In a small, dilapidated trailer in the middle of nowhere, a man sits with his head in his hands. On the table in front of him sits a growing pile of unopened bills. Lately, his circumstances have been more than he can handle, but pride is a difficult emotion… He was proud to enlist; he was proud to serve. He felt proud that he was called upon when our nation needed him the most, in the post 9/11 wake, and that he responded without hesitation. However his pride is also what is keeping him from asking for help: it goes against his instinct and training. He closes his eyes and takes a breath…
Across the country in Chicago, a young OIF veteran is at grave risk. He is living in a bad neighborhood and has been mugged twice in the last few months. His glasses were broken in the most recent episode. He needs help. The clock is ticking, but he’s no closer to finding an answer. There are veteran resources at his disposal, he knows, but how many would inject themselves into this situation to bring him to safety? How many would put themselves at risk… for him?
In High Ridge, Missouri, Jon Jerome was having a similar thought. Of the veteran non-profits he knew of, too often he watched as the intent became diluted, lost. Why can’t it be more simple? he thought. Why can’t it be only about the mission: to help military families? He and his two young daughters sit on their living room floor and assemble thirteen care packages that they directly send to families in need. By the next year, 100 volunteers will pitch in to send 1000 care packages in a single day: September 11, 2004.
After that, his passion caught fire.
This Hometown Support Program came from humble beginnings but pure intentions. And, as with most things that come straight from the heart, it grew into a force of good. The idea alone recruited hundreds across the country to get involved, to help give back to those who gave all, and just like that, H.E.R.O.E.S. Care was born. In 2003, Jon and his daughters made thirteen care packages in their living room. In 2004, they made 1,000. In 2007, they distributed $250,000 in material and financial aid. And in 2013, they provided 10 million in aid to struggling veterans who were completely out of options.
In this world and all of it’s complexity, some things are simple. When systems are put in place to help others, without ego or pride or motives that take away from the original intention: to help others… everything else falls to the wayside. The path becomes very clear.
Good attracts good.
Light attracts light.
H.E.R.O.E.S. Care found Chive Charities, a lasting and powerful ally.