Helping Heroes Fly
I first became aware of Helping Heroes Fly by a small homemade flier on the bulletin board of the school where I was tutoring. They have come a long way since that first posting. Who or what is Helping Heroes Fly you say? Let me introduce you to them.
Helping Heroes Fly was started by two Greeley women which, as their flier states, have a love of God and a heart for the military. It started as a spark in Terri Keeney’s heart when she learned of a soldier who was not able to come home for Thanksgiving because he couldn’t afford the airline ticket. She later learned that it was a common struggle for enlisted men and women who were paid on a near poverty level.
The dream stuck in her heart unfulfilled until she met Pam Matt, whose son served in the Marine Corps. Pam’s passion for the military became the catalyst needed to attack the logistics of starting a non-profit organization. In February of 2016 they became a 501(c)(3).
They began the process of raising funds. They take advantage of social media and it’s beginning to pay off. They have had a couple of fund raisers, an article in Women’s World magazine, which led to a large donation of $15,000 and were featured on The Denver Channel.com.
In 2016 they were able to provide 65 flights. To date in 2017 they have provided 52 flights. They have limited the flights to one per customer and with that said, in March they got a call from a 1st Sargent at a Marine base in Baltimore requesting his entire unit of 30 to be able to fly to Illinois to attend a fellow Marine’s funeral who was tragically killed. They understood they were giving up their opportunity to go home for the holidays, but it was that important for them to attend. HHF was able to send 14.
They volunteer their time and in 2016 their operating expenses were 3.4%. It looks like in 2017 it will be closer to 3.6% as they had to pay for the entertainment for one of their fund raisers. They vow no matter how large they get, they will never spend more than 10% on expenses. They take no salary and “World Headquarters” is run out of Pam’s house.
At the end of this month they will fly to Connecticut to film two different internet based programs, one for Behind the Uniform and one for The Whiskey Patriots. Both organizations have over 100,000.00 followers so they know they will be overwhelmed with requests for the holidays.
Eventually they are hoping to find a way to have a system similar to Angel Flights so that the money they raise can be used for those flights that can only be met by the use of commercial airlines.