I thought you’d be interested in “Private Donations and National Defense” featuring Spirit of America. The author, Karl Zinsmeister, calls Spirit of America “an unusual and highly effective charity [that] has become a favorite partner of our Special Forces and other military operators during their deployments in hot spots.”
Members of our field team and I spent 10 days with Karl last fall visiting Spirit of America projects in Iraqi Kurdistan, Serbia, and the Republic of Georgia. For this story, Karl profiled one of our projects in Vranje, Serbia, where we worked with the US embassy in Belgrade to demonstrate American friendship and improve US-Serbia relations.
US soldiers worked alongside Serbian soldiers and young Serbian men to renovate a kickboxing gym that is a great source of pride to the town. Spirit of America provided all the materials for the renovation and new gear for the gym. We gave photos to each kickboxer of them standing between an American soldier and a Serbian soldier. On their own, the Serbian kickboxers posted the photos to Facebook. Here is one. I love the “U.S. Army” with a strong arm and heart. It’s an authentic answer to Russia’s anti-US propaganda. The project was also covered by local television.
A year after the renovation, back at the gym with Karl and the kickboxers, I asked how many Americans had helped in the town before. They said, “You are the first.” And, I asked what they thought when they heard that Americans were going to help them with their gym. They said, “We thought it was Candid Camera.” In other words, they thought it was a joke. Now, they will never forget it.
This project is an example of how Spirit of America helps people in some of the world’s toughest places experience the best of who Americans are and what we stand for.
All the best,
Chief Executive Officer