Monday, January 2, 2012

Military veterans create Tampa charities to help troops

Military veterans create Tampa charities to help troops
By HOWARD ALTMAN | The Tampa Tribune
Published: January 02, 2012

They were both in the Navy.

They are both named Bob.

And now they spend their days helping out those who serve by running two of Tampa Bay's biggest military charity organizations.

Bob Silah served 27 years, retiring as a captain in 1989.

An active member of the Tampa chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, he regularly kept in touch with the local military community, especially the folks at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.

In 2004, he got a call from a doctor there.

"They said they had more and more patients coming in and they needed help, especially with their families," said Silah, who came up with an idea to help.

He created Operation Helping Hand that May.

"Our mission was strictly to help active duty wounded and their visiting families," he said.

The mission has been tweaked only a bit since, he said. There are many service members coming to the hospital who were injured in non-combat situations as well. Silah said his organization has adapted to help those people and their families too.
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