Operation Helping Hand

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Operation Helping Hand

Stakes raised to help veterans

Professional poker players are all about the raise, but Kenna James had never seen one so poignant.

An 8-year-old boy, watching a veteran who lost both legs during a rocket grenade attack in Iraq, pledged his allowance for the year - about $1,000 - to a non-profit organization that assists severely injured soldiers.

In a room full of poker players, the raising had just begun.

When it was all over, James' Operation Helping Hand - a benefit tournament held this week during the World Series of Poker's main event in Las Vegas - had raised $170,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides prosthetics and other care to veterans. "It started with a passing of the hat to auctioning off items to 8- and 60-year -olds pouring out their hearts to these guys," James said of the after-party. "It was very emotional."

"That was big for us," said Heath Calhoun, 27, of Roanoke, Va., the Army veteran who lost both legs above the knees. "As an outsider to the poker world, they made us feel like family. Personally, I don't know how to play poker. They were more than willing to let me play."

Pictures of Event: http://sunpoker.com/news/LIVE_OHH_photos.asp

Full Story at USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/2006-08-03-operation-helping-hand_x.htm?

Written by Mark www.focalclick.com

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