The arrival of the Memorial Day Weekend on the calendar provides an opportunity for everyone in our nation to recall the service and sacrifice of our country’s veterans and their families. This time of year is summed up quite well by a quote that can be heard often at Memorial Day services around the country. “All gave some, some gave all.”
As ES and the ES Community commemorates Memorial Day 2022, the sacrifices by veterans and their families in defense of our country were brought into perfect focus for several members of the ES Management Team during a trip in mid-May to an event supporting veterans and their families.
ES President and Co-Founder Jason Williams led a group from the company who made a trip to the Atlanta area to be a part of a charity fund-raising event supporting Hope For The Warriors, which is a non-profit organization. The mission of Hope For The Warriors is focused on helping those involved with military service to “succeed at home by restoring their sense of self, family, and hope.” Hope For The Warriors is a national organization that provides comprehensive support programs for service members, veterans, and military families that are focused on transition, health and wellness, peer engagement and connections to community resources.
As the Memorial Day Weekend approached, Spotlight News had an opportunity to talk with Jason for the latest edition of the Success In Trucking Podcast, Powered By ES. During the podcast, which you can access on this page, Jason talks about the experience of making the trip to an event that was centered on giving back to honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans and their families.
Jason and the group from ES joined this effort to support Hope For The Warriors at the invitation of Forward Air, one of the carrier partners in the ES Community. Forward Air, through its Operation Forward Freedom initiative, had partnered Hope For The Warriors prior to 2020 and the two organizations had planned a fund-raiser to support the Drive For Hope, which is one of the transition programs offered through Hope For The Warriors. The Drive For Hope is an innovative program that is dedicated to restoring driving independence to wounded service members through adaptive driving and rehabilitation.
Prior to the COVID global pandemic, Forward Air and Hope For The Warriors had planned to hold the Drive For Hope in 2020. As Jason shares during his podcast interview, the leadership of Forward Air never wavered in their dedication and commitment to making the Drive For Hope a reality. As the pandemic eased and the world found a new normal, the Drive For Hope was rescheduled for a date that fittingly ended up being some 10 days prior to Memorial Day.
The two-day event, which included a dinner and silent auction followed by a day of golf, was a smashing success. Those who attended the event got an opportunity to meet officials with Hope For The Warriors as well as spend time with veterans and their families who are benefitting from the organization’s programs. The attendees at the event also were able to meet and spend time with a collection of former professional athletes who were there to support Hope For The Warriors. Johnny Bench, the Baseball Hall of Fame catcher from the Cincinnati Reds, headlined a group of star athletes from Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association.
The Drive For Hope raised a total of $375,000 for Hope For The Warriors. According to a Hope For The Warriors official who spoke with Jason in Atlanta, the Drive For Hope event that was led by Forward Air now stands as the single largest fund-raiser in the history of the Hope For The Warriors organization. During his podcast interview, Jason also shares that Forward Air announced plans to make the Drive For Hope annual event, and Jason noted that ES has already planned to renew the company’s commitment to support the Drive For Hope in 2023.
“This was a powerful event and it was a very rewarding experience for our group at ES to be a part of it,” said Jason. “One of the things that I hope this event was able to do is send a message to veterans and their families that they’re not alone. They’re not isolated in their day-to-day life.
“The sacrifices they have made and continue to make for the commitment that they gave to this country are real. There’s no way to gloss over it. There’s no way at times to make it pretty,” Jason added. “Sometimes, their days are ugly and rough and harsh, and they have to live through it long after they come home from the battlefield. Our Team at ES would like all veterans and their families to know that we are extremely thankful for their service and sacrifice, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to be able to help veterans and their families through Hope For The Warriors and the Drive For Hope.”