May 1, 2017 I took the reigns of Boot Campaign from my dear friend and Navy veteran Morgan Luttrell. The last 365 days have been challenging, joyful, surprising and wholly rewarding. A lot can happen on one trip around the sun.

Time was spent learning, growing and stretching a team who has committed to being servant Leaders, Agile, Collaborative and Exceptional all while being United and Purposeful in our efforts in a rapidly changing non-profit and veteran service organization space. Information was gleaned from those with a deep history with Boot Campaign, a new vision for this incredible organization was cast and ambitious goals were set. Most importantly, lives were changed as we strived to serve the military community well, keeping their needs top of mind.

In the 12 months since I laced up my boots, here’s what all we have accomplished:

  • More than $2.5 million was raised to put directly towards our programmatic efforts to ignite the inner patriot in all Americans and further the well-being of our nation’s veterans.
  • Distributed nearly 2,000 pairs of new boots to Americans who joined our cause and laced up as a sign of gratitude for our nation’s military community. You can get yours at shop.bootcampaign.org.
  • From May 1, 2017 until today, Boot Campaign has provided access and funding for 32 veterans to kickstart their journey to improved health and wellness for those struggling to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, self-medication and insomnia.
  • We have initiated collaborative partnerships with other renowned national non-profits like Armed Services YMCA, Fisher House Foundation and Operation Homefront to broaden impact and better serve the military community. These efforts have included providing free flights to those veterans who are receiving care through our health and wellness effort as well as delivering more than 80 specially curated gift boxes in 27 states to military families last Christmas.
  • Sparked interest in celebrity influencers like Michael Strahan, the Backstreet Boys, Travis Pastrana and others to grow our awareness efforts.
  • Staff and overhead expenditures have been streamlined to maintain a better than 80/20 split between programmatic, mission-focused efforts and operating costs.
  • We have welcomed new team members like 24-year U.S. Army Veteran, Chris Talcott, as Vice President of Operations and Program Development as well as four new board members from across the nation to help further our mission and message, including John Billheimer, Bill Hart, John Hughes, Dr. Jonathan Jaffin.

You can read more about our achievements and financials in our 2017 annual report.

While I am proud and thankful for all that the Boot Campaign team has succeeded in within the last year, I was reminded by one of our motivating Veteran Ambassadors recently that a dream without action is just an idea. So, I wanted to make sure that our collective future dreams for Boot Campaign are made a reality by sharing some of our strategic aspirations for the next three years. It is my hope that in doing so, you will hold us accountable, ask for more information about how we are doing and help us achieve them.

Goal #1

Continue to hone our individualized and holistic program to kick-start the journey of improved health for the veteran community by expanding our top-tier wellness partners to include other scientific and research-based specialized care providers.

Goal #2

According to a recent report from the National Alliance for Caregiving, sixty-five percent of veteran caregivers report caregiver burden. Currently, most programs offering services to military caregivers tend to be targeted toward the veteran. Results of recent studies suggest that treating a veteran individually for PTSD without including the spouse in the treatment sessions could risk unbalancing their relationship even more than it already is. Through Boot Campaign’s health & wellness program, we aim to fill this gap, not only ensuring the veteran as an individual is supported, but the couple and family unit as well.

Goal #3

Grow to $5 million dollars in annual sales, donations and support to further our programmatic efforts while maintaining at least (and hopefully better than!) 85/15 ratio in dollars put towards programmatic efforts versus administrative costs. Tackling the health and wellness needs of the military community is an expensive endeavor and to serve the increasing need, we’ll need your financial support.

Goal #4

Continue to collaborate with premier and like-minded veteran service organizations, government entities and private sector patriots to thoughtfully steward and grow our programs. There are more than 46,000 non-profits across the country that serve the military community. We aim to link arms with the best of the best.

Goal #5

Get boots on the feet of more Americans to make every day a celebration and demonstration of our support and gratitude for those who have sacrificed for us all to protect our freedoms, the Constitution of the United States of America and all those who call her home.

We have more work to do, and will need you to lace up, America and get your boots on to make it happen. I can’t wait to see what the next 365 days hold.

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