Friday, October 17, 2014

Give HOPE, Share HOPE: The Community of Kingwood, Texas Honors the Fallen

Today's blog is written by Chrystal Thompson, Hope For The Warriors staff member. This month we have been sharing stories of how our supporters Give HOPE and Share HOPE.  The families of Kingwood, Texas are wonderful examples of this.  To get involved in the 4th Annual Kingwood Fallen Heroes Memorial Golf Tournament, send an email to kingwoodfallenheroes@gmail.com.

On April 26, 2014, I attended the 3rd Annual Kingwood Fallen Heroes Memorial Golf Tournament in Kingwood, TX. 

The 501c (3) organization honors the fallen heroes of the Kingwood community to remember those that were killed in action while serving their country and to raise funds in support of organizations like Hope For The Warriors®.  The three fallen heroes that the organization has recognized throughout the past three years are Sgt. William Meeuwsen, USA KIA, LCpl Luke Yepsen, USMC KIA, and Sgt Brandon Bury, USMC KIA.



All three graduated from Kingwood High School.  William, who went by Bill, was killed on November 23, 2005 when his unit came under direct fire during combat operations near Baghdad, Iraq.  Luke was killed on December 14, 2006 while conducting combat operations in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq.  Brandon was killed on June 6, 2010 while on patrol in Southern Afghanistan.  All were young, honorable, and strong men who were survived not only by their parents but also by loving family members and friends.  All three were killed serving our country.

In a media release leading up to the 3rd Annual Kingwood Fallen Heroes Memorial Golf Tournament, Scott Mitchell, said we will forever miss these three fine young men who gave their lives so we may continue to enjoy the many freedoms that come with being an American citizen. This tournament celebrates their strength and courage; and yields a promise that their sacrifices will never be forgotten.” 

After meeting and speaking with Scott and his father Don Mitchell for the first time, I realized that this event would be nothing like what I have experienced before. This year, 180 golfers participated in the tournament, coming from surrounding cities like Humble and Atascocita, and as far north as Dallas and Norman, Oklahoma.  Among the golfers, there were family members who came to the reception following the tournament.




The reception included an awards ceremony, raffle, silent auction and dinner.  The raffle and silent auction items were donated by members of the community and local businesses. The Houston Area Chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. chapter helped in the buffet line, serving food that was catered by Monterey’s Little Mexico- a local restaurant chain whose fund raising coordinator, Jarrod Glowacki, went to high school with two of the fallen heroes. The guest speaker this year was David Cantu, the Harris County Veteran Service Officer, who shared his hopes of serving those veterans that come home with physical and psychological wounds from serving overseas.



Seeing the degree of community coming together to celebrate the lives of three men who gave the ultimate sacrifice while honorably serving their country was very surreal.
My counterpart, Gus Cabarcas, Community Development Coordinator with Hope For The Warriors®, came down from Dallas for his second year.  For the past three years, Kingwood Country Club, known as The Clubs of Kingwood, has opened their championship courses and “best in Texas” green fairways to the event.  This year’s beautiful opening ceremony included a memorable twenty one rifle salute from the local Marine Corps Reserve Unit, 1st Battalion 23rd Marines prior to the shotgun start.

The weather was great along with the turnout. Once again Scott, Don, their families, and the volunteers did a great job putting this event together.  I first met Don and Scott in March of 2013 and from the start I saw their commitment to this event and how hard they work to make this possible.  The one thing that I remember the most is, how the community of Kingwood comes together once a year starting the night before to remember the sacrifices that were made by their three local patriots.  – Gus

The night before the tournament, the Glowacki family hosted a pre-registration dinner at Monterey’s Little Mexico in Humble, with a percentage of proceeds going towards the Kingwood Fallen Heroes.  Amber Johnson, Critical Care Coordinator for Hope For The Warriors®, described the compassion shown from the local members of the community, businesses, cities, and organizations, as truly inspiring.  The Hope For The Warriors® relationship with Kingwood Fallen Heroes started with Amber. 

In 2010, after being told the news that no mother will ever be prepared to hear, Terri Bury received a visit from her close friend, Nancy Johnson, Amber’s mother in-law.   Immediately Mrs. Johnson called her daughter in-law and within minutes Amber was in touch with Mrs. Bury, offering emotion support, sage advice, and travel arrangements for family to say their goodbyes to Brandon at his memorial services in San Diego and Kingwood. 

Soon after, Scott, Brandon’s best friend, decided to host an event to honor Brandon, Bill, and Luke.  Looking back on the first Kingwood Fallen Heroes Memorial Golf Tournament in 2012, Amber shared a scene that will always remain close to her heart.

“The patriot guard lined most of the trails leading up to the golf course with flags. It was breathtaking to travel through this mile-long trail onto the course with six-foot t tall American flags catching the sun on either side.  It took so much time and effort for them to set it up but that is how everyone is during this event. They don’t care how much time and effort it takes to get the job done right to properly honor the three fallen men. It is truly an event where everyone comes together.”



This year, the tournament benefited a total of three nonprofit veteran service organizations: Hope For The Warriors®, The Houston Area Chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. and Operation Military Embrace, Inc. Hope For The Warriors® received $30,000 from the Kingwood Fallen Heroes Memorial Golf Tournament to support programming for post-9/11 combat wounded service members, their families, and families of the fallen.

Scott Mitchell presents donation to Chrystal Thompson after the tournament

Thursday, October 16, 2014

#tbt Jacksonville Run For The Warriors 2009


Today's photo honors Don Gray (Right), who has given and shared HOPE to our organization for years. Don, a veteran, served on the Hope For The Warriors® Board of Directors, introduced us to other organizations for fundraising efforts, donated his boat for A Warrior's Wish®, started the Sailing Initiative for recovering veterans, and so much more. He is truly an inspiration and testament to what just one person can do to Give HOPE and Share HOPE and we are so pleased to acknowledge all he has done for Hope For The Warriors®, our service members, and military families over the years. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Give HOPE, Share HOPE: Scott's Journey to Honor the Fallen

This story proves that one person can make a huge impact when they Give HOPE and Share HOPE. I hope that Scott inspires you as much as he inspires each of us.

Scott is no stranger to giving and serving. He has already served his country honorably for 23 years in the Army. But in 2012, Scott was looking for a way to honor a fallen friend, Chief Warrant Officer Alexander “Scott” Coulter, USA KIA.

Scott decided the best way to honor his friend was by running marathons. He began a quest to complete a marathon in each state--50 marathons in 50 states total--before his 50th birthday. Through each race he wore a sign with Coulter’s name, honoring his friend. As he began his racing odyssey however, Gold Star Families—families who have lost a family member in combat—would reach out to Scott, thanking him for his tribute. As each person has reached out, Scott has added their names to Coulter’s.



Scott has already completed marathons in 49 states. On December 14, 2014, he will run the Honolulu Marathon, finishing the goal he started more than two years ago to honor fallen service members.

What seemed like a simple goal to honor one friend has snowballed into support to so many other fallen heroes and to their families. Through his racing, Scott has also raised awareness to the needs of families of the fallen and support to Hope For The Warriors®.

Scott’s story is an inspiration to anyone looking to build action and impact within their community. Scott is just one person with a big heart. He never aims to win his races, but rather to enjoy his experiences and happily carry out his mission to honor fallen service members and families of the fallen.



“It’s humbling to realize what started as single marathon to honor my friend has become a journey to honor not only him but numerous other heroes as well." --Scott Sunday

More information about Scott can be found on his Facebook page.

Throughout the month of October, we will share more stories about supporters like Scott. For more information on how YOU can Give HOPE and Share HOPE like Scott, visit the campaign page here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Give HOPE, Share HOPE: One Busy Family in New Jersey

Throughout the Fall, we will highlight some of our great supporters and share how they Give HOPE and Share HOPE to our organization and military families.
BMX team shows off the Hope For The Warriors logo
The Cary family lives a busy life with work, a long commute, kids, and more.  We feel so fortunate to have met the Cary family through an event that is held each year in New Jersey.  Since learning about our organization, each family member has done their part to Give HOPE and Share HOPE.  

How the Cary Family Gives HOPE:

Donate to HOPE

Has organized and hosted fundraising events

Races with Team Hope For The Warriors.  Both parents are running the Marine Corps Marathon this year and are our top fundraisers.

Have personally connected with service members and military families.


How the Cary Family Shares HOPE:

The Cary family introduced their entire BMX community to HOPE.  At each event, the team wears the jerseys you see above and they man an information table to share information about HOPE.

They have shared their experiences with friends and family.

Follow us on Facebook and share postings.

Volunteer at events.

Share our Four-Star Rating with Charity Navigator.

Attend HOPE events in their area.

Wear the HOPE logo proudly! (Online store)

Thank you to the entire Cary Family for their support!  View our flyer and see what you can do too!





Thursday, October 9, 2014

#tbt ASA Run For The Warriors® 2012


This Sunday is the 2014 ASA Run For The Warriors® in New Orleans, LA. It is sponsored by the American Society of Anesthesiologists and part of the Go ANESTHESIOLOGY™ 2014 annual meeting. For more information on the ASA Run For The Warriors® visit the registration page

See you there!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Give Hope, Share Hope: Jean in Wisconsin

Throughout the Fall, we will highlight some of our great supporters and share how they Give Hope and Share Hope to our organization and to our military families. 




Jean is the mother of 5, an avid runner, and has been a member of Team Hope For The Warriors since 2012. Jean organized the Patriot 5K to remember those lost on 9/11 and honor their memory.  This is not the only way that Jean has supported HOPE.


How Jean Gives Hope:

Donates to HOPE

Has hosted a fundraising event for the past three years


Races with Team Hope For The Warriors. Jean was supposed to run the NYC marathon in 2012 with the Team. Hurricane Sandy cancelled the race but Jean still came to NYC, running an unofficial marathon, carrying the USA flag the entire way.


How Jean Shares Hope:

Has written and shared a testimonial of her work with us

Likes us on Facebook and shares many of our postings

Shares our Four-Star Charity Navigator rating with her community

Introduced HOPE to her community

Proudly wears HOPE gear

Thank you to Jean for all of her support to HOPE, our service members, and military families.

View our flyer and see what you can do!





Monday, October 6, 2014

Got Heart, Give Hope Celebration: A Night to Give and Share Hope

Uniform Services University of Health Sciences Color Guard
Photos by P.J. Barbour
On Thursday, October 2, the Got Heart, Give Hope Celebration was held in Washington,D.C. at The Army and Navy Club.  It was a beautiful night with honorees and guest speakers that inspired everyone in the room.  In honor of our campaign this month to Give HOPE and Share HOPE, we highlight how many ways HOPE was given and shared in just one night.




SGT Eric Hunter and his wife Kenna

Give HOPE

  • Many individuals donated to Hope For The Warriors through a direct donation or through auction items. 
  • Corporate sponsors included Raycom Media, Altria Group, L3 Communications, Plaza Construction, and many more.
  • Holding the event at The Army and Navy Club was made possible through the support of Holland & Knight.
  • Several organizations talked about hosting future fundraising events for Hope For The Warriors.
  • Photographer P.J. Barbour donated his time and services as a photographer for the event.
Singing the National Anthem


Share HOPE
  • HOPE was shared by each honoree and guest speaker.  Honorees were: SFC Gary Everett, USA (Ret.), SPC Edward Heddinger, USA (Ret.), and Jeff and Maura Brodeur, Courageous Caregivers.
  • Honoree 1LT Brian Donarski, USA (Ret.) could not attend because he was playing golf with former President George W. Bush.  However, he still inspired the room with his video, highlighting HOPE.
  • Guest speakers led so many to be inspired.  Emcee, 1LT Edwin Salau, USA (Ret.); COL David W. Sutherland, USA (Ret.); and closing remarks from GEN Richard Cody, USA (Ret.).  We are so thankful for the support of these fine men.
  • Many of you shared photos and your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter, letting your followers know about HOPE.
  • Local 5th grader, Zara Karim, sang the National Anthem for all to properly honor our flag and our country.
  • Medal of Honor recipient Col Barney Barnum, Jr., USMC (Ret.) presented his Challenge Coin to each honoree and to our young singer.  All were honored to meet this hero.
  • And more!

COL David Sutherland, USA (Ret.), presents award to honoree, SPC Heddinger

Thank you to all that attend and support this year's Got Heart, Give Hope Celebration in Washington, D.C.  Visit www.gotheartgivehope.org to learn more about the final Celebration in Boston.

Staff Give Hope and Share Hope Everyday!