As Armed Forces Day (the third Saturday in May) approaches, all Americans, regardless of their political affiliations, should consider ways to express our profound gratitude to the men and women who have donned the uniform and selflessly served our nation. We must unite as a nation to honor the sacrifices made by our military members and their families and reaffirm our commitment to supporting them in every way possible.

Armed Forces Day was established in 1949 by President Harry Truman to serve as a powerful reminder of the unwavering dedication and sacrifice of our military, past and present. It is a moment for national reflection, a time to cherish the freedoms we hold dear, and a time to extend our deepest thanks to those who have safeguarded America with their lives.

At Helping a Hero, we understand the weight of this responsibility. Since 2006, we have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our heroes, dedicated to supporting military personnel catastrophically injured in their service to us and to our nation. Our mission is to serve those who have served us by providing specially adapted homes for qualifying service members through partnerships with builders, suppliers, private sector patriots, and veterans themselves.

As we honor our military on Armed Forces Day, it is the perfect time to thank and support our wounded heroes who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. These courageous individuals have faced unimaginable challenges, bearing the heavy burden and a lifetime of consequences for defending the homeland. They have stared down danger, endured physical and emotional scars, and returned home forever changed. Through it all, they have displayed remarkable courage, resilience, and unwavering patriotism. Their stories are testaments to the human spirit’s ability to overcome adversity and inspire awe.

It is our duty, as a grateful nation, to ensure that our veterans are not forgotten and that they receive the support and assistance they need on their road to recovery. We are proud to announce that so many injured heroes from the Global War on Terror are and will be benefiting from the Helping a Hero “100 Homes Challenge” – an ambitious initiative launched by Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, aimed at providing specially adapted homes for 100 wounded heroes and their families. Through the generosity of our supporters, partners, and communities, we are working tirelessly to turn this vision into a reality.

Cpl. Justin Rokohl, USMC (Ret.), lost both his legs when a roadside bomb propelled him into the air through the gun turret before landing on the hood of his Humvee. Earlier this year, Helping a Hero broke ground on Justin’s future Helping a Hero home in Alice, Texas. Top custom builder Shayne Schroeder has already begun assembling the team to build the home, starting with the pledge from McCoy’s for the lumber package and interior doors and trim. Westlake Royal Window Solutions has committed the impact windows from their Krestmark line. And Chris Clark of Clark Construction has committed the concrete.  This home will include wider doors and hallways, a roll-in shower, a roll-under sink, an adapted toilet area, and a prayer garden featuring a flagpole and several trees remembering his best friend and ultimate American hero, LCpl. Colton W. Rusk, USMC, who gave his life fighting in Afghanistan. Bass Pro Shops and Richard Childress Racing have teamed up to fund the cash portion of the home. And Ashley Furniture will make sure the home has comfortable furniture to truly make this house a home. Helping a Hero works best when all of us step up and join together to serve our heroes.

The impact of these specially adapted homes cannot be overstated. For many of our wounded heroes, returning home is not a simple transition; it is a journey fraught with obstacles and challenges. These homes, equipped with state-of-the-art amenities and tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual hero, provide a sanctuary where our veterans can heal, rebuild, and reclaim their independence. Open-concept floorplans specially designed for each hero create an environment that fosters the independence and freedom our heroes need, allowing our combat-wounded heroes to regain a sense of control over their lives.

As we celebrate Armed Forces Day on May 18, 2024, let us remember those who have served our nation with valor and distinction.  To those who wore the cloth of our nation, thank you for your courage, your sacrifice, and your unwavering dedication to duty. You are the true embodiment of patriotism, and we are forever in your debt. As America looks to our future, let us continue to stand together as a nation, united in our support for our military, our veterans, and their families. Together, we can make a difference and empower our heroes to thrive and not just survive.