Four years ago I received an email from my dear friend Pamela Browne, Senior Producer at The Fox News Network, who I once worked with in another life -- before autism changed my course -- when I was a television producer.
Pamela forwarded me an email from Oliver North (yes, THE Colonel Oliver North!), host of the Fox show "War Stories", which told of the hardships and challenges of military families with children with autism. Col. North knew this from a Marine wife, autism mom and warrior named Karen Driscoll, who is married to Colonel Jerome Driscoll. Colonel North was embedded with the troops under Col. Driscoll's command while covering the Gulf War.
I learned how children in the military have a higher incident of autism, a far less amount of the recommended treatment, often inaccessible, and have the added stress of multiple moves and often a parent deployed.
My dad was a Marine. My son has autism. Our nation's heroes, our country's most vulnerable children, getting the short end of the stick. This did not seem right to me.
Karen Driscoll and I connected that day. We talked and vowed to change the situation. A year and a half ago, ACT Today! launched ACT Today! for Military Families, and in that time we have raised awareness with countless media segments and a public service announcement with actor Joe Mantegna. We have put on a successful run and family festival in San Diego.
And most importantly, we have dispersed over one hundred and thirty thousand dollars ($130,167) in grants to needy families fighting two battles -- one for our country and one for their children with autism. The world for military families with autism is a better place because of the passion of Karen Driscoll.
Recently, Karen received a prestigious Achievement Award from the San Diego Military Advisory Council. Click here to read article.
Semper Fi, my friend.