Archive for the ‘Hope for the Warriors’ Category

Day One Recap: A Sweaty, Successful Ride to Goldsboro

June 17, 2010

Riders and well-wishers mingled just prior to the start of the tour

Despite a blazing eastern NC sun, Team Little Guy pedaled hard for 83 miles and successfully completed day one of the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour. Boosted by the incredible outpouring of support by credit unions at the NC Credit Union League Annual Meeting, the team rode out from Ft. Bragg this morning and made the quick trek over to Pope AFB, about five miles away. From there, TLG rode out into the countryside of eastern NC and had a very quick lunch in Dunn, NC.

As the riders pressed on toward Goldsboro and the day’s completion point, the temperatures rose into the mid 90s and the humidity added an extra insult. “It was the toughest 82 miles I’ve ridden in my short but illustrious biking career,” said David “Bubba” Gelly, who probably spoke for everyone on the trek.

Now THIS is a support vehicle!

The four person team of John Radebaugh, Eric Gelly, Bubba Gelly and Ed Agnoli had two very special guests along the way today. MSG Dean Bissey rode the short leg to Pope AFB this morning. Bissey is actively involved with Hope for the Warriors and boosted the spirits of the entire group.

TLG is pleased that SFC Andy McCaffrey will riding the entire 230 mile trek to Jacksonville. McCaffrey is a member of the Special Forces, is a stud athlete and a lively addition to the crew. He is actively involved with Hope for the Warriors, having lost an arm in Afghanistan. We’re pleased to have this Warrior Hero on the trip across eastern NC.

The credit unions along the way have been absolutely wonderful! From the sendoff by representatives of Ft. Bragg FCU and Bragg Mutual FCU in Fayetteville, to the wonderful reception put together in Goldsboro at NC Community FCU, credit unions have shown their support and encouragement of the team and Hope for the Warriors along the way. We are exceptionally grateful to each and every one of you along the route, as well as the folks across the Carolinas who are pulling for the team along the way.

The team at Pope AFB - one of three military installations the riders passed by on day one!

The team is settling in for the night in an RV camp near Selma, and will ride out early tomorrow morning toward Havelock and the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. The team is exceptionally grateful for all the contributions toward this effort, as well as the kind words throughout the last several months — and as we encounter people along the way. Thank you credit unions – and thanks to the men and women who fight to keep us safe.

Ride Little Guy Ride!


A Very Special Guest – A Wonderful Announcement

June 16, 2010

The business portion of the 75th Annual Meeting in Pinehurst has just concluded, and the final fundraising tally has just been announced. After a very moving presentation by Robin Kelleher and Chris Hedgcorth of Hope for the Warriors last evening, credit unions proudly walked up to the microphones this morning to announce their gifts to the organization.

Before doing so, LTC Thomas Heyden made an appearance live via Skype from Iraq to say hello to the audience. Heyden thanked everyone for their cards, letters and packages of support in the months he has been deployed – he also encouraged the team to ride hard to Jacksonville.

Then it was time to present the final donations to the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation. One by one, people stepped to the microphone and shared how they had come to raise the funds. One chapter held raffles, another chapter held a bike ride in March. One credit union had a special board meeting last night to vote on a special contribution.

Gifts of all sizes flowed in, including a $35,000 contribution from Palmetto Cooperative Services and $43,000 from Marine Federal Credit Union. But every dollar counted and every gift was very meaningful.

In the end, credit unions combined to blow by the $100,000 goal by contributing an amazing $161,000 to Hope for the Warriors!

With a 230 mile bike ride starting tomorrow, $161,000 equals about $700 per mile. More fundamentally, the numbers provide hope, encouragement and support to the men and women who have given so much of themselves in the cause of freedom.

Thank you, credit unions – and Ride Little Guy Ride!


The Credit Union Family Responds to the Call of Hope for the Warriors!

June 15, 2010

Over the last several months, credit unions have generously given money to support Team Little Guy in its bid to raise $100,000 for Hope for the Warriors. Much of this fundraising has been based on the relationships that exist within the credit union system – the “people helping people” family that is credit unions.

Tonight at the NC Credit Union League Annual Meeting in Pinehurst, about 300 credit union people got to hear firsthand the wonderful work Hope for the Warriors is doing in the lives of America’s Heroes. The organization’s President/CEO Robin Kelleher and CW04 Chris Hedgcorth of the Wounded Warrior Barracks in Jacksonville shared very personal stories about the work Hope for the Warriors is doing in so many critical areas.

One story included a young man who lost both his legs in Iraq and, upon returning home, was denied the simple pleasure of playing on the beach with his children. His wish, which Hope for the Warriors was able to grant in part through the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation, was to have a backyard pool so he could safely share the experience of playing with his children in the water once again.

Once Robin and Chris were done, NC President/CEO John Radebaugh announced that TLG/Hope for the Warriors tee-shirts and hats would be available for purchase just outside the banquet hall. He challenged the 300 people gathered to collectively raise $3,000.

The credit union people swarmed the table, opening their wallets and hearts and when all was said and done, $5,357 had been raised — in about 15 minutes!

Many of us know that the military is a form of family — that’s especially true of warriors who have been seriously injured on the battlefield. In a different, but still very meaningful way, credit unions are family as well.

It was wonderful indeed to see the credit union family respond so powerfully tonight!

Tomorrow, credit unions and credit union organizations from both Carolinas will present final checks to the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation and complete the fundraising efforts on behalf of Hope for the Warriors. From there, TLG will embark on a three-day bicycling trek to five NC military bases and 230 miles later, present the final check to Hope for the Warriors.

One family will touch another. And Hope will carry forward into the future.


The Final Countdown Is on … We Need Your Help!!!

May 27, 2010

In less than a month, four members of Team Little Guy will hop on their bikes and embark on a remarkable (and most likely quite hot) journey through eastern NC. John Radebaugh, Eric Gelly, Ed Agnoli and David “Bubba” Gelly will ride approximately 200 miles over three days, from June 17th – 19th.

Riders from Hope for the Warriors will most likely join in for the winding journey that starts from Fayetteville and heads to Goldsboro, and then jogs south to Jacksonville. John Slack and Jeff Hardin will provide rider support from a rented (and comfortably air-conditioned) RV.

The purpose of the trip is to pass through five major military installations in NC: Fort Bragg, Pope AFB, Seymour-Johnson AFB, Cherry Point MCAS and then Camp Lejeune, where a check representing the money donated by credit unions to Hope for the Warriors will be left behind.

That’s where you come in!

Team Little Guy will be accepting donations from your credit union, as well as individual gifts in support of this wonderful cause. We’re about halfway home to our goal of $100,000 to benefit the Warriors Hope & Care Center, which will open at Camp Lejeune next year.

If your credit union has not already made a contribution, please download the sponsor form. We’ll be accepting checks now through the time of the Annual Meeting in Pinehurst — June 13-16. We’d love to add your credit union to the list of sponsors who are supporting wounded warriors and their families!

To make a secure individual contribution using a major credit card, please click here.


Bike Tour Recap: An Attitude of Gratitude!

March 23, 2010

What a wonderful day we had with the NW Chapter of Credit Unions! The Chapter pulled off its first annual Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour without a hitch on Saturday, March 20th! There are so many people and organizations deserving of thanks. Here are a few who come immediately to mind – if I’ve left anyone off the list, please add them in the comments section!

  • The NW Chapter for having the vision, passion and energy to create this new event!
  • The volunteers from the credit unions who showed up at 6:30 am and stuck with it to the end. You made sure all the riders’ needs were met! You  rock!
  • Mock Orange Bikes in Winston-Salem (especially Charles Von Isenburg), which committed time and support to helping the Chapter effectively plan the bike ride – and for supporting the riders on the bike tour.
  • John Spivey & Jennifer Betson of Allegacy FCU for committing significant time to the project, and for the members of the Allegacy Marketing team who designed posters, tee-shirts and wristbands for the ride.
  • The riders, who committed to giving up a sunny Saturday to ride for a great cause, and encouraged their friends to donate.
  • The more than 100 donors who combined to raise about $13,000 for Hope for the Warriors!
  • The riders who came all the way up from Jacksonville to ride with us, including Will Fetters, who slept in his car in Lewisville the night before!
  • The service members in Iraq and Afghanistan whose mission continues.

Thanks to everyone who gave so generously of their time and talents! See you next year!


Generosity: The Eighth Co-operative Principle

March 10, 2010

As credit unions, we are different from banks in a variety of ways. And for us, the Seven Co-Operative Principles are our Constitution, if you will. It’s the written validation of what sets us apart.

Over the past few weeks, it’s become pretty obvious in watching the NW Chapter get the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour together that credit unions are bound together by an Eighth Principle – generosity.  This eighth principle is unwritten – but undeniable!

Individuals have given liberally of their time in getting the ride together … riders have asked for sponsorships from friends and business contacts, while others have decided to ride in the tour despite uncertain weather and a lack of training for the ride.

As a result, a small band of riders and volunteers has combined to raise more than $8,000 for Hope for the Warriors in a short period of time – and the donations continue to come in!

If you’d like to ride with us March 20th, click here to register.

If you’d like to help America’s Heroes, click here to donate

I’d love to stick around, but I’ve got to go pick up a check for the ride from a new corporate donor. 

And the generosity continues …


Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour: Skip “Perhaps” & Ask Yourself “What If?”

March 3, 2010

The Team Little Guy blog is a place for credit unions to come together and celebrate the way we work together to help others. It’s also intended to be a fun place where the jokes flow freely (whether any of them are funny I’ll leave up to you). :)

But today I wanted to make a serious appeal to you to consider riding in the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour, scheduled to begin at 8:30 am on March 20th in Lewisville.

Fundraising for the ride is going pretty well, but we very much need riders! 

There are any one of a number of reasons you may not have committed to or even thought about riding:

  1. Perhaps you relish relaxing on your Saturdays.
  2. Perhaps you haven’t ridden your bike in years.
  3. Perhaps you don’t feel like you’re ready to do a ride this early in the year.
  4. Perhaps you don’t want to take your chances with the fickle March weather. – Or –
  5. Insert your own Perhaps here ____________.

 While we all recognize the weather can be back-and-forth at this time of the year and many of us haven’t had a lot of “saddle time” lately, it’s worth remembering that all the proceeds will benefit young people (and their families) who have bravely fought for this country and who have lost limbs or suffered other very traumatic injuries.

So my hope is as you read this, you’ll set aside the “Perhaps” statements for a moment and consider asking yourself a few “What If” questions:

  1. What if I decided to skip the sofa and do something meaningful – really meaningful – on a Saturday?
  2. What if I decided that March 20th will be the day I ride my bike for the first time in years?
  3. What if I decided to do the ride even though I feel I’m not in tip-top shape?
  4. What if I decided to laugh at the fickle March weather and take it as a challenge? – Or-
  5. Insert your own “What if” here ____________.

Keep in mind that the short route is less than 24 miles. The longer route choices are about 35 and 68 miles respectively. So there are routes for every level of cyclist!

If you can’t ride, you can still help. If you click here, you can make a secure individual donation online using a credit card. Or consider recruiting riders!

A little more information about Hope for the Warriors is available here

Complete ride information is available here

And by all means, keep asking yourself “What if?”.  

 Jeff Hardin


Greetings from Iraq!

February 21, 2010

Hello from Iraq. I hope everyone is doing well. The team is doing great over here. I would like to thank everyone for the emails, packages, thoughts, and prayers. They mean more than you will ever know. Don’t worry; I’m not going to get mushy.

As my Team Little Guy teammates embark on their unbelievable challenge this year to raise $100,000 for Hope for the Warriors program my thoughts and prayers are with them. I wish I could participate. With the support of Credit Unions, Members, and other “Partner Sponsors” like CUNA Mutual Group (you know I had to throw that plug in) this goal will be reached and surpassed.

Recently, I had the unique opportunity to run into an amputee Soldier in Kuwait. MAJ David Rozell lost his leg in 2004 from and IED, and he is back doing what loves to do, and that’s being a Soldier. He’s back in the fight, because of people like you that support programs like Hope for the Warriors. He was the first amputee Soldier to return to a combat zone.

As Team Little Guy gets ready for their first ride this year during The Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour in Lewisville, NC they will have a new team member representing her proud father. My daughter, Madison will be taking my place in the saddle. I’m so proud of her for doing this for me.

All I asked her to do was make sure that she completes the race before Mr. Slack.

Thanks for the support in the great cause to help fellow Soldiers, Marines, and Airmen. I’m so proud to be associated with such great and generous people. I miss everyone and wish you all the best. Pedal fast Madison!!!


Filling the Gaps: More on Hope for the Warriors

February 18, 2010

Most of us have seen the stories about troops injured in combat – the pain they suffer … the difficult rehabilitation process … the adjustments people who are coping with the loss of a limb or a traumatic brain injury have to make. These heroes are fortunate to receive excellent medical care and rehabilitative services from the military along the way – but still there are other issues that arise during the recovery and rehabilitation process:

  • Who will work with and support the needs, emotional and otherwise, of family members?
  • Who can provide emergency assistance to troops and their families?
  • Who can offer community – the healing touch that comes from people who have been down the same road?

Hope for the Warriors is that organization – a supportive network of wounded warriors, family members and others who care.

Recently, Team Little Guy Members John Radebaugh & Eric Gelly traveled to Camp Lejeune to meet with the people who make Hope for the Warriors a unique support network for America’s heroes. John & Eric got to meet Ed Salau, a US Army Veteran who lost a leg in Iraq in 2004. In the above video, Salau relates his experiences with Hope for the Warriors and the unique role the organization plays.

With the Hope for the Warriors Bike ride in Lewisville about a month away, please consider registering and riding, or making a donation to this worthy cause. As NC credit unions strive to raise $100,000 for Hope for the Warriors by the time of the NCCUL Annual Meeting, we need your credit union’s support (and individual support as well) of this terrific organization – and the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country.


Hope for the Warriors Visit

February 13, 2010

Friday Eric and I visited with the Hope for the Warriors folks at Camp Lejeune. I gotta tell you here’s some people that have dedicated their lives to helping wounded warriors and their families deal with their injuries. Most of us can’t even imagine what these troops go through after losing a leg or arm or their sight but these folks have established programs that the military is not able to provide and fills the gaps that for years before went unfulfilled. That’s why with the encourgagement of Marine FCU, the NCCUL and Team Little Guy has taken on a fundraising effort to raise $100,000 for Hope for the Warriors. After personally experiencing what these folks do for our troops it is time for everyone in the NC credit union movement to get involved in our fundraising efforts. If you are leery about getting involved, hop in the car with me and I will take you down to Camp Lejeune and I guarantee you that will change your mind. Here’s some photos’ of our trip.



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