Monday, July 28, 2014

One Team Couple Shares Their Reason for Running the Marine Corps Marathon

Still wondering if you have what it takes to be part of Team Hope For The Warriors®? Longtime Team Hope For The Warriors® participant and supporter, Michele Guelfi, shares her reasons for joining the Team and supporting Hope For The Warriors® with her husband, Ed, over the years:

I made it into the NYC marathon by lottery so my husband, Ed, also an avid distance runner, wanted to find a charity he could support in order to run in the marathon as well.  After a few suggested charities he chose Hope For The Warriors® because, in his own words, it was a charity close to his heart.

Ed & Michele Guelfi at the 2013 Long Island Run For The Warriors®
Our son Cpt. Edward Guelfi was deployed to Afghanistan at the time and our son-in-law, Staff Sgt. Jim Broglie, was deployed to Kuwait. Our daughter, Sgt. Jillian Smith, is also active military and was deployed in April 2014. So, for us finding a charity that supports our military families felt like a perfect fit. 
From our first interaction with the Team in Manhattan, we were welcomed and embraced with support.  After running the marathon we knew we found a charitable organization that we could support whole-heartedly. Both of us are extremely active and race as often as we can find the time. Now linking up with Hope For The Warriors® and raising awareness and funds for this charity has given new meaning to all of our races. 

Michele Guelfi running the 2013 New York City Marathon
Running in the MCM with Hope For The Warriors® jerseys, will be another life changing experience for us. With all of the active military and military history involved in the Washington DC area, I know it will be an amazing event and a great way to honor all the men and woman that serve and have served this great country of ours.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


       



The 2014 Marine Corps Marathon is Sunday, October 26 in Washington DC and Team Hope For The Warriors® still has bibs! Register by August 6 so you don't miss out! 

And what is better than running the MCM? Running the MCM with a friend! Spread the word and connect with Team Hope For The Warriors® on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date. For more information about being part of the Marine Corps Marathon with Team Hope For The Warriors®, visit the registration page at www.hopeforthewarriors.org/MCM2014.

As a Team Hope For The Warriors® member, you will receive the following benefits:
2014 Bib/entry for the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon
10% Discount code to purchase Team jersey and other gear
Team kit which includes fundraising and training plans 
Individualized online fundraising page
Access to the post-race tent
Team calendar
Quarterly e-newsletter
Access to the Team Facebook page, Hope For The Warriors® blog and Twitter 
Invites to Team events
New Kid's Hope For The Warriors® Team opportunities

Please contact Team Hope For The Warriors® Director, Steve Bartomioli, with any questions (sbartomioli@hopeforthewarriors.org). 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#tbt Got Heart, Give Hope® Gala 2010

Brendan Marrocco, USA, (Center) receives his 
Hope & Courage Award from host Gary Sinise (Left).

The 2014 Got Heart, Give Hope® Celebration in Los Angeles is Thursday, July 24 aboard the Battleship IOWA. Find out more about the event, venue, and Hope & Courage Award Honorees here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ride Across USA Completes Their Inspiring Journey

They travelled 35 days, 2,943.2 miles, 9 states, and had one mission of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to give HOPE to our warriors. Ride Across USA’s journey across America may be over, but they’re still doing tremendous work on our behalf.  



The team raised over $15 thousand to support Hope For The Warriors®, but it’s not too late to contribute to their cause! Visit their donation page to learn more about how you can impact the lives of service members and military families nationwide.



You can see the team one more time at the Florida Marlins game on Monday, July 28. As part of Heroes Monday at Marlins Park, they will be riding their bicycles onto the field and participating in pre-game events to continue spreading awareness about their journey to support Hope For The Warriors®.


To see more photos and learn more about their journey, visit the Ride Across USA website at rideacrossusa.com


Thursday, July 17, 2014

#tbt Rockstar Mayhem

Rockstar Mayhem Concert 2011

It's summertime, and that means concert season! For the past few years we've seen a lot of support from the Rockstar Mayhem Festival, so today we acknowledge all they've done for us. The Festival is going on throughout the country for the rest of summer, so check out the schedule and artist lineup here

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Texas Networking Group Provides Many Opportunities to Local Veterans

Hope For The Warriors® is always impressed and honored when local military supporters reach out to involve us in their supportive community. We were recently contacted about a local networking group in the Dallas area led by professionals Ryan Holloway, Crystal D’Angelo, and Randy Watkins. The goal of their group, Veterans in Business, is to unite the pool of veterans looking for work in the Dallas community with local veteran-run businesses and entrepreneurs.

The group sees themselves as a conduit; trying to connect veterans while also helping local businesses prosper through this exposure will allow veterans to work with the population they want--other veterans! 

The group was started by Ryan Holloway, a Marine veteran, who organizes the group of over 400 local businesses professionals, veterans in transition and representatives from local nonprofits. Ryan met our very own Gus Cabarcas at the Dallas Veterans Resource Center and invited Gus to speak on behalf of Hope For The Warriors®. Before Veterans in Business, Ryan was an ambassador for the US Veterans Chamber of Commerce, which is what eventually led to the creation of the monthly Veterans in Business meetings. Ryan and another ambassador at the time were both hosting monthly networking meetings for veterans, so they took it upon themselves to rebrand the approach through monthly lunches in the north Dallas area and Veterans in Business was born.


Veterans in Business Members Present Hope For The Warriors® a Check Donation 

Ryan talks about how his background led him to his advocacy and involvement connecting local veterans to employment opportunities:

For me, I got out of the Marines back in 2002. I was recalled for a little bit, but at the time the job market was pretty rough and it took me a long time to find my way. I was working in different companies in corporate America, but there wasn’t anything out there for veterans locally as far as I was aware, so I wanted us all to work together through a grassroots connection. I never thought there was just one group out there doing everything for everyone, so it was a void we realized. We all want to work with veterans. I just like being around veterans. I view this as my “giving back” and like knowing at the end of the day that we’re getting veterans hired and getting the word out. We’re there as a resource helping the veterans land on their feet that much quicker.

The group is comprised solely of volunteers. It has no funding and all speakers and trainers are donated. Each organizer has a full time job outside of Veterans in Business; Crystal is a real estate agent who has worked extensively with veterans, Randy mortgages many home loans for veterans, and Ryan consults in the employee benefits and health insurance industry. They are all very aware of the gap in services to returning veterans, and, as Crystal says, they have a unique approach that sets them apart:

We get feedback that makes us unique. We come across as very welcoming. We have guys that just came back, completely in transition, they don’t know who to talk to so it’s nice for them to come in and hear someone. It’s a very relaxed environment that we want to come back to. They connect to us. It’s a nice environment for them to feel they have a place to come to once a month.

Ryan adds, “We get in what we all contribute.” 

And it seems their contributions are paying off in big ways, as they consistently get new members each month. They rely on past referrals and word of mouth to get members. And with these consistent numbers comes new projects and services they’re offering to the community. The group does a quarterly service project with other local service organizations that partake in their monthly meetings. Through this initiative, the group goes out, volunteers in the community, continuing the networking cycle one step further.

Veterans in Business is also focusing on career development this year by offering LinkedIn and social media training. They created a meetup site so members can go on and connect with one another and see the group’s upcoming events. Their meetup site is http://www.meetup.com/Veterans-in-Business/.

Their services don’t end there, as they collect $2 from attendees each meeting to donate to local nonprofits. Gus, a frequent volunteer and meeting attendant, recently collected their generous donation to Hope For The Warriors®. The selfless nature of the leaders and, therefore, the group, is something all of us working to improve the lives of our communities can aspire to. 

We are beyond proud to support and partner with Veterans in Business and look forward to many future endeavors working to support local veterans. Their next meeting is Wednesday, July 9.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Customized Bicycle Represents One Marine's Journey to Recovery

This month, a bicycle was donated to active duty Marine, Michael Politowicz. “Poli”, an active cyclist, is based at Camp Lejeune and most recently participated in the Warrior 100 Bike Ride with President Bush in Texas.

Mike’s friend, Zane Schweer, recounted specific features of this incredibly customized bike and how it positively impacts Mike's life. The two of them worked together on designs that would reflect Mike’s journey to recovery. 


The precision with which Mike and Zane searched to find the right bike, equipment, and design demonstrates how passionate Mike really is for cycling and the Marine Corps. The finished product is no ordinary bicycle. It was meticulously customized with adaptive equipment to allow Mike to ride with the comfort he once experienced and enjoyed. 

Due to his injury, he has limited wrist movement that causes his wrist and arm to ache. He often couldn't rotate his wrist enough to completely shift, resulting in discomfort that began to take a toll during and after his ride.

The limited arm/wrist movement affected his hands as well. He needed to find a handlebar that would eliminate the numbness caused from riding. After trying a few different handlebars, the Profile Design Canta carbon bar was the right choice. It is an ergonomic bar that stretches out his hands and has stopped the numbness. The carbon fiber reduces the amount of road vibration that goes into his hands. The less his hand, arm, and body have to absorb, the easier it is to ride.


According to Zane, bicycles have used cable shifting for decades, but in the past couple years electronic shifting has emerged. “Mike is a prime example of who can benefit from technology like this. With cable shifting, the cyclist has to rotate his or her wrist and push hands/fingers to shift. But for those incapable of full wrist motion, it’s hard work,” he continued.

As a result, Mike wanted to use Campagnolo EPS shifting. Electronic shifting allows a rider to simply push a button to shift. An important detail is that Campagnolo shifters are set up to use either the thumb or index finger. With it being electronic, Mike is able to easily press his thumb and/or index finger to shift. This reduces the strain and effort his wrist has to go through. 

These are all components we don’t think about when shopping for a bicycle, but when broken down show the extent to which Zane and Mike labored over making this meaningful to Mike. 

Mike had to then think of the meaning behind all of the design details of his bike. He wanted to honor Hope For The Warriors®, the Marine Corps, and his fallen brothers from combat.


On the backside of the seat tube of the bicycle, there are three Greek letters and two Lotus Flowers. The Greek letters and large gold star stand for the last name initial of his three fallen Marine brothers, painted facing the rear so they are always watching Mike's back, or his "six.” 

The Lotus Flowers represent the organization "Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness.” This is one of the very first organizations Mike came across during his rehab. They introduced him to cycling, yoga, and how changing his eating habits would help both his physical and mental health during his healing. 

With the final pieces of the design coming together, Zane explains that Mike was “adamant” on incorporating Hope For The Warriors® somehow. 


“The support, love, and accepting nature of Hope For The Warriors® created a second family for Mike. He has made inseparable bonds with the incredible staff of Hope For The Warriors® and fellow wounded soldiers and he knows they wouldn't have happened without [Hope For The Warriors®].” 

Mike and Zane worked on the design of this bike for over a year. Once it was nearing completion Mike shared one of the final pieces for helping him find peace with all that has happened to him. The bike has a metallic blue, gold, and red with a gold pearl finish painted in Jacksonville. It is, according to Zane, “a symbol of his journey.”


For more information and images of Mike’s bicycle, please visit the Jack Kane Custom Racing Bicycles website.

Thank you to Zane for providing the wonderful information to write the story of the meaningful bicycle donation to Mike Poli.

Friday, June 27, 2014

New Bern Run For The Warriors


On Thursday evening, we were contacted by someone in New Bern, informing our staff that copies of our flyer had been printed and were being sold as “tickets” to this run.  This group is in no way affiliated with Hope For The Warriors® and any money given did not come to Hope For The Warriors® or register you for the New Bern Run For The Warriors®.  Please immediately contact the police if anyone approaches you with a flyer, offering to sell you a ticket to this event. For more information on this event and to register, visit:  www.hopeforthewarriors.org/2014NewBern