In Memory of Matt McCulley
Matt McCulley was a 35 year old husband and father of 3 beautiful girls. He was a special and unique son, brother, and friend to many.
As an avid triathlete, runner and coach, Matt had a vision to develop a triathlon in his favorite vacation town, which would benefit two very special organizations: The Semper Fi Fund and Sea Isle City’s VFW Post 1963.
Matt, who spent every summer in Sea Isle City as a youth, came up with the idea of developing this triathlon after reading a New York Times article on the horrific injuries suffered by service people returning from Iraq.
The article affected Matt greatly.
So the idea was born.....
Matt McCulley always loved spending time down Sea Isle City. In 2007 he came up with an idea of how to spend some real quality time there…
Swim in the ocean, bike in the streets and run on the beach.
In either a triathlon (400-meter swim, 8.3-mile bike ride through the streets and 5K run along the promenade) or a duathlon (same as above except that a two-mile run that replaces the ocean swim), over 500 athletes converge on the island of Sea Isle City, the Saturday morning of every Memorial Day weekend, and all for a good cause.
“I never served my country,” said McCulley, a 1996 Fordham University graduate who competed in triathlons for some time, “but my father and grandfather did. My grandfather was at the Battle of the Bulge and earned a purple heart for his bravery. I just thought this would be a great way to give back, since I never served.”
When asked why he wanted to donate his time, energy and support, he simply responded, “I have only one goal: to give something back to the veterans who have fought in our previous battles and those who fight in today’s wars."
In Matt's efforts to give back to those who fight to protect our freedom, TRI For Our Veterans was created. This is a non-profit event, in which all proceeds go to The Semper Fi Fund and VFW Post 1963. To date, TRI For Our Veterans has raised close to $200,000 for our service men and women.
Sadly, on January 12, 2010, Matt suddenly passed away. He touched so many lives, in such a short time, and it is his family’s wish to keep his legacy alive. Matt will be greatly missed, but his spirit will live on through this event.
Matt McCulley’s sister, Bridgette Summa, has taken over as race director for TRI For Our Veterans.
His mom (pictured above) Sherree McCulley (a.k.a. “Iron Granny”) continues to race and compete in Matt’s honor.
Many of Matt’s family, friends, and fellow triathletes dedicate their races to Matt’s memory by proudly wearing his initials, MBM, on their calves.
Matt is missed more and more each day, but his vision is kept alive through TRI For Our Veterans.
The Semper Fi Fund (SFF)
The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit set up to provide immediate financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. We direct urgently needed resources to post 9-11 service members within 24–72 hours of request.
The Semper Fi Fund (SFF) provides relief for financial needs that arise during hospitalization and recovery as well as assistance for those with perpetuating needs. Our program provides support in a variety of ways including: Service Member and Family Support, Specialized & Adaptive Equipment, Adaptive Housing, Adaptive Transportation, Education and Career Transition Assistance, PTSD and TBI Support and Team Semper Fi.
Our streamlined structure keeps overhead very low – at 5% – because we realize every dollar saved can be put to better use elsewhere. The American Institute of Philanthropy has given us an "A+" rating and Charity Navigator has given us their "Four Star" rating, the highest rating for each organization.
The basic ideal that drives our efforts is simple: as much as these American heroes have sacrificed, they deserve the best care and support available in their hour of need. Injuries are often severe, and the road to recovery or rehabilitation can be long and costly.
Beyond the staggering costs of hospitalization and treatment, related expenses typically pile up quickly. Family members may lose income when taking time off work to visit and care for injured loved ones. Childcare, plane fare and other travel expenses often stretch a family's budget to the breaking point.
Many of those we work with must have their homes modified, or even move into a new home designed to accommodate a serious disability; adaptive transportation is needed. The list goes on and on, and so do the bills. That's where we come in.
Since establishing this fund in 2004, we've issued more than 44,000 grants totaling more than $65 million to over 8,000 of our heroes and their families. Clearly, the program is working. But our challenges are actually increasing, especially due to the level of severe trauma sustained in areas like Afghanistan and Iraq.
Tax-deductible contributions from people like you make up our lifeblood. Whether your donation is large or small, a one-time gift or ongoing endowment, you have the power to make a real difference, here and now; no matter where in the world you live.
Click here to donate. Help us help those who have given so much in the name of freedom.
Team Semper Fi (TSF)
About Team Semper Fi
Recovery Through Sport
Made up of more than 375 service members who qualify for assistance through the Semper Fi Fund, Team Semper Fi (TSF) is the heart and inspiration of the Semper Fi Fund's (SFF) rehabilitative Athletic Program, and is an extension of the assistance they provide.
The idea for Team Semper Fi was inspired by those wounded Marines and Sailors who refused to let their challenges prevent them from competing in athletic events, and whose drive and determination was inspirational to us all.
The team is made up of servicemen and women who have overcome significant challenges in their service to our country, and have embraced the fighting, athletic spirit on their road to recovery. They are an inspiration to us all but, more importantly, they are an inspiration to their fellow service members who are also traveling down the road to recovery.
The Semper Fi Fund provides our team with coaches, specialized sporting equipment, entry fees, and travel expenses to athletic events.
Team members are also given the opportunity to receive high-level training from former and current Olympic and Paralympic athletes through a partnership with U.S. Paralympics.
Team Semper Fi is a sports team that is comprised of Marines injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. The core members have amputations and are severely injured due to combat. The team competes in Triathlons, Marathons, Adventure Races, Bike Races, and many more.
If you support our Marines, especially severely injured, and like to compete in sports, this group/team is the place to be. The team raises awareness and money for other injured Marines in the hospital and their families through the Semper Fi Fund.
Visit http://www.semperfifund.comand keep up to date. Lets take care of the ones who protect our country!
Get to know these amazing athletes and follow their accomplishments on Facebook.