Why We Support Active Heroes
Philanthropy isn’t just a buzz word here at A.J. Murray’s – it’s a way of life. I think it stems from my faith along with my background in social work and social justice. Each of our family businesses have certain charitable causes that we support both with time, money and products/services. It’s also ingrained into our family culture as we select community volunteer opportunities in which our children can also participate. We want them to grow up knowing the importance of serving and giving back to the community.
That’s one of the reasons why we’ve selected Active Heroes as our charity partner at A.J. Murray’s. This is an incredible organization that gives back to active duty military, veterans and their families – the people who have already volunteered and sacrificed in numerous ways to protect and defend our country. The mission of Active Heroes is to end veteran suicide. There are 22 veteran suicides every day in the United States. This is 22 too many. Veterans may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), are struggling to adjust to life outside of a war zone, facing financial stress and difficulties finding a job after leaving the military, health issues and general family strain.
So Active Heroes has stepped up to fill the gap and support military families in a number of ways:
- Their newly opened community center offers classes and provides services to families and veterans (all for free!) including:
- financial seminars
- Crossfit & cross-training workouts
- legal aid seminars
- job search assistance
- yoga / meditation
- self defense classes
- Peer mentoring training program extends the support system of families and/or veterans by connecting them with trained community volunteers.
- Home Repair program that completes home repair projects at no cost, including installing ramps and expanding spaces to make homes accessible for wounded warriors. The organization takes on 10 home projects each year.
- They have also partnered with Sullivan University and the American College of Barbering to provide scholarships for veterans and military families to start and/or continue their education.
One of their programs I’m most excited about is the Active Heroes Retreat and Nature Park. My husband and I recently spent a few hours volunteering by clearing trails at this truly unique, 144 acre retreat center that is open on a small scale now, but will be complete in 2016. Located in Shepherdsville, KY, (just south of Louisville) this retreat center was designed by military families to help military families heal. It’s free of charge to military families and current activities include camping, cookouts, archery, hiking and a children’s playground. By 2016 there will be cabins that military families can reserve to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and reconnect with each other in solitude. At that time, families will also have access to seminars, meals and entertainment at no cost. I know this will be a place of great healing and support to families. The general public will be able to purchase passes to access the park and trails as well, so it’s another way to help support reintegration into the community.
I strongly suggest you take just a moment to read the moving story of how Troy Yocum began Active Heroes after losing a family member to suicide and seeing fellow soldiers struggle. Over 17 months he walked 7800 miles across the United States to raise awareness and money to help military families. Active Heroes grew out of those experiences. I cannot do the story justice, so take just a few minutes to read Troy’s story at the link at the top of this paragraph.
Some may think we’re trying to make a political statement by supporting a military/veteran organization, and we certainly are not. Regardless of your take on politics and war, the fact is that men and women volunteer every day to serve and protect our country. They face unfathomable difficulties, see and experience atrocities that we couldn’t even begin to imagine. Families back home suffer immensely as well with long deployments, financial and marital strain. So it doesn’t matter if you’re conservative or liberal – the fact is that military families sacrifice and the very least we can do is appreciate their service and show our gratitude by giving back however we can.
Every purchase you make from A.J. Murray’s helps support Active Heroes too! 5% of every sale goes to this top-ranked organization. Active Heroes has been recognized for its transparency and stewardship of funds, so we are confident that every dollar is well spent. Having personally volunteered at the retreat center and knowing Board members, we don’t have any qualms about supporting Active Heroes however we can.
In fact, we’ll be announcing a special promotion soon, but we’ll provide blog readers a preview now: this Veteran’s Day (Nov 11th) we’ll be donating 50% of every sale to Active Heroes. This is just a small way we can say Thank You to this deserving organization that works day in and day out to better the lives of military families and veterans.
To learn more about how you can help Active Heroes (they have projects and fundraisers all across the United States), visit www.activeheroes.org.