Friday, June 26, 2015

Team Hope For The Warriors® Newsletter: June

Team Hope For The Warriors® Members,

Team Hope For The Warriors® registration is rolling for many popular fall events! Our bibs for the Marine Corps Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon 10K, Army Ten-Miler, and TCS NYC Marathon are going fast. If you, or anyone you know is interested in competing in these events on Team Hope For The Warriors® register quickly as we have limited bibs for each race.

Below are the confirmed dates and races for 2015

Army Ten Miler* Oct. 11, 2015

Marine Corps Marathon* Oct. 25, 2015
Marine Corps Marathon 10K 

TCS NYC Marathon Nov. 1, 2015 

*Handcycle friendly race

Fundraising Tip:

Let friends and family know who and what they are supporting by donating. Share your personal story of why you're supporting military families. Also, share a Hope For The Warriors® blog post with your supporters so they can see the impact of their donation. Keep supporters updated on your training and fundraising progress as you approach race day.

Training Tip:

Now that it’s summer time, the days are longer and the temperature is higher. Consider these tips for warmer weather training:
  •  In humid climates, the coolest part of the day is at dawn. In less humid climates, the coolest part of the day is in the evening time. If you cannot run in the coolest part of the day, pick a shady course to keep yourself out of the sun. 

  • Acclimate yourself to the weather. Start slow if you haven’t been in the heat for a while and increase your time outside as you progress weekly. On days when the temperature is really high, consider keeping your workout indoors or go for a swim. 

  •  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! You will lose water and electrolytes faster in the warmer weather. Drink more water than the recommended amount in order to replace the amount of water you lose through sweat. Be sure to get water from all the water stations during races or keep water with you as you train.
  •  Be sure to give yourself at least one day of rest each week. Take some time off so your body can recover. Without rest, you will be more prone to injuries and negatively affect your progress. Spend the day with family and friends to enjoy the summer time. 

Team Member Corner: Nelson Pacheco

Written by his daughter, Isabella Pacheco, as Nelson is currently serving in Afghanistan on his 5th tour. Both Isabella and Nelson will be running the 2015 TCS NYC Marathon this fall. 

My dad, Nelson Pacheco, has been active in the Air Force for the past 33 years and continues to serve his country selflessly, now on his 5th tour. He is a man of great spirits, full of joy, and proud to serve in the military. Running on Team Hope For the Warriors® is one of the many ways my dad helps our men and women who are fighting for our country. He runs with a spirit of devotion and care for our soldiers. He has been running for the past 20 years and introduced me to the great sport. Running is not only a sport to my father and I, but also a way we help provide for the needs of service members and give attention to great organizations like Hope For The Warriors®. My dad volunteers and devotes himself to others, which I’ve admired throughout my life. He is my role model, my loving dad, and an inspiration to many. I salute my dad and all the warriors who protect our way of life. 

Program Information:

Team Gear:
There are new items coming soon to the online store, including a sleeveless Team jersey! As a member of our Team, you can save 10% on all online store items. As you train, be sure to proudly wear the Hope For The Warriors® logo so that people know the reason for your hard work. Visit and use the discount code TEAMH4W.

Charity Navigator:
For the fourth year in a row, Hope For The Warriors® has received a four-star rating on Charity Navigator. This exceptional rating, achieved by only 8% of the nonprofits they evaluate, highlights Hope For The Warriors® financial responsibility to the service members, military families, and families of the fallen we support. Team members can continue to ask people to donate towards fundraising goals with confidence! We invite you to view their latest evaluation of our efforts on the Charity Navigator website.

A Warrior’s Wish®:
This year, Hope For The Warriors® will grant 11 wishes to support service members, veterans, and military families. The nature of these Wishes will vary in scope from business, fitness, financial, and outdoor-related. The enrichment process will continue long after the Wish is granted to promote stability within the lives of these heroes and their families. As the Wishes are granted we will share the stories in the upcoming newsletters. Learn more about A Warriors Wish®

For more information please contact Steve Barto at

Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival:

Hope For The Warriors® will have a team in the 2nd Annual Dragon Boat Race Festival at the harbor of Port Jefferson Village, NY on Saturday, September 19, 2015 at 9 A.M. Please visit for more information or contact Jennifer Friedel at if you are interested in participating with Hope For The Warriors®.  

Rock ‘n’ Roll Series:
The Rock ‘n’ Roll race series has teamed up with everydayhero as their official fundraising platform. You can now run in any Rock ‘n’ Roll event and raise funds for Hope For The Warriors! Beginning March 1st, every race participant will be asked if they want to fundraise on behalf of their favorite cause during the race registration process. When you register and are asked to choose your charity, pick Hope For The Warriors® and you will automatically be given a Rock ‘n’ Roll everydayhero fundraising page!  

USA Track & Field (USATF):
Hope For The Warriors® is now a USATF Organization and if you are also a USATF member you can now run for Hope For The Warriors® as an organization! Furthermore, you can compete in the USATF championships. For more information please contact Steve Barto at

Educated Running, Form 101: 
Check out the video of Team Hope For The Warriors® member reviewing her running form. She worked with running coaches and discussed a number of easy ways to improve running form through body posture, cadence, foot-strike, and more at NYC JackRabbit. 

Run For The Warriors®:
Registration is now open for the following Run For The Warriors® events:
  • 4th Annual New Bern Run For The Warriors® Register
  • 6th Annual Sunset Run For The Warriors® Register
  • 5th Annual Harmon Meadow Run For The Warriors® Register
  • ASA Sponsored Run For The Warriors® Register
  • 8th Annual Long Island Run For The Warriors® Register 
For the complete list of races visit, check back frequently for more registration pages coming soon.

More Athletic Events Around the Country: 

HyVee Pinky Swear 5K Family Run: For more information please visit:

HyVee Pinky Swear Kid’s Triathlon:
For more information please visit: 

Representing the Team:

Be sure to shoot us an email with your race schedule and where you will be wearing your Team jersey. Each time you wear your jersey, you help our mission to restore self, family, and hope. Feel free to share photos and special stories too!

Important Links For Social Media:

Twitter use #TeamH4W

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Scholarship Recipient Honors Her Husband's Goals

In an interview with Hope For The Warriors®, former Spouse/Caregiver Scholarship recipient, Katie Hubbard, shares the scholarship's impact on her education, a goal her late husband wanted her to pursue. 

Katie lives in Kansas and is enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University working toward her Master's as a Psychology major. She heard about the scholarship from another widow. Katie's husband served in the Army and the scholarship encouraged her to make a better life for herself and her son through education.

When asked how it will impact her future with her son, Katie explained that furthering her education was something her husband always wanted for her.

This scholarship opportunity has helped me not only to continue my goals, but the goals of my late husband. He wanted me to continue my education, and I feel this program is a way to keep his goal. The scholarship was a tremendous help in being able to afford school and paying for books. There are not many scholarships available for Master's degree programs, so any assistance is greatly appreciated in lowering the amount of debt I will have to take out to ensure the completion of this program. Graduating from this degree program will help to show my son that no matter what life throws at you and occurs, you can reach your goals. There are people out there that want you to succeed, and with determination it will happen.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Scholarship Recipient Shares its Impact on Her Professional Life

In an interview with Hope For The Warriors®, former Spouse/Caregiver Scholarship recipient, Kara Gardner, shares the scholarship's impact on her education and career since graduating in December 2012.

How did this scholarship impact your education?

This scholarship assisted me a great deal and allowed me to focus on my education without the burden of student loans or working a second job. I attended a private college because that was the only school in my area with my program of study. The tuition and fees associated with a private college were much more then the VA was able to support so this scholarship really helped to fill the gap. 

What university or certification program did you attend?
I attended Clark Atlanta University for the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program.

Are you currently working and if so is it in the area/field for which you got your degree/certification?

I work in higher education and my degree was in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. I'm working in Institutional Advancement within higher education.

How did the scholarship affect your family?

I'm a family of one, but I have been a positive example for my nieces and nephews. My spouse was in the Army and KIA.

How did the scholarship impact your career?

I was able to get a better job with increased education. I am doing much better professionally and climbing the ladder. I probably would not have been able to complete my degree without the support from the Hope For The Warriors® Spouse/Caregiver Scholarship Program. 

To find out more about the Spouse/Caregiver Scholarship, including its impact on military families nationwide, visit our website and read our blog

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Father & Army Veteran Granted His Lawnmower Wish

Just in time for Father’s Day, we highlight one retired Army veteran who struggled with his role in the family after a below-the-knee amputation limited his mobility with daily responsibilities around the house.

On June 15, 2012, SGT Sean Karpf, USA was serving as the squad leader for a weapons squad on his second deployment to Afghanistan when he stepped on a pressure plate IED. As a result of the blast, he now has a below-the-knee amputation on his left leg, a compressed disc in his back, and post traumatic stress injury.

After his injury, Sean faced challenges while transitioning home to Florida, depending on his wife and two young children to maintain the household. To be part of his family’s normalcy he wanted to share the load and assist them with the upkeep. Sean enjoyed household maintenance before his debilitating injuries and now wanted nothing more than to be able to mow the lawn. To support his young family, Sean applied to the A Warrior’s Wish® Program for a basic riding lawnmower to help care for their property.
Hope For The Warriors® connected Sean and his family to their local Jacksonville, Florida Home Depot to choose a lawnmower and fulfill his Wish. With the guidance of professionals at Home Depot, he was able to identify the perfect lawnmower to comfortably suit his amputation. Hope For The Warriors® purchased the lawnmower and it was delivered to him by the Home Depot team members who assisted him in the store.

With the encouragement of his family and the help of his community, Sean overcame his physical challenges, rejoined his family’s routine, and adjusted to his new life. And with that newfound pride and confidence comes a brighter future. Sean is currently pursuing a degree in Sports Science, with future goals to become an Athletic Trainer or Physical Therapist.

Happy Father’s Day to fathers everywhere, including those who are serving or have served in the military. Your sacrifices and unconditional dedication to family are remembered today and every day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Scholarship Recipient Shares its Impact on Her Family, Career, & Future

In an interview with Hope For The Warriors®, former Spouse/Caregiver Scholarship recipient, Elizabeth Wilkins, shares the scholarship's impact on her education, her family, and her future.

What university or certification program did you attend and when did you graduate? 

I just graduated on May 17, 2015 with a Master’s Degree in Family Therapy from the University of Houston–Clear Lake in Houston, TX.

How did you hear about the scholarship program?

I first heard about the Spouse/Caregiver Scholarship Program through a forum for caretakers of wounded warriors called Hearts of Valor, which is operated by Operation Homefront. In the forum, caretakers could share their experience, ask questions, or just have a safe place to vent, knowing that anyone who read their post would understand much more of what they were experiencing than the majority of people they might encounter that day. There was also a section for sharing the names of programs, scholarships, etc. that could be beneficial to the wounded warrior or his or her spouse, which is where I saw a list of scholarships for spouses of veterans.

In what branch of service did your spouse serve?

My husband was in the Army from 2004-2008. He was injured in an IED attack in Ramadi, Iraq in 2007 and was medically discharged.

How did the Spouse/Caregiver Scholarship impact your education?

Receiving the Bonnie Amos Scholarship greatly impacted not only my education but also my emotional well-being. At the time, my family was struggling financially and the severity of my husband’s PTSD symptoms had increased to what felt like an unbearable level. Receiving the scholarship was such a blessing, as it kept our other resources from having to stretch quite so thin. Additionally, the scholarship gave me a much-needed emotional boost. I was physically and emotionally exhausted from the constant battle with the VA to get my husband the help he needed. I remember feeling that nothing in any part of my world was working. I also remember how wonderfully validating it felt when after all this, someone decided I was worthy of the award.

How did the scholarship affect your family? 

The scholarship positively affected my family and marriage by allowing me to continue to focus on and pursue my passions without having to stretch our financial resources quite so thin. Additionally, since it was a scholarship for spouses and caregivers, my husband, who was really struggling with his PTSD at the time, was able to feel like he was able to offer something that I wouldn't have qualified for without his service. Feeling that he was able to contribute in that round about way was helpful for him and in turn beneficial to our relationship. 

What are your future career goals? 

My goal right now is to find a job! But in all seriousness, I want to continue offering therapy to individuals and families who need it, whether that is through a community health agency or private practice. I also want to continue working with veterans and their families in some form. It seems that my experience as the spouse of a veteran has been beneficial in working with other spouses and families who know that I understand at least a little of what they're going through. 

I'm also very interested in integrating a form of biofeedback therapy called neurofeedback into my practice at some point in the future. My husband began doing neurofeedback to treat his PTSD and TBI about six months ago, and the results have been amazing. I'd love to become trained and certified to offer that in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy. 

How do you foresee the scholarship impacting your career?

When I decided to return to school, I knew I wanted to work in some form with veterans’ families. Knowing I wasn’t the only spouse of a veteran living with the effects of PTSD, I wanted to help other families who were experiencing the same or similar difficulties. More and more focus has been given to the increasing need for veterans’ mental health care, but little focus has been placed on those who live with or take care of those veterans. It was those spouses, children, or parents I wanted to work with in particular. The scholarship played a large role in helping me gain the training and experience necessary to accomplish those goals.

Elizabeth and her husband, Joel

Elizabeth now serves other military spouses and caregivers as a Spouse/Caregiver Scholarship committee member and works as a marriage and family therapist and neurofeedback therapist at an interdisciplinary clinic.

"I felt so helped and validated by the program when I received the scholarship, and I feel honored to be able to participate and give back," Elizabeth shared. 

Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your story!

Monday, June 1, 2015

In Memory, In Gratitude, In Solidarity

By Jessica McKinney

The beautiful thing about memories of those loved and lost is that there are so many ways in which these recollections can manifest. The bittersweet remembrance of a loved one can be conjured up in the most vivid of ways by the most minor and mundane of occurrences—the shape of a young woman’s smile identical to her late grandmother’s, the cackle of a young man’s genuine laugh reminiscent of his fallen brother’s, the mild shuffle in an older man’s gait unmistakably inherited from his father. For those without a personal connection to those lost, such affections may flit by as routine, unremarkable, inconsequential; however, for those encountering a memory rekindled, these moments can be inexplicably powerful.

Is the prior knowledge of a person individually, however, necessary to feel a personal connection to his or her life? Only a week ago, our nation came together to commemorate those in our military who selflessly made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our way of life. Sitting in the audience of the memorial ceremony during the King’s County 148th Memorial Day Parade, listening attentively to the tear-jerking reading of the individual names of the fallen who resided in the local community, I pictured what it would be like to know each of them personally. What types of inside jokes did they share with their siblings? What were their formative memories with their oldest friends? What genre of music stirred their souls? What was it about their lives, their values, their character that motivated them to become a part of something bigger than themselves while knowing that they could lose it all for the sake of many who they would never even meet?

My heart is with the Gold Star Family members who now carry the torches of their fallen loved ones and must serve as the sole respondents of these most personal questions. While Memorial Day may be a week in the past—with wreaths delicately laid and poetic melodies of Taps faded into the distance—the sobering reality of the impact such sacrifices have on a family is something our Gold Star community members must live with every single day. And while those of us fortunate enough not to have endured such a loss could never purport to understand such tragedy, we can still offer our expressions of support, compassion, and sensitivity on a personal and heartfelt level—and on an ongoing basis. We can acknowledge that one person’s seemingly perfunctory remark or mannerism could unearth a wave of emotion and poignant, bittersweet remembrance for one coping with a loss. Better yet, we can weave the solidarity and principles of Memorial Day consciously into our everyday routines, offering our utmost expressions of support and gratitude to all military families for whom sacrifice and service are a way of life—without needing a national holiday to serve as a reminder to do so.

Will you join me in thanking a military family today?