Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to Those Celebrating While Serving!

As families and friends gather together to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, let us us all be reminded that not all who celebrate are at home with loved ones. 

As you give thanks today, please be reminded of all the blessings you have because of the sacrifices made by our service members. 

This article puts that reality into perspective. 

On this holiday dedicated to gratitude, we say THANK YOU and Happy Thanksgiving to our service members worldwide!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Paralympic Coach Gains New Wheels from HOPE

Handcyclists at the start of the Long Island Run For The Warriors

As Sergeant Major Kevin Bittenbender and his eight comrades—all on handcycles—started the Long Island Run For The Warriors® 10K, the streets were lined with thousands of grateful Americans who stood cheering as they thanked the service members for their sacrifices. About 30 minutes after the race started, the first of this group began to reach the finish line. Each of the nine service members who received a handcycle carries a unique story of service, athleticism, patriotism, and perseverance: here is just one inspiring story of many.

Military Service
Kevin, from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, enlisted with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 1985. Throughout his time of service he has been deployed three times for Operation Enduring Freedom: once to Europe and twice to Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, Kevin was involved in nation building as he assisted, trained, and advised many units. Currently, he serves as a Senior Intelligence Sergeant (G2) with the 28th Infantry Division. Beyond his military career Kevin has a passion for sports and is dedicated to volunteerism.

Volunteer Service
In 1985, Kevin began to represent the Pennsylvania Army National Guard as a Winter Biathlon athlete and was ranked in the top 50 of the sport by the US Biathlon Association. He has also won numerous awards and has come in first place in many marksmanship competitions. In 2010 Kevin took his talent, years of training, and expert knowledge and became the U.S. Paralympics Biathlon/Nordic Shooting Coach. He volunteers his time coaching and traveling with the team, offering his skill to serve others.

Beyond his involvement in the Paralympics, Kevin continues to spend his time giving back to the community and volunteering with many different organizations. For the past two years, he has organized the Freedom Bike Ride, which takes place in Lewisburg, PA. The cyclists, including handcyclists too, ride 200-miles over four days starting in Washington, D.C., and finishing in Lewisburg, PA as they lead the county’s annual 4th of July parade. Kevin also volunteers with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and coaches many soccer teams. His altruistic attitude serves as an example for his local community and is inspiration for all who know his story.

As members of the Long Island community lined the finish of The Long Island Run For The Warriors® a tiny blur of a handcyclist crest the horizon. The cheers of the crowd grew louder as this first handcyclist approached. Being true to his athletic nature, Kevin was that first handcyclist. He was met by the warm applause of his fellow Americans who stood in awe of his perseverance and strength.

Thank you to Island Federal Credit Union and Angel Bikes for donating the nine handcycles for our warriors.  Thank you to the Long Island community for your amazing support!

The 2015 Run For The Warriors race schedule will soon be announced.  Be sure to follow on Facebook to learn more and sign up for our newsletter.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#tbt No Man Left Behind Monument

Hope For The Warriors® is still so humbled by last week's unveiling of the No Man Left Behind Monument, which we are beyond proud to share with the Marine Corps aboard Camp Pendleton. 

The first No Man Left Behind Monument was unveiled at Camp Lejeune in 2013.

The iconic photo, Hell House, captured in Fallujah by acclaimed combat photographer Lucian Read

The iconic photograph depicts then 1stSgt Bradley Kasal, USMC, risking his life for the lives of his Marines. In turn, two of his Marines, Lance Corporals Chris Marquez and Dane Shaffer, risked their lives to carry him out of the building called "Hell House." 

The monument was created by Vietnam veteran, artist, and Gold Star Father John Phelps to honor those wounded in the line of duty and those who never returned home. John's son, LCpl Chance Phelps, USMC, was killed in action in April 2004. 

Hope For The Warriors is pleased by the opportunity to unveil the monument at Camp Pendleton, where it sits as a reminder of the ultimate price of battle, the spirit of brotherhood, and dedication known by service members and their families. 

The No Man Left Behind Monument was Unveiled at Camp Pendleton on November 12, 2014.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hope For The Warriors® Makes List of Top Veteran Charities

We are very excited to announce that we have made CNBC's list of Top 10 Charities that Support Veterans. The list is based in part on Charity Navigator's rankings for each charity's financial health, accountability, and the transparency of reporting. 

According to the article, Hope For The Warriors® stands out for aiding "military families as they transition into civilian life."

We are thrilled to be recognized amongst such an incredible group of nonprofits. We are exceptionally proud to be this group's representative of support to the entire military family. Please read CNBC's full list to find out more information: 

The link has already been shared on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn so please do your part to spread the good news! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

#tbt Long Island Run For The Warriors® 2012

This Sunday is the 7th Annual Long Island Run For The Warriors® in Lindenhurst, Long Island. This photo is from the 2012 race and features two ReWalkers, who participated in the Spinal Cord Damage Research Center at the James J Peters VA Medical Center in Bronx, NY. The ReWalk is a robot-assisted exoskeleton and permits a person with motor-complete paraplegia to stand, walk over ground, and ascend/descend stairs. It was an emotional experience for everyone in the community to be part of.

For more information on the Run, visit the official race site. We hope you all will join us!