By Lance Trebesch for TicketPrinting.com
Imagine devoting your life to serving and protecting the public, and in an instant, it can all change.
Hunting for Heroes (H4H) is an organization devoted to law enforcement officers who have been injured and/or disabled and are unable to serve in their previous capacity. H4H hosts retreats for officers and their families in order to build the community that can be lost when faced with an injury.
“The Hunting for Heroes community is best described as family,” says President & Executive Director Chris Allen. “ We come together a group of individual families, each struggling with various issues stemming from disabling injuries. After a day in camp, we become one family, sharing stories of success and helping each other overcome struggles. We truly have an amazing team and have been credited with saving nearly a dozen lives from the depths of suicide.”
Hunting for Heroes started when Allen worked for a hunting TV show and they were looking for injured officers for some of their hunts. When Allen realized he couldn’t find a strong support system for these brave individuals, he started Hunting for Heroes to give back.
Officers often receive a lot of support right after their injury. But as time passes, that support can fade, leading to feelings of isolation, depression, loss of identity, and sometimes suicidal thoughts. That’s where Hunting for Heroes comes in. Their solution includes group activities to build confidence, networking with others who have been injured, and offering ongoing support.
Hunting for Heroes hosts many fundraising events throughout the year and throughout the country, including fundraising banquets in Georgia, Iowa, and Minnesota and many smaller fundraisers. They also sell raffle tickets at events and through their volunteer network.
The money raised goes towards hosting a number of events to support these officers. For the hunting retreats, the whole family is invited at no cost. It’s not just the officer who suffers from an injury; the spouse and children can also find support through these events.
New events this year include a VOWS retreat, which aims to support and strengthen the marriages of those who have faced injury. Divorce rates can be significantly higher for disabled Law Enforcement Officers, so this retreat focuses on “marriage enrichment, spiritual renewal and physical activity to strengthen relationships and renew their commitment to each other and their families.”
Also new for 2014 is the Lodge, an online community so heroes can provide each other ongoing support throughout the year. Looking ahead, H4H plans on hosting its first youth retreat in Spring 2015.
The success is seen in the testimonies of the officers who have connected with H4H. Officer Joe Haman made a routine traffic stop for the City of St. Louis Police Department May 27, 2010. Haman was shot eight times, sustaining severe injuries to his leg and arm and required surgery for internal injuries. He spent nearly three months in the hospital. After being contacted by Allen, he attended a H4H hunting camp. While the hunting was great, Haman cites the support as the biggest benefit from the event.
“We were able to share our stories as well as give each other physical and emotional support,” he says. “I was able to meet other injured policemen with injuries and give them the motivation to continue to do therapy.”
“Hunting for Heroes gave me a renewed sense of brotherhood,” he continues. “I felt I belonged to something again, which gave me motivation and morale to go out and not just help myself, but other injured Law Enforcement Officers.”
Haman now serves on the Board of Hunting for Heroes.
To find out more and to support their efforts, please visit the Hunting for Heroes website.