Serving Those Who Serve

Growth Energy's members have supported service members, veterans and their families with more than $75 million since 2001. The group is dedicated to serving those that serve this country, writes retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark.
By retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark | April 11, 2014

We often talk about National Security in broad terms. We discuss the financial implications of relying on foreign oil, or the economic risks of importing our energy, but we often overlook the greatest national interest—our service members.  When we focus on our national security, we often forget that our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters are the ones who are directly responsible for carrying out the task of preserving and protecting our freedoms. Regardless of political views or opinions, we can agree that the selfless actions of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen throughout the recent conflicts deserve our honor and respect.

As Memorial Day approaches, I wanted to focus on what Growth Energy members have done to support our service members and veterans. Last year, Growth Energy launched the Fueling Our Forces program, which raised more than $100,000 through our membership, for the Armed Forces Foundation. This year, we are on track to far exceed that amount.

The AFF is dedicated to supporting active-duty military personnel, National Guardsmen, Reservists, military families and veterans. Since 2001, the AFF has provided more than $75 million in assistance by covering travel, hotel rooms, home mortgages, car payments and everyday bills to enable families to stay at the side of their loved ones sides during treatment and recovery from wounds suffered during war. 

With the launch of the Help Save Our Troops campaign, the AFF proactively educates Americans about the hidden wounds of war, including post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, and advocates for those troops and veterans who have suffered these hidden wounds. The ultimate goal of Help Save Our Troops is to reduce military suicides. 

Growth Energy is truly dedicated to those who defend us, but we also seek to minimize the need for them to deploy abroad. By reducing the need for foreign energy, we reduce the potential for future conflicts in tremulous regions to protect petroleum imports. Our members work tirelessly to produce a domestic fuel that not only strengthens our energy independence, but also develops jobs and preserves our environment.

Biofuels are essential to the future energy security of our nation. They strengthen our economy, create jobs that cannot be outsourced and revitalize our rural communities throughout the nation. We cannot continue to use our military forces for the protection of foreign oil imports. The current system simply is not sustainable and costs our nation billions each year by exporting our money to foreign oil magnates who artificially manipulate the cost of their product. We, as a nation, then ask our military men and women to protect the shipping lanes for that oil, through treacherous regions, costing us millions more in blood and treasure.

We cannot afford to continue importing foreign oil. We cannot afford to divert our essential national security assets, purely for energy security. By continuing to promote and validate ethanol as a viable alternative to our oil addiction, we help protect our nation and reduce the potential danger for our fighting men and women. I invite you to continue your support of our servicemen and women and to keep fighting for our nation’s energy future.

Author: retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark
Co-chair of the Growth Energy Board of Directors
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