Thanks to all who helped make this happen. This wouldn’t be possible without volunteers and donations.
To all those who helped,
I am incredibly thankful for those at the home and all those who helped with the Hero Reward program. I just recently returned home from my first deployment to come back home to a worse situation. My wife of 6 years was cheating on me while I was deployed. I returned to find out she was also abusing my three children. The whole situation in combination with leaving while my daughter was only 2 months old to come back and divorce and abusive situation definitely put me into a bad headspace. I was alone with a one year old who didn’t know me. My three year old was full of questions and a nine year old who I couldn’t explain why everything was happening too. On top of all that I used all the leave I was planning to use to go home for the holidays at a funeral for my grandfather who passed away 3 days before Thanksgiving. My Christmas was going to be me and my children at home away from family and with me doing the best that I could to remind my children that we have so much to be thankful for. This is when the real heroes came in.
Rodney and his family invited me to their ranch and truly gave my children a holiday. We were shown so much love and given so much that I was not currently able to provide at the time. My daughters both had a ball. I didn’t have to worry about a single thing except truly enjoying my children. My girls and I bonded like we should have from my home coming. We were even well fed! The girls were exposed to so much positive energy that almost nothing else mattered. I was even given a Christmas present that helped me feed my children and gave us a little cushion so that we could make the positive vibe continue. I am so thankful for everyone involved in this program. Those that helped give my daughters a smile in a horrible situation and helped me push forward when I was at my breaking point during what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year. Thank you all. Even in this short letter I will never be able to explain the affect that this experience has had on my life and I truly help you guys continue to help more soldiers who are just like me and that are definitely in need.
Our annual event was held on September 3rd, 2016. There were over 400 guests in attendance including Veterans, First Responders, and their families. The Iron Eagles Motorcycle Club held a Veteran’s benefit ride, the Corydon Moose Lodge grilled chicken, Ohio Valley Caviar fried fish, and Paul Moon Chainsaw artist carved beautiful wooden sculptures. There was also a Flag Display by Indiana Salute to Veterans as the National Anthem was sang, and a Flag Retirement Ceremony by 22 Challenge.org as Taps was played for suicide awareness. Guests were able to enjoy Sounds of Music DJ, pony rides, fishing, and cotton candy. Many prizes and gift cards were given away including a muzzleloader donated by Bass Pro and Indianapolis Colts Tickets. Guided deer and turkey hunts were also given away in addition to a free tattoo from Big Daddy’s Tattoo. The event was free to all, thanks to our sponsors and volunteers. Mother nature also worked in our favor with beautiful weather. Thank you to everyone for making it our biggest event ever!
As the fog was lifting above the morning Ohio River, the sun was shining and glaring on the calm water. Volunteers along with Veterans and their families were excited with anticipation to travel up the river and see what prizes would be caught under the warm murky water. As the sound of the boats travelled up the Blue River, Asian Carp jumped all around. One even jumped in a boat! Many catfish were caught and the laughs were plentiful. There was also noodling that took place over the weekend, along with delicious food, and relaxing on the cabin porch while watching the deer graze in the field. Many bonds were formed and memories made to last a lifetime.
* Thanks to our sponsors, donations, and volunteers for making this event possible, giving back to those who sacrifice for us.*
This year’s annual turkey hunt consisted of 16 Veterans. Every Veteran was guided by a volunteer who took them hunting during the day. The evenings consisted of reconvening for great food, and forming new friendships and bonds. Some reunions occurred from soldiers who hadn’t seen each other for years. These folks were able to spend time, stress free, enjoying the warm country atmosphere while relaxing by the serenity of the ponds, fishing, sitting by the fire, or watching the deer graze at no cost to them. Thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors for making this possible. A huge thanks especially goes out to Rushville Elks 1307, RMEF Lincoln Hills, NWTF Ohio River Drummers, Beef O’ Brady’s, Austin Masonry, SCI – Birmingham, Gun World, Fishers of Men, Carver Logging, and Ellis Construction. Without these organizations this event would not be possible.
From founder Rodney Bruce: “I can tell you it takes a special person to sacrifice as they do strictly because it’s their choice….and I, for one, am their biggest fan and couldn’t appreciate them more.”
Well said, Mr. Bruce. It’s Hero Reward’s honor to give back to those who sacrifice themselves defending our great country.
Our big event of the year was held on Saturday, September 5th. It was our biggest crowd ever including family and friends of Veterans, Police, Fireman, EMT, First Responders, and American Heroes. We had pony rides and a bouncy for the kids, tours of Stat Flight, Indiana Salute to Veterans brought a flag the size of a basketball court, a live bald Eagle, a fishing tournament, music, door prizes, and great food. A big thanks to our sponsors and volunteers since this day could not have been possible without them.