A football team in Colorado made up of eleven year old boys decided to take their game off the field and put their hard work toward a fundraiser for the Warrior Bonfire Program. Collectively they raised $400 in donations from their family, friends and spectators. Members of the South Dolphin Platinum team, from Castle Rock, Colorado who play in the Arapahoe Youth League and Coach Wessbecker have led the charge for a year long fundraising effort by the AYL for all the teams associated with the league. The leagues goal is to help their youth, in all sports, learn of the sacrifices that our military service men and women are willing to make for the freedoms these young athletes enjoy. The South Dolphin Platinum Football team invited our Board of Director member, Mike Foss from the Denver area to join them at their team dinner to conclude the season and presented him with the check.
Using the platform laid out by JD Phillips in the JD McGillicutty Project, these young athletes focus on playing their sport for something other than themselves. Learning to be aware of the gift to play without fear or simply free to play, can be directly linked to the freedoms our armed forces protect. Even more so, learning that we as civilians, have a duty to serve those that have served for us and basically to just respect those that have worn the uniform.
For these football players and any other athlete, seeing and learning about those wounded veterans that have to face hard challenges every day and find ways to push through their pain, discomfort or frustrations, is an example of how to play hard on the field. This also serves as a reminder to be thankful that they do not have to push through those same psychical and mental challenges.
In November, the Warrior Bonfire Program had the opportunity to be a part of the AYL Super Bowl Weekend and were given the opportunity to share stories and needs of injured veterans. Spreading the knowledge of the Warrior Bonfire Program and the services we provide, creates awareness and exposure to those that may be in a position to help in larger capacities. Our Bonfire Ambassadors (Purple Hearts that have attended a Bonfire and are our Peer to Peer mentors) had the privilege to meet Lee Rouson, New York Giant Super Bowl Champion and Brandon McManus, kicker for the Denver, Broncos. Although these two are likely Saints fans, they were thrilled!
We want to thank the Arapahoe Youth League and all it's members for their support throughout the coming year. We wish you all safe and successful seasons!
Purple Heart Veteran Tim Bell about jumped out of his chair when he was awarded a three day excursion to Tara Wildlife, the well known premier hunting destination in Mississippi. The Warrior Bonfire Program was given the package to award one of our Mississippi Purple Heart Members, by a group of nursing students from Hinds Community College. The Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) program, raised funds and donations to put a great weekend together for Bell and his wife. As part of the colleges Communtiy Service Outreach Program, DMS Program Director Lesa Wilson and her students have taken the Bonfire under it's wing. Not only in orchestrating this event, these students have volunteered and raised awareness throughout the year.
When Wilson approached Gilbert Rose, the President/Executive Director of Tara Wildlife, about wanting to raise funds to support a couple days of hunting for one of our veterans, he immediately offered to provide free of charge, a three day all inclusive hunt package for the veteran and his wife. Just as graciously, Mr. Andy Vanlandingham representing Nelson Golf Cars of Jackson, MS provided the use of a "Bad Boy Buggy" free of charge for the entire hunt. In addition, the DMS program raised $300 to purchase a gift card from Bass Pro Shop for Tim to have all he needed to prepare for the hunt. The total package was over a $4,000 value!
,When we told Bell of his opportunity, he exclaimed, "this is a once in a lifetime thing for me. I have never gotten to go to a place like Tara!" He was incredibly grateful for the gift and wrote a thank you letter to the students for their work and donation. Upon Bell's return he reported, " There was great food, it was relaxing, and saw lots of deer, however I didn't kill anything. The weather was not the best, rain and warm. Did get to see some deer though. Just having that opportunity was awesome. At any moment the big boy could have stepped out!"
Bell was injured in two separate events while fighting the War on Terror in Irag. In 2009 his platoon was attacked by small arms fire, sniper fire and grenades, taking shots to his left hand, right shoulder and suffered a concussion. Again, in 2010 his truck was hit by a RPG7 causing another concussion and separating his right shoulder. His fighting days in war came to an end, however, he continues to succeed in the daily battle of post war traumas. Bell stated, "I would not change one thing. I am proud and honored that I was able to go and serve. I am very thankful for the support that we receive from groups like this and the WBP and it truly means the world to me and my family."
The Warrior Bonfire Program Campfire Program matches veterans to small or individual opportunities and experiences that do not coincide with our signature 6 Purple Heart attending our Bonfire Adventure trips. If you have an opportunity to donate something of this nature to a veteran, we will offer it a veteran in our database in the area of the opportunity. Please fill out our contact form if interested.
On December 3rd, The Warrior Bonfire Program was welcomed as the newest member of the R4 Alliance. We couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of this incredible organization. This is an organization whose mission is to leverage combined resources and networks to ensure the Economic Viability of R4 members through corporate sponsorship, grants, and collective fundraising initiatives. It's members consist solely of organizations that serve our Military Families. Currently there are 63 member organizations that all have gone through an extensive review and have been determined to meet the high standards of excellence set forth by R4 Alliance and it's board.
As a member, the Warrior Bonfire Program is exposed to a wealth of knowledge and support from the alliance and it's members. This partnership allows us to learn from the best grass roots organizations serving America's finest and their families. Tools and best practices are presented and shared regularly to help us offer superb customer service to our Bonfire members. Collaboration of data collected among all participating organizations allows our small voice to become a larger and louder voice to effect change for our veterans on a larger stage.
Most importantly, being part of this amazing group of Veteran Serving Organizations, we now have a network of a variety of services that we can offer the veterans that come through the Warrior Bonfire Program. Often, we are presented with a need that unfortunately we may not have the ability provide an answer. Being in the R4 Alliance gives us a tool to provide a quick connection for our veterans in need to a group of people that we trust. These members believe that all that matters is that the veterans get what they need, it is not about competing with each other, it's about helping each other succeed.
WBP Team writers
Blogs are written by staff members of the Warrior Bonfire Program along with guest writers.