NEW BERN, N.C. --
More than 1,000 people including celebrities Drew Brees and Kelli Pickler gathered Friday in the name of charity to kick off the Nicholas Sparks Celebrity Family Weekend in New Bern, N.C.
The festivities began with a celebrity golf tournament and a 5K run and culminated with a family fun night with a screening of Sparks’ new film “The Lucky One.” Proceeds benefit several charities, including Hope For the Warriors, a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting wounded military members, their families and families of the fallen.
“This weekend is full of fun for great causes and helps different charities gain exposure,” said Anne M. Woods, public relations director for Hope For the Warriors. “Hope For the Warriors helps wounded military members restore themselves physically and emotionally.”
More than 20 Hope For the Warriors members attended, including Lance Cpl. Robert J. Hamilton III, a patient with the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Hamilton was shot through the left side of his body while supporting combat operations with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, in Helmand province during the initial push into Marjah, Afghanistan, Oct. 2, 2010. He has since undergone 17 corrective surgeries and has spent more than 4 months in the hospital.
“Hope For the Warriors has done so much for me and my wife,” said Hamilton, a native of Lemoyne, Pa. “I think it’s amazing that this weekend’s profits are going to Hope For the Warriors. I hope everyone understands exactly how much this means to so many families around the country.”
Hamilton said Hope For the Warriors has helped him and his wife with hotel and day-to-day living expenses throughout his recovery.
“It’s been a long road with many obstacles and trials, but events like this and charities like Hope For the Warriors help more than people realize,” said Hamilton’s wife, Elizabeth. “They’ve made our lives more comfortable and helped us through difficult times.
"We are very thankful to them and very thankful to the families involved in this weekend.”