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Oklahoma veterans organizations were among Trump fundraiser recipients

Three Oklahoma veterans organizations were among 41 groups the Donald Trump campaign says received donations after a fundraiser the Republican presidential candidate organized earlier this year.

The Owasso-based Folds of Honor Foundation, the El Reno-based nonprofit Honoring America's Warriors and the Oklahoma City group Warriors for Freedom Foundation were all included on a list of organizations the campaign released Tuesday. Also on the list was Operation Homefront, a San Antonio-based veterans organization with offices in Lawton.

Campaign officials say the donations were made as a part of a fundraiser the campaign organized in January, at the same time as a Fox News GOP debate Trump boycotted. The campaign released the list Tuesday after the Washington Post published a story questioning Trump's claims that he'd raised $6 million — including $1 million of his own money — to support veterans organizations.

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that about half of the more than two-dozen charities that responded to media calls said they'd received checks from Trump within the past week, typically dated May 24, the day the Washington Post published its story questioning whether Trump had distributed all of the donations.

Gena Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for Operation Homefront, said the organization had been inundated with media calls after the list was released Tuesday. Fitzgerald said the organization received $65,000 in donations related to the Trump fundraiser: $50,000 from the Stewart J. Rahr Foundation on Feb. 22; $5,000 from the Jerome and Anne C. Fisher Charitable Foundation on March 11 and $10,000 from Moda, LLC, a private company based in Greenwich, Conn., on March 22.

The organization didn't receive donations directly from the Donald J. Trump Foundation for Vets, Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said the money would go to support the organization's major projects, which include helping military service members and their families transition back into civilian life. That includes offering short-term assistance for emergencies like car and home repairs and fully furnished apartments for veterans who have recently been discharged from military hospitals.

The organization also runs a homes program, in which it offers donated homes to veterans and their families who apply, she said. Those donations typically come from major banks or builders, she said. The group awarded its 500th donated home earlier this year, Fitzgerald said.

Scotty Deatherage, executive director and co-founder of Honoring America's Warriors, said the nonprofit received $100,000 in donations associated with the Trump fundraiser.

While the attention the donation has brought has been unwelcome, Deatherage said the donation itself is helpful. The group offers a range of services, including training disabled veterans to provide full military honors at the funerals of veterans who wouldn't otherwise qualify and providing companion and service dogs to veterans.

Deatherage said the organization accepts donations from patrons of all kinds, no matter their political ideologies. Those donations are critical to the organization's success, he said.

“Resources are vital to us being able to continue all these programs," Deatherage said. “We can’t run our programs without funding.”

Officials from the Folds of Honor Foundation and the Warriors for Freedom Foundation didn't return calls for comment.

Silas Allen

Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri. Read more ›