View Full Version : Hope for Warriors cites giving community for program's success

05-15-09, 07:15 AM
Hope for Warriors cites giving community for program's success
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May 14, 2009 - 5:40 PM

It's all about community support.

Hope For The Warriors, a nonprofit organization started in Onslow County, serves wounded warriors and their families and could not operate without help from caring communities, said Robin Kelleher, president and co-founder of the organization.

"It's essential," she said. "We couldn't do anything we do without community involvement."

Since its founding in 2006, the organization has branched out and now includes offices in Manhattan and Virginia with plans to open more.

"It was founded here and has become a success because of this community," she said. "We always go back to Onslow County. Jacksonville is our roots, truly where we got started."

Throughout the year, Hope for the Warriors holds various events such as a Poker Run in the fall and their annual Run for the Warriors, which takes place Saturday aboard Camp Lejeune to get the community involved in their fundraising and wounded warrior support efforts.

Stevenson Automotive Group has been the presenting sponsor of the annual Run for the Warriors event since it started and is one of many businesses that supports the cause.

"I think it's a way of saying thank you for those who have put themselves in harms way to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. (It's) a way we can ensure that those who have made major sacrifices are not forgotten," said Paul McCarthy, general manager for Stevenson Automotive Group's Jacksonville locations.

Hope for the Warriors also receives community backing from events held throughout the year such as the Marine Federal Credit Union Charity Golf Tournament, which raised $86,000 this year. The funds were split between the USO and Hope for the Warriors.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for us because we don't have to do all the work and it raises a lot of money," Kelleher said.

Craig Chamberlin, president and CEO of MFCU, said the credit union plans to continue supporting the cause.

"We think it's a way to not only give back to the civilian but also the military communities and to provide additional financial support for Hope for the Warriors but more directly for the wounded warriors because of the sacrifices that they've made in maintaining our freedoms," he said. "Giving back something like that ... is just beyond words, and God bless them."

Other local organizations, such as Furniture Fair, contribute to Hope for the Warriors behind the scenes. Kelleher said on numerous occasions, Itchy Popkin, president of Furniture Fair, has paid for Hope for the Warriors billboards and has helped furnish the Warrior House and provided furniture for wounded warriors who return to their home state.

"Itchy ships furniture all over the country ... He is just an incredibly generous man," she said. "There are many community members that are involved in this organization and the mission."

The fourth annual Run for the Warriors begins at 8:15 a.m. Saturday with an opening ceremony at Goettege Memorial Field House aboard Camp Lejeune. Registration is $30 for individuals and $20 for each additional family member from the same household. Registration is available today from 1 to 6 p.m. at the field house and will also be available starting at 6 a.m. Saturday; participants must be registered by 7:45 a.m. Saturday.

Contact Jacksonville/Onslow government reporter Molly DeWitt at 910-219-8455 or mdewitt@freedomenc.com.