Supporting the right veteran based nonprofit organizations has become a crapshoot lately. An organization of veteran owned and supporting companies have discovered the answer to this. This group formed “Veterans Forward Operating Base/Family of Brands (VFOB),” which answered the problem this, way:
What if every time you purchased a product you were directly supporting military and first responder veterans and their families?
Many residents and guests of the Flathead Valley in Montana did just that on July 23, 2016, at the first annual “Veterans Family of Brands Outdoors Expo,” and raised over $42,000. The proceeds from this event went to support the Special Operations Wounded Warriors and the Lone Survivor Foundation. Both of these organizations give over 95% of their donated money to the veterans they support.
The Expo was the creation of VFOB companies to showcase the veteran owned and supporting products from this group and other local outdoor industries. The event had 40 vendors in attendance and was hosted at the Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork, MT. The backdrop to the show was the Benghazi Memorial, the only memorial in the nation dedicated to those who died in Benghazi. This memorial is located at the Flathead Lake Lodge and was paid for and located by the generosity of the people of the Flathead Valley and other Americans.
Targeting Special Operations Wounded Warriors, and the Lone Survivor Foundation for their donations was an easy decision. The Special Operations Wounded Warriors (SOWW) is a foundation, not affiliated with Wounded Warrior Project, that is dedicated to the American warriors collectively known as Special Operations. These are the warriors who do not receive recognition because of the secretive nature of their missions. This foundation provides funds for scholarships of their dependents and recovery of their wounded soldiers. Additionally funds
were earmarked for the Lone Survivor Foundation, Marcus Luttrell’s foundation, whose mission is to restore, empower, and renew hope for our service members and their families. While both of these nonprofits are reputable, they are just two of the ones that Veterans Family of Brands supports. There is a strict qualification process for the group to be able to add a non-profit to their list. The first of which is that they must be veteran supporting. The second, and just as important, is that they must give 95% or more of their budget back to their charitable mission. The 2017 event will be focused on making the funds raised for veterans living in the Flathead Valley.
A host of Special Operations Warriors and Televisions Hunting Show Celebrities were in attendance to include,
Ron Bellan (Seal) Host of Reaper Outdoors
John “Tig” Tiegan, Hero of Benghazi
Jack Hanna, World Renowned Zoologist
Jana Waller, Host of Skull Bound TV
Laramie, “Sasquatch” Miller, Host of Sasquatch Mountain Man
Tom and Olivia Opre Host of Eye of the Huntress
John “Tig” Tiegan, mesmerized the crowd at a charity dinner for the event with the true and accurate story of what truly happened in Benghazi. Tig told the story in a way that only soldiers who have walked in that shadow could. As a surprise gift, Tig was given a NEMO Omen //Recon in .300 Win Mag by Karen Gerrard, one of the dinners guests who purchased the rifle at the Live Auction during that night.
There were also many veterans in attendance to included Navy Seals, Green Berets, Army Rangers, Marine Recon, and many others. These veterans came from many different wars from Viet Nam, the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan deployments. The dedication of these veterans and the other volunteers are determined to make this annual show a success and plan to enlarge the 2017 show from 40 to over 200 exhibitors, including live fire demonstrations and shooting competitions.
The second annual Expo is currently being scheduled for August 4 - 6, 2017.