Since Friday, several of our nations most severely wounded warriors made the trek to CT to take part in making a one time dream an astonishing reality. In the process they raised over $150,000 and to date they have helped 30 combat veterans regain the independence they lost when their arms and legs were taken from them protecting our freedom.
For Help Our Military Heroes Co-Founders, Laurie Hollander and Marybeth Vandergrift, the dream began about ten years ago during a football game at West Point Military Academy.
During half-time, several multiple amputee combat veterans were wheeled out to the center of the field. That was all that was needed to put the wheels in motion.
Both Laurie and Marybeth, that day, became mothers to every wounded combat veteran and began helping those with the worst combat injuries regain their independance through automobile mobility.
To date they have aided nearly 30 multiple amputees obtain specially modified motor vehicles which provide our nations warriors the freedom and mobility that had been taken from them in combat.
For the last eight years they have put on an annual Spin-A-Thon that raises between $100,000 - $250,000. They do it all in one day, in the basement of New York Sports Club in Danbury. What's more, is that 100% of the money raised goes directly to covering the cost of the specially modified vehicles.
This event is nothing short of amazing. All the volunteers and participants that turn out set the standard for how all of our communities need to pitch in to honor and aid our nations bravest.
As though this was not enough dedication, Both Laurie and Marybeth are active participants and leaders, tightly connected, with West Point born charity, Team Red, White and Blue which serves to:
"transform the way America supports its wounded veterans when they return from active duty. Their intention is to create a community of veterans, their families, and American citizens who can enjoy authentic social interaction and shared experiences through activities and events all across America."
And they're not done yet. Laurie has proven instrumental as a catalyst to the success of Bethel based charity Operation Vet Fit which serves to:
"assist our nation's combat veterans, active duty members and affected family members through exercise, fitness, and group based motivational activities and events. Operation Vet-Fit is accomplishing this mission through free fitness club memberships, personal training, group training and group based motivational events geared toward fostering a healthy transition following combat service. Additionally we serve as a free liaison supporting veterans with service connected disabilities by assisting in the process of locating, accessing, and navigating the many available veterans benefits currently being offered."
While Laurie and Marybeth are both extremely competent with social media, their support of our nations combat veterans goes way beyond hitting the "Like" button.
They, and the organizations they serve have effectively established a new, higher standard of what we should all expect from ourselves when supporting our nations bravest.