Band of Heroes Outdoors came from humble beginnings, it’s a true example of wanting to do good in the world and turning it into something everyone can get involved with. Taking it back to 2020, this mission began as a hobby with founder, Wesley Young. Wes knew he wanted to give back to veterans that had served, he knew what comradery, a few good laughs, and being in the outdoors could do for mental health and how it can be a therapeutic experience.
Wes knew he had to start somewhere, so he took $600 out of his own pocket, had t-shirts made, and sold them hand-to-hand to raise money to take his first veteran out on a hunt. When Wes reached his goal, he sought out to find a veteran to gift the experience to. Along the way, a friend, Dakota McClucas came on board and together they took a disabled veteran on an all expenses paid hog and ram hunting trip. The trip was a huge success and accomplished exactly what Wes had hoped it to: a good time and relaxation. Wes and Dakota didn’t know the veteran prior to the experience at all, and yet they walked away with an amazing trip, and lasting friendships that left them all feeling so grateful for the experience.
In 2021, Wes decided to turn the hobby into an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit and couldn't wait to see how many veterans he could help that year. He established a board of directors, with Dakota by his side as Executive Director, and they put their heads down and got to work. In 2021 they successfully helped over 20 veterans by taking them on 10 different trips all across the US. The feedback was phenomenal. Veterans expressed they couldn’t put into words the friendships made, the laughs they had, and how it was so rewarding to escape everyday life for a few days while feeling honored and spoiled for serving our country.
Unfortunately, 2021 had hardships too. On Jan 12, 2021, Wes received the worst phone call imaginable. Brady, a long time friend, and veteran, had passed away due to unforeseen circumstances in dealing with his anniversary of being in an explosion while serving overseas. The situation was tragic and extremely numbing. After reeling from this loss, it became apparent Wes and his team were meant to be doing this. Band of Heroes Outdoors knew they had a big mission:
To end veteran suicide and make our veterans feel seen.
It is then Band of Heroes Outdoors's official mission became that they would work everyday to provide a release and a therapeutic environment for veterans to be able to enjoy God's country and its benefits while being in the company of heroes.
On average, 22 veterans end their life a day, and it’s unacceptable. Band of Heroes Outdoors won’t stop until that number is zero. It’s time, as a community and country, that we come together as one to stand up and help the men and women who saved our country. In 2022, we have 19 trips booked serving 41 veterans, and we can’t wait for you to join us in our cause whether that is through donating, volunteering, or spreading the word.
In memory of Brady A. Jackson
(3/13/1985 - 1/12/2021)
and all the veterans we’ve lost.