Wounded Heroes of America | Update
Looking back on 2015 we can say we had a busy and eventful year at Wounded Heroes of America. We helped wounded vets connect with new friends, resources and supporters. We traveled to the Navajo Reservations to learn more about our Native American veterans and what we feel is one of the most under-served veteran communities in our nation. Our hopes for 2016 is to continue with the work we have been doing, but we need more friends to walk down this road with us. If you like what we're doing to help our veterans please consider donateing (click here). To learn more about what we do, please keep reading.
From all of us at Wounded Heroes of America,
Thank you for your support and Happy New Year
2015 started off with one of our
Combat Wounded guys, Sgt Jonathan Andrade, being given
he opportunity to
represent wounded veterans in the Rose Parade, a once in a
lifetime experience. W
e also partnered with the Home Depot Foundation to assist in repairing the recently purchased home of Sgt Jose Hernandez. Like many first time home owners, Jose and his wife Beatriz had barely enough to get into their home. We
advocated on their behalf to Home Depot and they were able to bring an entire
crew of about thirty Home Depot employee volunteers to make approximately $15,000 worth of home improvements.
We got back in shape by participating in the Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10k and later on Valentine's Day, we went to San Diego to the Horse of the Sun Ranch. An event we are having again this February and are looking forward to a great day of horseback riding, archery, horse shoes and many other family activities.
- In March we recognized Wendy Menjivar for her contribution
dedication to our combat wounded and Wounded Heroes of America. There are some
key people that are always behind the scenes here at the foundation that,
without them, WHOA could not function. Our Executive Secretary Wendy Menjivar is one such person. Thank you Wendy for all you do!
- In April we honored an unsung hero of Wounded Heroes of America, Harvey Jacobson. Our Chairman of the Board and President and founder of
California Financial Partners
. He is not seen as much as he is felt. Many of the financial resources that keep our foundation functioning and
relevant to our beneficiaries are friends of Harvey Jacobson. Like him, they have huge hearts and a great appreciation for our Combat Wounded. They understand the sacrifice our veterans have made in order to protect our way of life. They recognize and appreciate the work WHOA is doing on behalf of those who have served. Harvey and his friends have stepped up in a big way to help us grow. Not only has Harvey brought a lot of his friends to support our effort, but he holds monthly classes on financial literacy for our veterans, which, by the way are both fun and educational - a rare combination.
- We have a tradition In May that
goes back to our beginning, when our beneficiaries were surviving spouses of our Fallen Warriors and the question was "who is going to send flowers for Mothers Day now that their loved one are gone?" We decided that we would. As time passed, our focus shifted towards our wounded veterans and their families. In 2015, we sent flowers to over sixty mothers. It's just something simple to say thank you for everything.
Also in May, our friends at the El Segundo and the South Bay Sunrise Rotary Club hosted The 2nd Annual South Bay Beer and Wine Festival. WHOA was
chosen to be among those to benefit from the proceeds of the event. In addition to the beer, wine, and cheese, there were hundreds of people enjoying the beautiful day and our veterans were there help out.
On Memorial Day we took part in several ceremonies; one being at Veterans Memorial Park in Redondo Beach. We served on the task force and helped to erect the movable memorial wall at one of the most beautiful Veterans Parks in California overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Redondo Beach pier.
- We had the opportunity to thank a long time supporter of
WHOA, someone who has helped us to develop our corner stone program. Ron Salisbury, owner of the El Cholo Restaurant chain. Every month Ron and his wonderful staff host Wounded Heroes of America at their La Habra restaurant whether there are ten or fifty in attendance. His generosity has made it possible for us to get together consistently. He has done this every month for years, which is
remarkable. What sets us apart from many other veteran organizations is the fellowship among our vets. This fellowship is a direct result of our monthly dinners at El Cholo.
- During 4th of July season we operate our fundraising Fireworks stand. It's a great time for friends and community to stop by, hang out and help out. We are very grateful to the City of Hawthorne for recognizing Wounded Heroes of America as the 3rd Veteran organization in the city along with the VFW and the America Legion.
Another big event in September was the annoucement of Rudy and Claudia's first baby, Victoria. Some called Victoria a miracle baby. Rudy Saavedra, one of our first wounded vets, is a paraplegic as a result of a snipers bullet in Iraq. Rudy was only given a 20% chance of ever becoming a father, but Victoria came to them as a gift and we, along with everyone else, couldn't be happier to see the new parents and their miracle baby. Welcome Victoria.
Every year the LA County Fair hosts our foundation for an all expenses paid family day. It's usually the largest gathering of veterans and their families we have. In 2015, we had over 130 people join us for a great day of fun and fellowship thanks to the LACF.
We finished September by volunteering for our good friends at the South Bay Sunrise Rotary Club. Every year they host the Ride With The Wave Bike Tour. One of the largest bike rides in the entire South Bay (over 600 riders this year). Our job is to point riders in the right direction as they negotiate a 62 mile course. We cover a
portion of the route with about 20 of our vets. It's not just that it's a great September day to be out and about, but we are also beneficiaries of the race. We've been adopted by this great bunch of Rotarians and have built a wonderful relationship with this club.
Between the months of September and December we traveled to various Federal Agencies around Southern California participating in the Combined Federal Campaign of Greater Los Angeles. Over the last several years we have been in the top 30 of approximately 2,000 eligible charities participating in the Greater Los Angeles Campaign. It seemed like every other day we were off to a different
Agency for a CFC event speaking on behalf of the foundation and our veterans.
It was also a great time for several of our vets. Jonathan Andrade, Ron Ye and Gil Rojas received Mortgage-free homes from our good friends Military Warriors Support Foundation in
cooperation with Wells Fargo. Several years ago, when one of our vets was awarded a mortgage free home, we immediately shared the information about how to apply for a
home. Since that time, twelve homes have been donated to vets connected to Wounded Heroes
Other equally life changing gifts were given to Nancy Martinez and Javier Enreque-salazar. Nancy's car was about to give out. When we learned that Progressive Insurance has a program (Keys to Progress) where on Veterans Day, they choose two local vets in need and present
them with a car. We applied on Nancy's behalf and she was chosen and awarded a 2012 (Like New) Toyota Camry. Javier had no car at all and now has an 86 Toyota Celica donated by friend of the foundation. Another vet in need of a car was James West who now has a 96 Volvo, donated from our friends at the South Bay Rotary Club. So Christmas came a little early for some of our vets.
For our Thanksgiving program (Operation Gobble Gobble) we passed out 120 turkeys, compliments of our friends at Albertsons. Vance Benet and Jody Carr, managers at Albertsons in Carson make sure that every year we have lots of turkeys for Thanksgiving for our vets. Vance, Jody and Albertsons have been great partners in caring for our vets. Their enthusiasm and commitment to our foundation is really heartwarming. The holiday season just wouldn't be what it is without their support.
We participated in Veterans Day ceremonies organized by the newly formed Hawthorne Veterans Commission
Redondo Beach Veterans Memorial Park. We ended the day at the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa for a "Night of Laughter" hosted by Hound Squad. This was our second year doing this event and another sold out nigh. Thank you to Luciano Aguilar and everyone who came out that night. We had a great time.
December - OPERATION SANTA - We spent all of December collecting donated toys, shopping, wrapping, shipping to families and delivering gifts. By the time
Christmas Eve rolled around, we had provided 67 families with Christmas presents - a total of 178 children. We visited 42 homes in 35 cities in SoCal. We shipped presents to nine states and donated gifts to the Navajo Nation. We had more contributions from individuals and organizations than previous years, which was a great way to end 2015.
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