Kenna James created "Operation Helping Hand" this year to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that provides prosthetics and other aid for veterans, and managed to raise $170,000 for the charity during the 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas.
"Operation Helping Hand" included a charity poker tournament and other events that started Aug. 1 and ran through the last week of the WSOP.
Pros, amateurs, and celebrities alike played in the tournament which was won by David Benyamine. He took home the first "Operation Helping Hand" championship bracelet as well as a trip to the Caribbean Poker Classic donated by SunPoker.com.
Fundraising activities continued after the tournament with a VIP party and silent auction hosted by Kenna James. Some of the top auction items for the night were a one-of-a-kind Ostrich leather railed poker table and an Iraqi flag signed by members of Screaming Eagle Poker.
Gavin Smith bought the flag for $5,000. The pool table was purchased by Dan Pugliese for $13,000, and he immediately pledged it up for auction again on a future airing of the Ultimate Poker Challenge to raise more money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Donations were also accepted for the organization during other "Operation Helping Hand" activities throughout the week.
James said he got involved with the project after being inspired by the story of an 8-year-old boy who donated an entire year of his allowance to aid Army veteran Heath Calhoun, who had lost both legs above his knees in a rocket attack in Iraq.
Editor's Note: Screaming Eagle Poker is an organization that seeks to boost the morale of troops serving in Iraq by organizing and managing free No-Limit Texas Hold'em events each week on multiple army bases in that country.
A longtime supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project, Screaming Eagle donates a portion of each of its membership fees to the project. Please see Poker League Popular Among Soldiers In Iraq Supports Charity for further details.