Prisila Roberts has made it her goal to help wounded soldiers.
A senior at Evans High School, Prisila, 18, became involved with Hearts for Heroes and the Fisher House Foundation after learning about the programs through a friend at church.
Now, Prisila has made it her mission to help raise $1.8 million in funds needed to build the Fisher House, and continues to work with Hearts for Heroes by providing care packages for wounded soldiers.
Hearts for Heroes provides bowling tickets, movie passes, gift certificates for meals and other services for wounded soldiers. Prisila learned about it through a member of her church, First Baptist of Augusta, who started the program.
"Hearts for Heroes consists of supporting soldiers currently at the Uptown (Veterans Affairs medical center), many who have been injured in Iraq," said Marcia Burk, the program's founder. "We also send 'love boxes' to soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan."
Hearts for Heroes and the Fisher House project are something that Prisila says she will always be involved with. That desire was formed after a visit to the VA.
She recalls with fondness meeting one young man who had lost his right arm in a roadside bombing.
"When we met, I could see in his eyes that he had to remember to shake with his left hand," said Prisila, the granddaughter of Melvin and Judy Roberts of Martinez.
Prisila is basing her senior project on the two programs and has already helped raise more than $1,000 for the Fisher House, similar to the Ronald McDonald House, but for families of injured soldiers. The Fisher House is to be built on the VA property once funds are raised.
About $10,000 has been raised for the Fisher House, with Prisila's contributions coming from a fish-fry fundraiser held in December by the Cason Bruker Bible Class at First Baptist Church.
"My grandfather is famous for his hush puppies and fish," said Prisila. "He has a cookout every December, and I just decided to turn it into a fundraiser. The Cason Bruker Bible Class deserves all the credit for the funds raised."
While Prisila had no goal in mind when she held the fundraiser, she said she won't settle for less than the $1.8 million needed.
"The reason I care so much about this project is because my sister is in the military and so are many other family members," she said. "I want people to see the military through the heart of a soldier."
Prisila's sister has already been deployed once and is currently stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., under a medical discharge.
Knowing the hardships that soldiers face, Prisila understands that the stresses of being away from loved ones during times of rehabilitation and medical care can be even more strenuous.
"These soldiers are away for such a long time, but to be away from their families while they are injured is extremely difficult," she said.
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