By Richard Rhinehart
Holbrook, New York, November 7, 2014 – On November 11, the national non-profit R4 Alliance will launch an innovative online initiative to honor fallen military members. The Patriots’ Parade will also provide funding support to Alliance member organizations, including World T.E.A.M. Sports, for ongoing veterans’ programs and events.
Offering individual and group “summits” honoring fallen military members through the undertaking of personal challenges, the Patriots’ Parade is one of the first initiatives of the Alliance, a consortium of veterans-related non-profit organizations. Although many program participants will literally climb mountains in honor and recognition of their designated heroes, the initiative also welcomes less vigorous undertakings, such as creating a quilt, undertaking a bike ride, paddling a river, or writing a poem or song.
“My personal summit was to honor my friend Robert ‘Bob’ Horrigan, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2005,” said retired US Army Ranger Michael Chesne, a member of the R4 Alliance Board of Directors. “Through this journey, I was able to introduce all of the people who helped me achieve this summit to my friend and hero.” The Alexandria, Louisiana resident participates in outdoor recreation with several Alliance organizations, including Project Healing Waters and Higher Ground. “It is said that a warrior never truly dies until their names are spoken for the last time. Through the Patriots’ Parade Initiative, we can keep the memories of these veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice alive.”
Juliet Madsen, a Parker, Colorado Army veteran, was medically retired from her service in 2006 after participation in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. “The Patriots’ Parade is a chance for every single person to stand up and remember our heroes, our veterans, our patriots, the ones who have stood up for us but never came home; the ones who defended their neighbors, their families, the ones they did not even know,” Madsen said. “These heroes who have taken a stand against all of the people, places, and things that hold us down and seem to say, ‘you can’t.’ Instead, we are going out and doing our personal summits and showing our flags as a tribute to our fallen heroes. We are going out and doing something we didn’t think that we could do. We are saying because of you, ‘we can!’”
Each participant of the Patriots’ Parade will receive a high-quality American flag from veteran-owned RePatriot Flag for display at their summit. The online memorial encourages participants to post a digital image of their honored fallen hero for the Patriots’ Parade wall. Following the challenge, an image of the flag and a short written remembrance offers an additional opportunity to honor the veteran. These online memorials will help others understand the exceptional honor of these fallen veterans and the extraordinary contributions they made in support of their country.
Director of Programs and Outreach for the R4 Alliance Bert Gillette notes the strong collaboration between the non-profit member organizations of the R4 Alliance helps military veterans. “The strength of R4 Alliance lies in the power of many,” he explained. “Through innovative and collaborative fundraising initiatives like Patriots’ Parade, we have the opportunity to support effective programs, attract a new donor base, raise public awareness for the needs of Our Military Family, and inspire America to honor our troops. Most importantly, our collaborative efforts ensure the programs of excellence that make up R4, will have the resources needed to continue aiding Our Military Family for decades to come.”
During registration for each summit, the participant or participants will donate a minimum of $250 in honor of their fallen hero. These funds can be designated to in part benefit a particular Alliance member organization, such as World T.E.A.M. Sports.
“The Patriots’ Parade provides a unique opportunity for collaborative fundraising for R4 Alliance and World T.E.A.M. Sports, as well as bringing attention and national awareness of our fallen heroes,” said Chuck Steele, the Alliance’s Virginia-based Executive Director. “R4 is thrilled with the opportunity to support World T.E.A.M. Sports in their efforts to provide key events for our veterans. Working as part of the Alliance in this awareness and fundraising campaign provides both the alliance and in particular, World T.E.A.M. Sports, the opportunity to build funds to further provide focused commitment to the veterans and their families. The efforts of World T.E.A.M. Sports extend and enhance what is good about the Alliance and influence of the Patriots’ Parade on the community.”
Fallen heroes from wars and conflicts dating back to World War II are eligible for the Patriots’ Parade. The focus of the initiative is to provide awareness and respect to our fallen heroes, which provides funding to support military members and their families through community and therapeutic recreation support with programs and events created by R4 Alliance member non-profit organizations.
“Patriots’ Parade is the string that ties many fine organizations together creating a stronger bond for our military families,” said Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, whose husband was injured while serving in Iraq. “Patriots’ Parade with the support of R4 Alliance is ready to make a difference with our military families.”
“The United States military has served all over the ‘World.’ Their effectiveness is because they have worked as a ‘Team’ and those veterans who are rehabilitating from battle-related injuries being able to participate in ‘Sports’ with World T.E.A.M. Sports tell us all what a great organization it is,” said Bill Potter, a Vietnam veteran and Chairman, Board of Directors, of the R4 Alliance. “We at the R4 Alliance are proud to be associated with such a quality organization.”