Editor’s Note: Read more about OWU’s incredible alumni at www.owu.edu/alumnisuccess.
He was there to honor the lives of three OWU alumni who died on 9/11 by co-founding the OWU Friends group. And Rocco Donnino ’84 is ever-present in thought and deed, reminding others about the men and women, who are fighting for our country; many who are losing their lives and being seriously injured.
“September 11 was the spark for many who joined the service and as we approached the 11th anniversary of that tragic day, it felt meaningless simply to say “thank you” to men and women who put their lives on the line every day,” says Donnino. He and a group of friends and family founded Cow Harbor Warriors, focused on honoring and enabling Tri-State (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut) wounded warriors from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom by raising awareness and enlisting the community’s support for the Wounded Warriors Project (WWP). WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured service men and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.
“As more of our Tri-State service men and women come home and adjust to their “new normal” civilian lives with visible and invisible injuries, it felt only right to encourage the community we hold so dear, to help to create a celebratory weekend in order to honor and enable our Wounded Warriors on a grander scale than they could have imagined,” says Donnino. To date, more than 48,000 American service men and women have been physically injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. While Donnino’s responsibilities as executive vice president of APPRiver—a company designed to provide businesses with secure email and web security solutions—involve frequent travel, Donnino finds time to commit to the work he and his colleagues are doing to recognize our wounded soldiers. He and his team of volunteers organized a special weekend along with the Wounded Warrior Project called Cow Harbor Warrior Weekend, in Northport, New York. WWP sent 22 alumni and their families from the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to a three-day weekend event meant to honor, empower, and thank our service men and women. The inaugural Cow Harbor Warrior Weekend event took place September 7-9, 2012 in and around Northport, New York and was a huge success. A variety of activities for the warriors, their families, and the community was planned including: a Warrior Welcome Parade; four-mile Warrior Run; Fishing for Freedom Tournament; Driving for the Brave Golf Tournament; Adaptive Water Sports; Beach Bum Boot Camp; and Northport Sunset Clam Bake.
“These service men and women had our backs, and now we have theirs,” concludes Donnino.