by Elizabeth Howe / connectingvets.radio.com
New Jersey Devils’ hockey star Kyle Palmieri is expanding his support of military families. The Kyle Palmieri Foundation, founded by the Devil’s right wing and his fiancee, Ashlee Casper, will give back to those who have sacrificed to preserve American freedom.
Palmieri is not new to military support projects. Since 2016, he has hosted service members and their families through Squad21. Designed around Palmieri’s jersey number, 21 active duty service members or veterans are invited to attend one of the 21 Squad21 games. Those selected have the chance to attend the game and meet Palmieri afterwards in a private meet and greet.
While this program will continue, the Palmieri Foundation adds three new military organizations to the list of ways Palmieri supports service members: Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), National Military Family Association (NMFA) and Pets for Vets.
“Squad21 started as a small way for me to give back,” said Palmieri. “The reaction I got from the people who participated, to see the smiles on their faces, knowing how much they’ve sacrificed in order for me to do what I love — it really hit home with me. Obviously, Squad21 is limited by the number of games during the season. The foundation is just a way for me to expand and do a little more.”
The three organizations Palmieri chose to support through the foundation are all smaller military organizations that may not receive the same level of national support and recognition that some other organizations do. Additionally, Palmieri chose these three organizations for some personal reasons.
With both a sister and a brother-in-law in the military, Palmieri has seen the impact of SWAN and the NMFA in person.
“SWAN is so important because there are more and more women joining the military, putting their lives on the line. They need the same resources as every other member of the military,” Palmieri said. “And having a sister who’s married to an active duty service member — you see what the family goes through, the support they need and the support they deserve. The families are sacrificing too.”
As for Pets for Vets, Palmieri has experienced the emotional support his own shelter dogs have offered him.
“Being around pets and the emotional support they give is something that’s awesome, and you can’t really put it into words what a companion can do.”
“There are endless challenges facing our nation’s military service members and veterans,” Palmieri said. “We hope to help ease some of these challenges by providing support through the Kyle Palmieri Foundation and through our partnerships with NMFA, SWAN, and Pets for Vets. Each of these organizations provide invaluable support and services, and the Foundation looks to help expand their incredible work. We’re proud to offer our help as a way to say thank you to the brave men and women who are serving and have served our country.”