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The magic of Christmas

US Family Health Plan helps wounded warrior families

Staff members at US Family Health Plan gather around the Christmas presents for the families of wounded warriors. Photo credit: USFHP

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Christmas Wish is a program that brings the magic of the holidays to the families of wounded warriors. Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors (HSWW) began the program in 2009.

"Christmas is a magical time of the year," said Janice Buckley, founder and president of HSWW (a 501c3 nonprofit). "But for some of these families it can be very stressful."

Since its inception, HSWW has reached out to organizations and people in the community asking them to contribute gifts to fill out a Christmas Wish list.

At the same time, the organization also contacts the families of wounded warriors asking them if they would like to be recipients, and to provide a wish list of what they would like to receive.

"We ask the families to list as many gifts as they can think of so the adopting family or agency can make choices," continued Buckley.

That's when US Family Health Plan (USFHP) began loading the Christmas sleigh with presents.

"We participated in the Heartbeat Wounded Warrior program last year and wanted to do so again," said Patti McMinn, senior administrative assistant for USFHP at Pacific Medical Centers.

USFHP is a TRICARE Prime option that is administered by Pacific Medical Centers, which, for the past 35 years, has administered healthcare benefits to military beneficiaries.

"Our participation is a way of providing service to the warriors and their families who have gallantly served our country," continued McMinn. "The two, however, are not equivalent, when you consider the challenges the servicemembers face as a result of the injuries they have suffered."

Once employees at USFHP receive the wounded warrior's families' wish list from Heartbeat, they place the items on a Giving Tree from which they can select a request from the tree in order to fulfill a family member's wish.

"USFHP has generously adopted several families through the Christmas Wish program," added Buckley. "They are wonderful and compassionate people and easy to work with."

USFHP employees delivered the gifts earlier this week.

"At this time of year, let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas and look for opportunities to serve our military and their families," concluded Buckley.

For more information about Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors, email  

For more information about US Family Plan, visit or

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