CULLMAN, Ala. – Locally-based veterans’ service organization Saving Forgotten Warriors (SFW) was moving through the early days of 2020 on a high note, having embarked with Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2214 on a unique project to help its clients overcome painful and dangerous Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While the pandemic hindered their work, the groups would still see their own expectations about the project far surpassed, while SFW would move ahead- albeit at a slower than desired pace- with its plans for a veterans transitional home in Cullman County.
By the numbers
- More than 270 clients served
- SFW and VFW combined to get access to the anti-PTSD Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) shot for more than 65 veterans. The goal for the year had originally been 24.
- More than $91,000 in funds raised
- An average of three trips per week to take clients to Veterans Administration facilities in Birmingham, Decatur, Jasper, Huntsville and other VA Clinics, including all expenses, with a total cost for 2020 of nearly $5,000
- SFW served 1,135 plates at its 2020 Thanks-Giving Dinner for vets. With additional food and utilities assistance for 12 vets, the group spent more than $18,000.
- Ramps and other accessibility features installed in seven area veterans’ homes at a cost of approximately $2,800
- $63,000 spent on veterans’ housing, including the Hanceville veterans transitional home and placement of homeless vets in long-term housing
- SFW’s total expenditures on service to area veterans was approximately $179,000 in 2020.
SFW Founder Jeremy Hogan told The Tribune, “We struggled to get the duplex in Hanceville open as we had a few contractors that had issues getting materials to finish their parts because of the epidemic. We will have it open in late January, early February 2021. We helped five veterans this year go from homeless to long-term housing, plus helped them with applying for assistance through other resources.”
Hogan reported, “2020 has been the most trying year since we started in 2016, and it came close to having to close the doors. It was because of a small selection, a few supporters and volunteers, that we have made it to 2021, and this year is looking to be amazing already! Counts were down all across the board. Donations are still lower than before the COVID situation, but it’s bouncing back. Volunteers were way down and almost obsolete. We closed the doors for three weeks this year and came back with limited program availability due to low donations and support, but we made it happen just like we always do, thank the Lord!”
The “wow” stories
Hogan shared, “I like to think this year was amazing even with the epidemic; we were able to help so many veterans gain their lives back from the Stellate Ganglion Block, and the veterans housing has seen huge support even with the issues with contractors’ materials. The other programs made an impact as well, but we had to limit our support. I’d say, though it was a crazy year, and everything was so up in the air, we still managed to help so many. Having the VFW working with us this year and for the future has opened up so many great opportunities to help out heroes, and I believe now we will see even more come from what we all learned this year.”
Hogan offered credit to many: “The Cullman Lions Club, Cullman Elks Club, Richard Neese, Walker’s Brothers in Baileyton, Wallace State and Dr. K(arolewics), The City of Hanceville and the Hanceville mayor as well as the city council, Cullman County Commission, Bill Smith GMC, Ken Brown and the VFW Post 2214, and all the SFW volunteer staff have really made this year happen and we couldn’t have made it without any of these companies or amazing people!”
Hogan said to watch for big announcements coming soon about the SGB shot and housing program.
For more information on Saving Forgotten Warriors, including ways to contribute and veterans’ access to the SGB shot, visit www.savingforgottenwarriors.com or www.facebook.com/Savingforgottenwarriors/.
SFW is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and any donation is tax-deductible. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 1002, Cullman, AL 35056. If you or someone you know is a veteran in need, contact SFW at 256-747-5006.
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