For this week’s Deep Dive Series, we interviewed an amazing organization that supports veterans: Hope For The Warriors.
Hope for the Warriors will be our special guests at our Independence Party. All of the proceeds from this event will be donated to their organization. We thought we would have this intimate interview, so the clapper creators can get to know the good the organization does for veterans all over the world. Representing HFTW, we talked to their Director of Donor Partnerships, Leslie Hunt.
Keep reading this special interview as we deep dive into Hope For The Warrior’s story Make sure to tune in every Thursday at 5pm CT on our @Clappertalks account, to listen to the bonus questions that will only be available on our live radio show: Clapper Talks.
For anyone that doesn’t know in the audience. What is Hope for the Warriors?
We were founded by two Marine Corps’ spouses and we have grown into a national non-profit. We have many services and we help active veterans, their families, and the families of the fallen. One of the wonderful things about being around since the beginning is that we are seeing this grow everyday. As the need of our clients changes, we’re able to change with them. That puts us ahead of the game. Our goal here is to give a hand up, not a hand down. It’s very easy to write a check to someone in need, but that’s only going to go so far. What we do is almost like case management, we want to make sure the veterans are set for success.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What made you want to work with Hope For The Warriors?
I am a Marine Corps’ spouse. My husband did 26 years, he went to school and became a pilot. He retired 5 years ago and I lived three houses down from the co-founder of Hope For The Warriors. We lived in these amazing street in North Carolina. Every single one of us was military and we were all going through the same thing. It was a very unique situatoin. Everybody would go through difficult times, so working with the people that I’ve built this life with for 25 years is not work for me.
You mentioned a few transition programs. We’re curious about the “Spouse / Caregiver Scholarship program”. What does the Program do?
Every year we give out five scholarships. The reason we did this is because the spouse of vetarans is usually not in the veteran’s education benefits, so we offer this for them. You do have to provide an essay and an application. The committee will review it and give you an opportunity to go back to school. That was our very first program.
What about the Warrior’s wish and Warrior’s compass?
The Warrior Compass program is where if you are looking for jobs hiring veterans or resume-building services we provide that. It’s not only about financial payment, it’s about helping you and prepping you for the future.
Warrior’s Wish helps veterans start their own businesses. We set them with support to make things happen. It can be woodwork enthusiasts, artists, and even a request to help pay for your wedding. They can range from costs. You need to apply and explain why would this help you and improve your life.
What is something most people don’t know about helping veterans after they’ve served?
This is an interesting fact. People think that if we are no longer at war, then why do they need to donate to a military, veteran non-profit? We measured these statistics all the time. It takes on average 7 years after a veteran gets out of service before they reach out to us. It’s 5 years before a family member reaches out to us. What that tells you is that they’re probably not addressing their issues when they are first getting out of the military. Another reason is that they are not receiving the right treatment. Perhaps you have PTSD or TVI and they never knew about it. A lot of times are afraid or do not want to ask for help.
Tell us about the monument “No man left behind”, what’s the story behind it?
There is a gentleman named John Phelps, and his son was Chance Phelps. He was a marine who died in Iraq. There is a documentary about him and about bringing him home. The father is a sculptor and he has been with Hope For The Warriors for a long time. A lot of people don’t know that the monument comes from a photograph. It was a battle called “Hell House” where a wounded Sargeant is been carried out by two fellow Marines. It became an iconic image. John Phelps thought it would be an amazing idea to do this monument. For me, it embodies what a marine represents and how marines take care of each other during battle and leave no man behind.
Why did your organization decide to partner with Clapper for our independence event?
I feel the reason you created Clapper is the exact same reason why we created HFTW. It aligns with our passion. You guys created this app during the pandemic when everyone was feeling alone. You gave people an opportunity to build a community. That’s actually what we did during COVID. We had to adapt to raise money at that time. We couldn’t let our service members down. It’s very similar to what you all did. I was also impressed with y’all and everything you do so people can come together. For me, it was worth the time and the effort.
What are the best ways to donate or help Hope For The Warriors?
Money is easy. If you’d like to donate you can go to our website, and we can take PayPal, Venmo, etc. If you can’t afford to donate financially, that’s okay. We love volunteers. Whether you want to volunteer for events, write thank you notes or sit on a committee, there are so many opportunities. Also, word of mouth. We do not pay for advertising. We want our money to go back to our programs and services. 90.2% of every dollar goes to them. Those are the 3 ways: donate, volunteer, and spread the word.
For our latest deep dive on the Clapper Pride Panel, read here.