Author: Charli K. Matthews
Earlier this month, I was able to attend the Heroes First Golf Tournament organized by SPP Pumps, a partner with Empowering Pumps & Equipment. The Heroes First Foundation collaborates with paws4people to donate 100% of the funds raised to paws4vets. The combination of this tournament, charity, and attendees showcase service in a way that matters. I am proud to be a second year sponsor and will continue to sponsor this event from now on. I also encourage you to attend and donate – Learn how you can get involved – https://heroesfirstfoundation.org/get-involved! It wasn’t until I attended the event and spoke to the people there that I understood its significance.
I saw first-hand the commitment from John Kahren, Taylor Johnson, and Ciara Bagwell. I love being early to events like these to see who is running the set up, and it was clear these three wanted the event to be perfect! They took pride in every detail!
As I made my rounds meeting the guests, I realized there were many distributors and manufacturers who work with John. This included our partners, EBARA Pumps Americas Corporation and WEG USA, and it was overwhelming to see the shared passion for the event and support for John’s mission. John has impacted my career, and I had been curious to learn why he chose to organize this charity. As the Heroes and “Paws” arrived, this concept of service started to sink in.
One dog, by the name of MYERS, reached out and gingerly grabbed my foot! I am extremely thankful he said hello! As I loved on him, I noticed the great joy, peace, and happiness the dog instilled in the people near him! I wanted to know more about how these dogs actually helped the vets.
There was a man with an amazing smile who got my attention. He was very kind but seemed unsettled as I spoke to him. He had been in the Navy. It turned out he was new to the program and had just been given a service dog, named HEART, to assist him a few months prior to the event. I asked him about HEART and his new experience. We had a brief conversation about getting used to traveling with a service animal, but then he told me a story that I will remember forever. He spoke about how HEART helped him get through the stress of going into the grocery store – and while I could see the anxiety on his face as he told me the story, I thought to myself…I have seen this look before…on my father’s face. My dad might have had a better return to the workforce if given a service dog to help him. I didn’t come to that understanding until I had heard several other stories and the speech from another hero the following day: “If I can take care of him, then I can take care of my family. This dog is my family.” As I watched HEART lead his ward away from the crowd, I was in awe of the depth of service. The dogs who are offering a service, and at the same time being given a service (care)…dogs who have been trained to support Veterans, who have served our country…this cycle of service got me thinking about what ‘Service’ means to me.
In my business, we take care of our clients as an extension of their marketing department. We help them accomplish their goals and adjust plans for each client. We provide services that amplify their presence to their target audience. At the same time we are providing a service to our Partners, they are providing a service to our audience. Without our Partners, we wouldn’t have the rich technical knowledge to share and help educate the next generation! So when I think about this cycle of service, I am so thankful for all these relationships!
Relationships are at the heart of service. Take John as an example – I first saw John at a CEO panel during the HI Pilot program. Each person on the panel was an inspiration in a different way. I remember thinking… John is customer-focused! I could probably relate to that the most! This is what was really fantastic about learning how the Heroes First Golf Tournament began. It originated from John’s personal relationship with his customer. His client trusted him enough to consider him family and tell him a story about a great need his son had. The man’s son was a veteran dealing with serious depression and there had been little help to be found. As his client expressed his son’s need for a companion or service dog, John was led to offer a service. Using his business and relationships to build a program, he raised funds for the man’s son to get a service dog. The cost was $30,000. They raised the money. It started a tradition of helping vets every year. This year, the event raised $100,000! That is 3 dogs. I loved Taylor’s response and focus already on next year’s event… “You can’t buy ½ a dog… We want to raise $150,000 next year and we will!” I believe her and I will continue to help by raising awareness for this great event. It was a beautiful display of all the things I love… Freedom, Heroes, People, and Passion to Help People… especially those who have helped us! #Give Back
Posted by Charli K. Matthews on Thursday, May 10, 2018