Oct. 5, 2014 –
WASHINGTON - Staff Sgt. Paul and Jennifer Wetshtein lost their 6-year-old son, Paul “Paulie” Wetshtein, in a tragic accident in June 2014. Family and friends, to include their Army Reserve family, poured in the support. A measure of the support was demonstrated Sunday, Oct. 5, at the “Walk Now For Autism Speaks: Washington, DC” as 28 soldiers and family members from the 3100 Strategic Intelligence Group raised $5,530 in support of autism awareness and research, exceeding their goal of $5,000.
Paulie was a child on the autism spectrum, who, like many children with this diagnosis, was said to be inspiring and positive. The Autism Speaks event brings together thousands of people from the National Capital Region every year. For the 2014 walk on the National Mall, they brought in nearly half-a-million dollars this crisp fall morning. Participants donate and join the event for many reasons. The Wetshteins said, “We are walking to honor the memory of our son Paul Xavier Wetshtein. Although he was only with us for 6 years he taught us volumes.”
‘Paulie’s Posse’ wore bright red shirts with a big ‘P’ in a superman logo because Superman was Paulie’s favorite superhero. There were other teams with their own matching shirts on the National Mall that day, but the red T-shirts stood out the most. Many of team members did not know each other at the beginning of the event, but by the end of the day, they had bonded in their support for Paulie, the Wetshteins, and the cause.
“Although our son is no longer with us, we walk to bring joy and comfort to others just like Paulie did. Even though he faced the challenges of autism, he giggled and hugged his way into the hearts of many people. He was a superhero for his internal strength and the outward joy he brought to countless people. He truly will be missed by all that knew him,” said the Wetshteins.