Veterans organization heals wounded warriors

Published 10:11 am Friday, March 13, 2015

SPECIALTY PLATES: The proposed Warrior Bonfie Project license plate

SPECIALTY PLATES: The proposed Warrior Bonfie Project license plate

Soldiers wounded in combat have physically demonstrated a commitment to their country, and for those interested in showing support for these veterans, a specialty car tag will be offered with proceeds benefiting a program that aims to improve veteran’s lives.

The Warrior Bonfire Project will now offer a Mississippi license plate displaying the group’s logo, said Helen Phillips, the director of special projects for the Warrior Bonfire Project.

The nonprofit organization brings combat veterans together with a mission of offering recovery and healing with a focus on creating activity based, stress free environments that promote camaraderie and therapeutic healing.

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Patty Mekus, president of the Southern Heritage Air Foundation, which is located in Tallulah, came up with the idea of offering a car tag that would promote the nonprofit organization, and State Rep. Alex Monsour was instrumental in walking it through the House,” Phillips sadid.

By offering the specialty car tag, not only will the Warrior Bonfire Project receive proceeds that will defray the cost of trips offered to the veterans, it will also help get the word out about the group’s mission, Phillips said.

Vicksburg native Dan Fordice founded the Warrior Bonfire Project in 2012 after deciding he wanted to make a difference for veterans who had suffered from injuries both physically and mentally.

Fordice, who is a veteran himself, wanted to bring Purple Heart recipients together in a small group setting.

His idea was prompted after he had a conversation with a friend that had suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving in the military.

The Warrior Bonfire Project website states that retired SFC Charles Gregory Williams commented to Fordice that he could spend a full day with a counselor and not come close to the therapeutic value of sitting around a bonfire with five or six guys.

In response, Fordice said he would provide the bonfire.

The Warrior Bonfire Project’s mission is to offer trips or events planned for the veterans with all expenses paid.

Since its inception, combat wounded veterans have had the opportunity to participate in hunting trips, ski trips, professional athletic events, fishing trips and museum tours, Phillips said.

Many of the trips offered to the veterans are donated by individuals who either pay for the expenses or donate their properties, Phillips said, adding the Warrior Bonfire Project is a customer service organization.

“We listen to what the veterans want to do,” she said.

“The Warrior Bonfire Project license plate was designed at no cost by Hunt Marketing of Oxford, Mississippi,” Phillips said, and the tags cost $31 and $32 if you use a credit card.

“Checks must accompany the registration form and be made out to the Mississippi Department of Revenue. We must pre-sell no less than 300 of these by May 13th so that we can turn everything in by May 15th. Production will begin in July, and our organization will notify each purchaser when their tag has arrived at their County Tax Collector’s Office. For every tag purchased, $24 will go to the Warrior Bonfire Project. No salaries are paid from the project, and 100 percent of contributions that come in go to helping our wounded heroes,” Phillips said.

For more information on the purchase of the Warrior Bonfire Project car tag or the nonprofit organization, call 318-574-2731 or visit

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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