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OLD SAYBROOK - He served our country as a Marine in two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, after sustaining a traumatic brain injury in an IED explosion, his friends are asking the community to support this wounded veteran's transition to civilian life.
"David Tupper is a true leader and always was. He wouldn't ask those under his command to do anything he wouldn't do," said David Perrotti, who coached Tupper in football at Old Saybrook High School. "He's a patriotic kid who wanted to serve his country."
But this patriotic warrior in his second combat tour in Afghanistan unfortunately was seriously injured in an IED explosion. With a long recovery ahead of him-and with a wife and three children at home-his friends decided he could use some help.
Thus was born the idea of an all-day community fair organized to benefit Tupper and his family.
The organizing committee for the event is Perrotti, Scott Schoonmaker, Brian Ziolkovski, and Tupper's brother-in-law David Chevrette. The all-day fair they've planned will be Saturday, Aug. 17 at Firemen's Field, 210 Elm Street, in Old Saybrook from noon until 9 p.m.
"While the event is free, we are asking those who come to make a donation to support Sgt. David Tupper and his family," said Perrotti.
The afternoon fair will include fun activities for kids like a Home Run Derby contest, a Moon Walk bouncer, an inflatable slide, and face painting. Pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy, and beverages will be offered throughout the day.
From 5 until 9 p.m., the event will engage adults with a silent auction, live bands, and other entertainment. Food and beverages will also be available.
"It's been unbelievable the outpouring of support for Sgt. Tupper from Old Saybrook community members, organizations, and businesses," said Perrotti.
Perrotti said that the Rotary Club of Old Saybrook, for example, has agreed to match up to $5,000 in donations for Tupper and his family.
Currently, Tupper, a 2002 graduate of Old Saybrook High School, is recovering from his injuries at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Administration Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. Confined to a wheelchair due to his injuries, he continues to make progress.
Donations to support Tupper and his family will be accepted by event organizers and volunteers at the Aug. 17 event. Donation checks also may be mailed. Checks should be made payable to Support Sgt. Tupper and may be mailed to Support Sgt. Tupper, 2 Butterwick Ln., Old Lyme, CT 06371.
All funds raised will be donated directly to S Tupper and his family to help pay for the extraordinary, un-reimbursed expenses of his recovery and transition to civilian life.