As veterans return from deployment and seek to re-enter the workforce, they bring with them invaluable skills. From leadership and teamwork to solving problems under pressure, many of these skills get overlooked by employers. Connected Dealer Services (CDS) is proud to employ a number of veterans and is committed to providing veteran support initiatives for retired servicemen and women as they integrate back into everyday life.
In an effort to support these initiatives, CDS is honored to have established The Dealers for Veterans program. The program focuses on supporting three pillars of need within the veteran community: employment services, military mental health and wellness, and wounded warriors and their families. At the start of the campaign, CDS selected three non-profit partners to support under each pillar: Hire Heroes USA, Hope For The Warriors, and Fisher House Foundation.
We had the opportunity to connect with Hope For The Warriors and hear how their veteran support services are helping servicemen and women in the field, on home soil, and even on the track.
Overcoming the First Mile
In 2010, U.S. Army veteran Catherine Bane ran her first race with HOPE at the Jacksonville Run For The Warriors – an experience that became the catalyst for seeking HOPE and starting her healing journey as a military sexual assault survivor.
Military sexual assault is continuing to rise at alarming rates. According to the Department of Defense’s annual report on sexual assault in the military, 20,500 service members were sexually assaulted in the fiscal year 2019, with numbers reaching their highest levels since 2006. Unfortunately, most of these cases go unreported, with less than half of female survivors feeling well-supported by their chain of command. HOPE aims to provide veteran support to survivors on their journey to healing.
Now more than 10 years later, Bane shares the impact that submitting her application for services had on her journey to healing.
“That night, after I put the children to bed and still on my runner’s high, I went to the Hope For The Warriors website. Until that moment, I had not truly started my healing journey. [There were] times in the past when I felt ready, I just could not find the resources I needed. Everything seemed to be for those who had just recently been assaulted. As a wife and mother of two little ones, I struggled to speak up and make the time. But I reached out to HOPE that night. I confidently wrote the email and hit send. Moments after, regret filled me. The fear of what someone would say or not say hit me hard, and I wanted to take it back immediately. Little did I know that the journey I was about to begin would change my family’s lives. HOPE responded immediately and that response is what led my family and me to where we are today.”
Hope For The Warriors: Supporting the Road from Combat to Community
Hope For The Warriors (HOPE) was founded in 2006 by military spouses aboard Camp Lejeune as they witnessed firsthand the impact of war on their service members, family, and community as a whole. What began as post-combat bedside care and support has evolved into a national organization that has a goal of adapting to ongoing changes within the military community.
HOPE was founded as a grassroots organization with a national reach. Understanding that every service member and military family has their own set of goals and needs, their team provides integrated services that focus on the individual, family, and community well-being. Their goal is to restore self, family, and hope through various programs and partners.
Since its inception, HOPE has served over 36,000 warriors through many programs focused on physical, emotional, and financial wellness and provides social support and community connection.
HOPE puts an emphasis on their individualized approach to care. Each person who applies for HOPE services receives a one-hour phone call from a team member. Last year alone, the HOPE team spent 3,169 hours getting to personally understand the needs of 3,151 warriors and military family members. From there, individuals and families are referred to programs and services or guided to one of their partners in mission.
About Dealers for Veterans
For each new dealer partner onboarded into CDS’ Elo GPS lot management program, funds are allocated to the Dealers for Veterans program and equally distributed to our three non-profit partners each month. Since initiating the Dealers for Veterans program, CDS is proud to have donated $13,800 to our non-profit veteran support partners. For more information on the program details and how to donate to these outstanding organizations, head to elogps.com/dealers-for-veterans.