BOSTON (CBS) — When Donald Trump handed out more than $5.6 million in donations to veteran’s groups, a local charity was on the list.
“I pretty much screamed my head off for 10 minutes.” That was the reaction from Andy Biggio, the founder of New England Wounded Veterans.READ MORE: Find 2021 Fireworks Near You - Guide To Boston Area & Eastern Mass.
Andy served with the Marines doing tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. When he returned home to his native Winthrop, he started the charity.
His organization received a letter from Trump with a check for $75,000. Andy said the most he thought they would get is $2,000.
New England Wounded Veterans has one huge fundraiser each year, a motorcycle charity ride called Boston’s Wounded Vet Run.READ MORE: Massachusetts Closes In On Goal Of 4.1 Million People Vaccinated Against COVID-19
This year the proceeds from that event helped five local veterans and their families. The wife of one wounded vet got a new car courtesy of the charity.
The organization also paid for one veteran to go to the Paralympics.
“This money is life-changing,” said Biggio.
How did New England Wounded Veterans end up on Trump’s radar screen? When Andy served in Iraq, he fought alongside a fellow Marine was named Joe Schiller, from New York.MORE NEWS: Military Jury Convicts Marine In Death Of Emerson College Student Daniel Hollis
When they got home from war, Joe followed Andy’s charity on Facebook. One-day Joe called Andy and told him that his father was Donald Trump’s bodyguard. Joe suggested to Trump that Andy’s organization was worthy of a donation.