LEADERSHIP DELIVERING RESULTS FOR OUR HEROES, THEIR FAMILIES, AND OUR COMMUNITIES!
WE PUT ACTION BEHIND THE WORDS, "THEY'LL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!"
Ensuring the names, faces, and deeds of our heroes are remembered is vitally important to our nation.
A philosophy professor named Charles E. Garman, taught Calvin Coolidge in his younger years. The future President's life of service would be influenced by Garman's words and would form his service ethic over time. Most importantly, Coolidge learned from Garman the law of service. Garman said that the law of service is that "under which men are not so solicitous about what they shall get as they are about what they shall give.”
Later President Coolidge would say those memorable words often attributed to others,
"A Nation that forgets its veterans will itself soon be forgotten!"
He understood a life of service and that it must be revered, recognized, and actively remembered.
The Remembering the Brave Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization comprised solely of volunteers who work hard and give of their personal time to ensure the names, faces, and deeds of our American heroes are forever remembered.
We accomplish our mission through numerous community activities and sporting events like the Eastern Armed Forces Memorial Match, the Mid-Western Armed Forces Memorial Match, the Run for Remembrance, displaying our Hall of Heroes Displays in communities and veteran events around the country, combining where possible our mission activities for Gold Star families with our wounded warriors, various social engagements and educational lectures, and our Remembering the Brave ceremonies.
Visit our volunteer page to help us establish new ways to accomplish our mission in your area!
Everyone who volunteers with Remembering the Brave has a giving heart and deeply understands the importance of remembering those we have lost in war and to the pains of war after returning home.
Consider joining our mission with a financial gift or a gift of your time at one of our events and help us to ensure that the names, faces and deeds of our heroes are forever remembered!
RTB metrics for addition to the website to help inform the public, volunteers, and other prospective donors of the activities we participate in and the general proportions of funds and their sources that contribute to making these activities possible depending upon funding raising success and the volunteer efforts able to assist with bringing these events to fruition.
Join the Cause!
February 22, 2019
I wish to write to you today because I believe that some may be confused about the reasons upon which Remembering the Brave was founded and the ongoing activities and strategy the organization uses to not only accomplish its mission but also to sustain its resources. Some of you know this because you have been involved a long time (almost 14 years now). But, some of you may not.
For a number of years, I was a Casualty Assistance Calls Officer and was responsible for the largest area in the country during a time when U.S. Forces were engaged heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan. During this time and after meeting many Gold Star Families (Mothers, Fathers, brothers, sisters, wives and children) who I would come to know, love, and cherish, I heard a consistent theme that emanated from their hearts. It was clear that above all else, what they wanted was to ensure that their loved one was not forgotten. In addition to this important shared theme, I discovered that acquiring full mounted sets of medals from the military services for these families was very problematic and when, in accordance with current directives, a request is made, the service will indeed provide one set of replacement medals, but they are simply dropped into a bag, unmounted, with devices also placed into the bag. Often these bags would arrive damaged and ripped with medals missing and of course, the families had no idea how they would be mounted, in what precedence, or where the devices would be appropriately applied.
So enjoined by a Gold Star Family principle hope (Do not forget my lovedone!) and a need to resolve the medal issue by simply getting them paid for by a grateful nation, and at the behest of a Gold Star Mother, the mother of LCpl Joseph Welke, I formed the Remembering the Brave Foundation.
Taking the Gold Star hope of never forgetting their loved ones and turning it into a positive statement, I created the Remembering the Brave Foundation. Taking their wish and making it actionable meant also giving it a commander’s intent of “Ensuring the names, faces, and deeds of our American heroes are never forgotten.” This places the focus of Remembering the Brave on the service members we have lost and not the Gold Star Family. This is a key point.
While taking care of Gold Star Families and their needs not taken care of elsewhere is indeed one of the principle activities of volunteers within Remembering the Brave, these activities are, as anyone in the military would entirely understand, purposefully and unquestionably private matters that are not discussed. Volunteers within Remembering the Brave have been working with Gold Star Families since 2004 and they are trusted with enormous responsibilities as they delicately navigate the challenges these families have as they support them. This is a principle activity but it is not the heart of Remembering the Brave. The heart of Remembering the Brave is in once more, “Ensuring the names, faces, and deeds of our American heroes are never forgotten.”
This mission places the focus on ensuring that people everywhere we reach, come to know the names, faces and deeds of these American heroes and that we tell their stories to anyone who will listen. By accomplishing this mission, we achieve the greatest wish that Gold Star Families have which, as stated above is to ensure that their loved one is not forgotten. Before getting into the programs of Remembering the Brave, a quick review of recent years is needed to provide a bit more context.
To sustain the principle overhead and enable the expenses below the large ceremony activity, a fund raising activity would be required. Simultaneously performing fund raising from larger donors to enable the large ceremonies would be important as well, but since everyone is a volunteer, getting large donors can be difficult. Our largest donor was the son in law of a Navy Admiral and he provided an annual donation that for years permitted us hold our large ceremonies, the last of which was the Legacy of Valor Children’s ceremony in Orlando, FL. Soon after this ceremony, this donor fell ill, lost his business, lost his wife and unfortunately had to find a way to rebuild his life. This meant that Remembering the Brave would have to rely upon its fund raising activities to sustain its ongoing work but that the large expensive ceremonies would have to wait until new donors would rise. So one might ask, why shooting matches.
Many small non-profits use golf tournaments or 6K or 10K runs to raise money but since this fundraising area is highly inundated and does not work to do anything other than raise money, we looked to the shooting community to help create a way to accomplish our mission while also raising funds for sustainment of our activities. Each trophy within these matches and the awards ceremonies we hold, forward the stories, names, faces and deeds of our heroes and these matches have a special place in the hearts of their families because they know we have met their wish – and their loved one will never be forgotten because these trophies, plaques, and matches ensure that they live on. So you see, the matches themselves are part of our mission and they sustain the organization as we attempt to find that next donor who can help us reinstate our larger ceremonies.
The principle expenditures for Remembering the Brave are costs for providing for the Hall of Heroes Displays in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the hundreds of Hero’s uniforms that are used for the Hall of Heroes, and the many other items critical to holding and executing the ceremonies, large and small. Information Technology and telecon expenditures are second and finally travel costs for volunteers when necessary are covered to ensure they can attend or execute an event. When volunteers are local, they cover their own costs and we capture estimates of the time they give to the organization as mission oriented gifts in kind. Our volunteers give hundreds of hours of time to Remembering the Brave and the value of their work is incredible.
Our volunteers participate in the following activities as they give so freely of their valuable time:
Volunteer support to Gold Star Families (liaison, emotional support, grief counselling, referrals, financial aid, calls on their behalf, medals, Christmas Tree Ornaments, social media support, conflict resolution, trophies, Hall of Heroes displays, travel, lodging, Presidential invitationals). The demand signal for each of these activities varies throughout the year as one might imagine. We cannot know when a service member is killed and one or more volunteers may be asked to spend weeks or months assisting the family with their needs and depending upon the need, our resources may limit our capacity to help as volunteers often have to take off work to assist. I am thankful for the incredible people who have given so much to the foundation and it is clear that their hearts are truly in the right place.
Gold Star Christmas Tree Program – Volunteers retrieve the Christmas Trees and Hall of Heroes displays and transport them to the places where they will be set up for two months prior to Christmas. These volunteers hand make every Gold Star ornament in the name of heroes from around the country and put them on display in public places so others may see and learn who they were and what they did for our freedoms. Before Christmas, orders come in from all over the United States and even other countries and our volunteers retrieve ornaments and ship them to those who request them so they will be placed on their Christmas Trees in their homes over this important holiday, once more ensuring that these heroes and their stories live on in the hearts and minds of complete strangers who refuse to forget.
Hall of Heroes Displays – Volunteers create the high resolution graphic 8’ x 10’ displays which takes weeks of graphic design but once the graphics are complete, the displays must be purchased normally from a vendor. Remembering the Brave has Hall of Heroes displays in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. Volunteers in Colorado, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Virginia establish areas where they would like to erect one or more Hall of Heroes displays to help inform the public about one or more of our American heroes. This entire program contributes to the accomplishment of our mission as it literally places the names, faces, and deeds into the public’s eye and everyone who sees one is impacted by their power. I recall after making the very first Hall of Heroes display for LCpl Justin Ellsworth, I set it up at another organization’s ceremony and watched what people would do and tried to listen to determine if this would be an important program. What I witnessed was very touching. Time and time again, fathers would bring their small children over and would read the names of these heroes to their sons and daughters, couples would stand together and read the citations of valor and leave in tears of gratitude – indeed, the Hall of Heroes displays make a big difference and contribute to our mission significantly.
Midwestern Armed Forces Memorial Match – As previously stated, the Remembering the Brave Armed Forces Memorial Matches were envisioned to perform two principle functions. One, and most importantly, they would act to forward the mission of Remembering the Brave by creating enduring trophies in the names of our Heroes and specialized one of a kind plaques would be crafted for those who were good enough to win in their match. Gold Star family members would come to the award ceremonies when able to hand out their loved one’s trophies and plaques and to talk about their loved one so that all could hear and learn about them. These award ceremonies are like none within our sport and because of the way we execute these award ceremonies, we fulfill our mission by ensuring the names, faces and deeds of our heroes are actively remembered year after year. And every year, we add more trophies to honor more heroes.
The Midwestern Armed Forces Memorial Match had two heroes within it that were the Marines of Col Constantini who was the CO of Weapons Training Bn. He brought the Marine Rifle Team to CO to shoot the match as part of their normal shooting program but to also honor the memory of his Marines. After seeing the power of the program, he stated that he wanted to create a similar match in Quantico and that gave rise to the Eastern Armed Forces Memorial Match we have now held aboard Quantico for the last 9 years over the highly appropriate Memorial Day weekend. The proceeds from both matches permit Remembering the Brave to sustain its small programs to include the matches themselves each year as the foundation seeks to regain large donors in order to reconstitute the large and much more expensive ceremonies like the Legacy of Valor ceremony for the children of fallen service members.
California Gold Star License Plate – With the exception of our large ceremonies that can be very expensive to execute around the country, one of our greatest achievements and success stories is ensuring that every Gold Star Family within the state of California could have a Gold Star License Plate in honor of their loved one. Remembering the Brave’s financial donation to this program was $105,440.24 – the largest contributions accounting for over 1/3rd of what was needed to make this happen for the state with the largest population of Gold Star Families. Many volunteers were part of helping to make this happen and it quite possibly would not have happened at all without the enormous help and wonderful dedication of Remembering the Brave volunteers.
Medal Mounting and Plaques – Simply ordering medals for Gold Star families is not enough. They often do not have a place for them in their raw form so creating display plaques upon which these medals can be mounted helps ensure that the families have an heirloom that will last for generations, once more ensuring that these heroes are remembered long after they are gone.
With the exception of where expenses must be outlaid, the execution of these activities are performed by a small volunteer staff who dedicate hundreds of hours of their personal time to this mission. They are all gracious patriots who grieve with these families and who are so appreciative of what our service members do for our freedoms that they believe that the time they give is small in comparison. But without these wonderful volunteers who help Gold Star Families in various manners and who support the many and varied events we execute above, Remembering the Brave could not exist. The many incredible pictures you see on the Remembering the Brave website are from our activities mentioned above. From the beginning, it was volunteers who make the difference but funding must still be in place for them to do so.
A monthly financial outlay from 2018 is shown below. These expenditures and volunteer efforts are rather stable with the exception of the fact that fees and storage costs for our mission items rise over time.
Remembering the Brave Foundation