Thursday, January 30, 2014

FOCUS Study Opportunity in San Antonio/Bethesda

Today we share a partnership that Hope For The Warriors® has with FOCUS-CI in the San Antonio and the Bethesda areas.
FOCUS-CI, which stands for Families OverComing Under Stress- Combat Injured, is a two year longitudinal time series design with both a control and an intervention group. Both groups will receive additional community resources and referrals.

The study is looking for combat-injured service members with at least one child that was born around the time of the injury.  Criteria has recently expanded to now include service members that have been injured post-9/11.  The service member can be active duty, discharged, retired, reservist, etc. and must live within a three hour radius around the San Antonio area or within the Bethesda area.

For more information, please refer to the above document and the link below.  If you would like to first discuss with a Hope For The Warriors® staff member, contact ChrystalThompson for the San Antonio area.  For the Bethesda area, please contact Dana Thompson.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Run For The Warriors in Jacksonville

The Run For The Warriors in Jacksonville is not only the first race that Hope For The Warriors ever organized, it is the race that started our entire organization.  The goal of the race was first and foremost to honor wounded service members and give them the Homecoming celebration that they missed.  The second goal was to raise funds to help those same service members and military families.

Those two goals remain today.  Registration is now open for the 9th Annual Run For The Warriors in Jacksonville.  The race will be held on Saturday, May 17 and includes a Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and 1-Mile Walk/Run.  To register, visit  Register early to get the best prices. 

Not in NC?  We have many other great races around the country planned.  Visit our race web page to learn more.

Donate Today

Friday, January 24, 2014

Granting Wishes

Through the A Warrior's Wish® program, Hope For The Warriors® has granted many Wishes throughout the years. Some Wishes have been practical—flight school tuition, a handicap accessible van, or a service dog.  Other Wishes have been exciting—a dream wedding, a family trip to Disney World, tickets to see a favorite team at the Super Bowl.  Regardless of the type of Wish or the amount, the goal of each Wish is to bring hope to the service member, their family and their community.

Soon, our Wish Committee will meet to determine the Wishes that we will next grant.  In the meantime, we share with you the speech that one Wish recipient gave at Camp Lejeune when NASCAR driver Ryan Newman came to visit.  David's Wish was for tools to aid his new woodworking business and granting his Wish changed his life and for his young family.  (Read more.)


The last time I was here (Wounded Warrior Battalion), I was being presented with my ensign at my retirement ceremony. That was just over six months ago, and even though I knew that I was being medically retired, it was a really scary time. I have a hard enough time trusting people, and essentially, when you exit the Marine Corps, you're trusting all of these people, most of whom you've never met, to do their jobs with enough synchronization so that you don't go into civilian life both broken AND broke.

I had a great plan. At least- on paper. I was going to start a woodworking business, mainly because woodworking had been my best therapy while going through the post-injury process. While I had the skill set needed to operate a full shop- I didn't have...a full shop. I had the hand tools that I inherited from my grandpa, who was a carpenter; a few more that I had purchased; a cheap table saw and a Dewalt benchtop planer. I was determined to run my business, even if it meant working myself into the ground. I was working out of my garage (that's where I did powertool work) and my 12x16 shop (which is strictly for hand tools; as I like to say- that's where the magic happens). Everybody out there right now thinking to themselves "how does a guy with a busted back make furniture, especially for a living?" Well, it took a lot of adjustments, lots of reteaching muscles and muscle groups to compensate for my back- but, ultimately, I would need machines. Ones to take care of the vast majority of what would have otherwise been (further) backbreaking work. I needed industrial machines. Machines that performed very well and left a surface that wouldn't take an unreasonable amount of hand work to make furniture-worthy. But yeah, those industrial machines... Those are really expensive.

So there it was, the gap in my plan. I could have taken out a small business loan, but with a brand new baby at that time, and I was just getting out, I was just too afraid. And then Jaqui, my RCC, suggested that I apply for A Warrior’s Wish® from Hope For The Warriors®. Essentially, I submitted a packet which included the necessary medical documentation, my business plan, and an essay outlining why I deserved to be granted my Wish.
The day before my End of Service date, I got a call while my gunny was signing my checkout sheet from a number that I didn't recognize. I didn't fully believe it at first, but my Wish had been granted!! I was incredibly excited, but not nearly as excited as I was when the building company delivered my new steel shop, and the UPS big rig pulled into my neighborhood, filled with glistening machines. Once those giant industrial machines were sitting in my driveway, it really sank in. How much my life had just changed. I was now able to step into the shoes that I was meant to fill. I had a REAL shop. I considered my hand tool shop to be very real, don't get me wrong, but when people would visit and see it, there was usually a 'nice' or some comment on the organization of the tools. I have never had anyone walk into my new shop, comfortably fitted with eight Large Lovingly Luminated and Lubricated Lumber Loppers who hasn't given some kind of resounding noise of awe. And resounding noises of awe are ALWAYS welcome in my shops. Either one, although my hand tool shop has been feeling a little neglected and could probably use the louder awes.
On a serious note, (as clichĂ© as this is gonna sound) I don't know where I'd be without the folks here at the Wounded Warrior Battalion and especially Hope For The Warriors®. The battalion staff helped me to put some of the pieces of my life back together, and always had my back. Hope For The Warriors® gave me, no strings attached, the tools necessary to build my dream. I will always be grateful. Far, far beyond grateful.
Learn more about Hope For The Warriors®

Monday, January 20, 2014

Scholarships Spring 2014

Hope For The Warriors® is proud to announce the recipients of their Spouse/Caregiver Scholarships for the Spring 2014 college semester.  Each awardee is the spouse of a wounded service member and pursuing an advanced degree at an accredited university. 

Scholarship recipients are:
Joanna Stafford, attending Mississippi University for Women, Shannon Maxwell Honorary Scholarship.

Elizabeth Wilkins, attending University of Houston-Clearlake, Bonnie Amos Honorary Scholarship.
Shayna Teunissen, attending Kaplan University, Karin Dickerson Honorary Scholarship.

Each scholarship is named after a Marine wife who helped to found Hope For The Warriors® in 2006. 
The Spouse/Caregiver Scholarship Program identifies, recognizes, and rewards spouses/caregivers for their strength, fidelity, and resolve despite adversity. Scholarships aid in continued education at a reputable, accredited university, college, or trade school for spouses/caregivers as they assume critical roles in the financial wellbeing of their families. For more information, contact Brian Schiller, Senior Director, Employment & Education,

“Hope For The Warriors® congratulates each spouse for their strength, courage and determination as they face their family’s challenges head on,” Robin Kelleher, Hope For The Warriors® President said.  “We are proud to support their goals.”

Visit Hope For The Warriors® website

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Professional Development Seminar: Washington DC

Hope For TheWarriors® will hold a one day Professional Development workshop on Thursday, February 6 in Washington DC.  The workshop will focus on transitioning out of the military and into new civilian employment/career.  Participants will also be prepared to attend a job fair hosted by an outside source the next day, Friday, February 7. 

Hope For The Warriors® is seeking:

  1. Service members/veterans in the Washington DC area who need assistance in transitioning or career support.  This seminar is open to all military members.  Travel is not included.
  2. Volunteers to work one-on-one with participants in the areas of resumes, interviewing, and public speaking skills.
  3. Office space to conduct the workshop.

Please contact Connie Morinello,, to learn more.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Two Guitars: A Wish Granted

"The guitar is a miniature orchestra in itself."
--Ludwig van Beethoven

For some, music is simply noise in the background; for others, music is an art form that brings them joy and even hope.  For one Marine, music, and specifically creating music, was therapeutic and life changing. This Marine spent several years dealing with multiple operations for a brain tumor and thyroid cancer, all while battling PTSD.  The one source of hope he found was through playing guitar, an instrument that a friend had taught him when stationed in Okinawa. 
His Wish to Hope For The Warriors® was a simple one—he simply wanted an electric guitar.  He has explained that the electric guitar was easier on his hands to play than his acoustic guitar.  He also shared with Hope For The Warriors® “Even when I have an insomnia-filled night or just lose interest in doing anything that I used to, it always seems to be something I can fall back on and know that by playing, regardless of my abilities, I have something that I can sit back and just use to pour the emotions out without turning to alcohol or more periods of rage and violence.”

Hope For The Warriors® was happy to grant this Wish and through a special connection, was able to take one more exciting step.  Always a champion for others, Zac Brown generously donated an autographed guitar to this young Veteran.  Knowing that the autographed guitar would better serve as a token of hope and appreciation, Hope For The Warriors® obtained another guitar from Gibson for the young musician to play. 

Thank you to Zac Brown and the Zac Brown Band, Gibson Guitars and to all of our generous donors who made granting this Wish possible. Learn more about A Warrior's Wish® Program

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Run For The Warriors 2014

Each year, races are held throughout the country to honor those wounded in combat and families of the fallen.  We hope that you can find a race close to you and join us for these inspiring events.  We will keep all of you posted when registration opens for each race. Be sure to "Like" our Facebook page to keep up with information too!

2014 Run For The Warriors® Locations and Upcoming Dates:

•May 17 - 9th Annual Run For The Warriors® Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, 1-Mile Walk/Run, Jacksonville, NC

•June 8 – 5th Annual Big Apple Run For The Warriors® 5K, 1-Mile Walk/Run New York, NY

•July 4 – 3rd Annual New Bern Run For The Warriors® 5K, New Bern, NC

•August 17– 5th Annual Sunset Run For The Warriors® 10K, 1-Mile Walk/Run, Shelton, CT

•September 14 – 2nd Annual New Jersey Auto Retailers Run For The Warriors® 5K and 1-Mile Walk/Run, Holmdel, NJ

•September 21 – 3rd Annual Harmon Meadows Run For The Warriors® 5K and 1-Mile Walk/Run, Secaucus, NJ

•October 12 – New Orleans Run For The Warriors® Sponsored by the ASA 5K, New Orleans, LA

•November 9 - 7th Annual Long Island Run For The Warriors® 10K, 5K, 1-Mile Walk/Run, Lindenhurst, NY        

Photo by Paul Oberle

Still Planning:

•April 5th – Inaugural SIU Run For The Warriors® 5K, Carbondale, IL

•April 26th – 6th Annual Rutgers ROTC Run For The Warriors® 5K, Piscataway, NJ

•July – San Diego Run For The Warriors® 5K, 1-Mile Walk/Run, San Diego, CA

•September 19th/20th – Inaugural Tampa For The Warriors® 5K, 1-Mile Walk/Run, Tampa, FL

•December – Inaugural Houston Run For The Warriors® 5K, 1-Mile Walk/Run, Houston, TX