News Flash September 2017
OLD GLORY newsletter has over 3200 subscribers in the U.S., to include readership in Canada, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Australia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Bahrain.
It was 2015 when I first met the founder of Wish for our Heroes, Jeff Wells. I had literally chosen his organization based on a single referral when I was considering our first fundraising event to benefit other like-minded non-profit service organizations. When Jeff arrived on location for the event in May of 2015 I had no clue about him and his organization and he had no idea about us. The fact is that he stated, “ya’ll provide the same services as we do – why are you fundraising for us?” My response was ” we are all on the same team!” Little did I know how this quit soldier and his Wish for our Heroes organization was setting the GOLD STANDARD for non-profits delivering on what they were set up to do – help others!
Over the course of the next 2 years, Jeff and his staff were responsible for handing out over $30,000 to ACTIVE DUTY soldiers in need, directly related to the SS American Memorial.
Since their founding in 2009, this SILENT GIANT has handed out over $12 million in assistance to military families.
Wish for our Heroes started their charity by taking donations at traffic intersections and state fairs, and by sending emails asking for donations $1, or any amount that could be spared. Their thought process was that a charity didn’t have to carry large overhead, or hire a full staff of employees, to make a difference. To this day, they still have one part-time employee who handles accounting. Every other member of the charity is a volunteer, and there are more than 300 regular volunteers across the country who have made W4OH what it is today. Since inception W4OH has operated with below 5% administrative cost, which is lower than the 10% gold standard that most people look for in charities. Most importantly, in the past 8 years, they have provided more than $12 million in assistance to military families struggling with basic needs; food, shelter, transportation, child needs, etc.
With chapters in Indiana, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Washington DC, and Texas, W4OH have granted wishes in 49 out of 50 states. They continue to rely upon their blue-collar roots, as the majority of fundraising consists of small donations made by people who are passionate about assisting military families struggling with basic needs.
When hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, Wish for our Heroes went outside of their typical assistance arena (active duty military) providing over $10,000 a day going down to the coast helping all TEXANS in need – Jeff said – “it was just the right thing to do!”
I am proud to say that YOUR SS American Memorial Foundation is associated with Jeff Wells and WISH FOR OUR HEROES – A big thank you for helping our fellow Americans!
I encourage everyone to donate to this organization and feel comfortable knowing that your dollars are going towards EXACTLY as you intended it to be – to help others!
More important I am HONORED to call him my shipmate!
Craig G Russell – Founder SS AMERICAN MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
Staying strong: Strongman seminar look to inspire veterans
Encouraging and inspiring veterans is one of the goals a local organization and two San Antonio residents have for their new seminars.
SS American Memorial Foundation, World Champion Powerlifter and World Champion Strong Woman Jill Mills and U.S. Marine Veteran Jose Luis Sanchez teamed up to host free health and wellness courses for veterans, first responders, and their families.
The first class — the Adaptive Strongman Seminar — kicked off on Sunday at the Lazy U Ranch, 450 Naumann Road.
“The first one was for those interested in strongman lifting,” SS American Memorial Foundation President Craig Russell said. “We had a great turnout. We probably had at least 20 to 30 disabled veterans.”
Strongman lifting is a national and worldwide weightlifting sport that focuses on physical strength, speed, and endurance, he said.
“This seminar showed attendees how to get into this sport, how to train for it and how to properly lift for the different events that are held during the competition,” Russell said.
For local veteran Dina Dillon, attending the event came from a fascination she’s always had for strongman competitions.
“I was interested because Jill is a winner of the strongman competition for the female division and I thought it would be an interesting introduction to how to lift properly and see the events that strongmen do,” Dillon said. “I’ve seen some of the shows on TV, and I just wondered if they were the same for women because I’ve only seen the men do it. So that kind of interested me.”
During the seminar, Mills and Sanchez took attendees through the different activities they could encounter in a strongman competition such as a tire pull, clean and jerk, overhead squat and a concrete ball lift.
Mills currently trains the San Antonio Fire Department for strength and conditioning, and Jose Luis Sanchez is a retired marine who competed in the 2017 Boston Marathon with a prosthetic leg after stepping on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan six years ago.
However, it wasn’t just Mills and Sanchez who were demonstrating, Russell said.
“(Mills) had a number of world competitors come in from Harlingen, Ohio, and Dallas as part of the coaching team for the attendees,” he said.
Colby Colchado Jr., James Spurgin, and Travis Hoerth were a part of those world champion competitors, Russell said.
By having Colchado, Spurgin and Hoerth attend the workshop and share their stories, it showed the veterans that anything is possible, he said.
“(Colby) is a 55-year-old blind man that is partially deaf and holds the blind man world record for 500 plus bench press,” Russell said. “Then (James) has one functioning arm and he showed them how to lift a 200-pound ball of concrete with one arm around his head. Travis has no use of his legs and he is a world competitor. He is in a wheelchair and he does all of the events in the competition.”
“By having these guys there, it inspires everybody and shows them that anything can be done no matter what your disability is. You can overcome it.”
Mills and Sanchez plan to host other seminars either monthly or quarterly, Russell said.
For future events, visit www.facebook.com/SSAmericanMemorial.com.
September 30 – 91st Eng Battalion 1st CAV reunion-PRIVATE
October 8 BAMC/RTP
October 13 – Freedom Friday
October 15 – Freedom Chapel
October 21 – 264 Med Bat Ft. Sam Houston
November 4 – Girls Scouts Campout – PRIVATE
All events unless noted “Private” are open to public participation. Use of memorial recreation grounds and facilities are FREE of CHARGE – we are a 100% donation based organization.
Contact us at riohondo@lazyuranch for event information, volunteerism, and donor questions.
Planning has begun!
Mark your calendars!
We are going back to our past calendar event days with the Memorial Service weekend to be held the weekend prior to the actual calendar day – July 4th. Mark your calendars for your 2018 family vacation at the Lazy U Ranch Independence Day America: September 29th – July 1st.
The SS American Memorial Foundation is a 100% donation based service organization utilizing a full VOLUNTEER workforce. We offer a variety of funds for donors to participate in with 100% of proceeds going directly to the designated fund.
Since 2015 the SS American Memorial Foundation located at the Lazy U Ranch, Seguin TX has hosted over 7000 individuals to include wounded warriors, active duty military, veterans, youth groups, Boy/Girl Scouts, church and civic organizations for day or overnight camping retreats. All events are FREE to the public with a 100% volunteer support effort.