources open doors for them after they complete their educations. The continuing personal and moral support of being a part of the WW fraternity gives them a lifetime of shoulders to lean on and sources of advice, guidance, and encouragement. This is a very unique, trailblazing program, and hopefully will become a template for others to provide similar support for our injured veterans.
The Wyakin Warriors was founded by retired naval captain Jeff Bacon, a fellow cartoonist who does the comic strips Broadside and Greenside, spearheaded our NCS USO tours, and is a great humanitarian. Our cartooning community is supporting his worthwhile efforts in every way we can.
How can you help? Right now their is an online auction going to raise money for the Wyakin Warriors, which features original artwork from the likes of Ray Alma (MAD Magazine), Jeff Bacon (Broadside/Greenside), Chad Carpenter (Tundra), Todd Clark (Lola), Dave Coverly (Speed Bump), Bruce Higdon (Punderstatements), Jeff Keane (The Family Circus), Rick Kirkman (Baby Blues), T Lewis (Over the Hedge), Mason Mastroianni (B.C.), Steve Moore (In the Bleachers), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Mike Peters (Mother Goose and Grimm/Pulitzer Prize winner), Michael Ramirez (Investor’s Business Daily/Pulitzer Prize winner) and Ed Steckley (MAD Magazine). Some include writing the winning bidder’s name into a published strip, after which they also get the original!
My contribution to the cause is the original art of page 6 from MAD #495’s parody of The Dark Knight, “The Dork Knight”:
The text is pasted up using archival paper and adhesive, so it’s a readable piece of MAD artwork, ink on bristol, approx 16 3/4 x 22 inches.
The auction ENDS TODAY, (Thursday Dec. 6th) at midnight Pacific Standard Time. If you want to bid on this original from MAD, click here, or check out the other auction items here. You can also just donate to the WW Foundation as a sponsor. Many of these pieces are going for a lot less than they are worth, so if you ever wanted a piece of published comic art, now’s your chance to get one and help a very worthy cause in the process.
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