iPods for Wounded Veterans honors Rep. Miceli
WILMINGTON — In honor of Memorial Day, iPods for Wounded Veterans co-founder and president Paul Cardello shared his and the whole team’s appreciation for all of the work that former Wilmington State Representative Jim Miceli has done with a statement.
The statement from the Wilmington 501(c)3 reads, “Your commitment to the injured service men and women of the United States… you served so many. You will never be forgotten.”
The team wants to honor Miceli’s legacy by telling the real story of his work with iPods and veterans on a national level.
Cardello explained that iPods could never have existed without Miceli’s help every step of the way. It’s iPods Media Relations member Richard McGaffigan who revealed that iPods struggled on their own to get started helping veterans.
“In the beginning we were like a grassroots organization,” he said.
They had little reach in the community, he continued, so they decided to go somewhere else and build a name for themselves. That was where Rep. Miceli stepped in to help.
Miceli’s reach in Washington D.C. and the surrounding area allowed the Wilmington team to visit with wounded servicemen and women and start their tradition of trips to Virginia and D.C. hospitals. He achieved the security clearance necessary to get iPods team members into the hospitals and medical centers to meet veterans in their hospital rooms and hand deliver their gifts of electronics, hats, magazines, bracelets, and letters from students.
“Companies like the Wounded Warrior Project couldn’t get into those places,” McGaffigan continued. “Or if they did they’d leave things at the front desk.”
That wasn’t good enough for Miceli. His influence has made it possible for iPods for Wounded Veterans to visit and bring gifts to close to 4,000 soldiers in six years, taking 22 trips to the D.C. area so far.
After receiving clearance to visit with injured service men and women, iPods came back to Wilmington and started growing here with Miceli on their side.
“It’s not easy to run a 501(c)3,” Cardello shared. “Every time we were having difficulty, we’d call him, and he’d figure out how to proceed.”
He described Micelli as a mentor who’d cut through red tape to get things done for iPods in ways that they couldn’t on their won.
Besides being a representative for iPods in D.C., Miceli represented iPods at the State House. Cardello details several events that Miceli organized completely for disabled American veterans. In particular, Miceli honored all kinds of injured veterans in October 2015 at the Veterans Hall.
“It was one of our biggest events ever… he brought in Navy Seal Tom Shea, who wrote the book Unbreakable.”
David Robertson, who worked with the former representative at the State House, shared that the event was a day of honoring and enriching the lives of these veterans.
Robertson affirmed how Miceli was an advocate for injured and disabled veterans with iPods for the decade that they worked together.
“[Miceli] was touched… for veterans who had something happen to them for the sacrifice they made,” he said.
Cardello said that Miceli knew a lot about Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan veterans in rehabilitation. According to Cardello, Miceli fielded endless calls from soldiers and their families, and that he made time for every person.
There’s no minimizing the work that Miceli put into iPods and into the Wilmington and Tewksbury community as a whole.
Richard McGaffigan explained, “He had a vested interest in people’s lives… that’s really what separated him from a lot of other politicians.”
What McGaffigan recognizes about Miceli is how he could connect to anyone — he knew what mattered to people in their 20s as much as what mattered to people in there 80s.
Paul Cardello considers Jim Miceli a man of substance who’s irreplaceable in town.
“It’ll be along time before somebody else comes along who does what he did,” Cardello noted.
It’s iPods for Wounded Veterans’ wish that Miceli be remembered for all of the veterans, soldiers, families, students, and everyone else he helped in his decades of service.