iDirect Government representatives Mitch Cole and Paul Harr at the Patriot Foundation event.

Patriot Foundation takes care of those left behind

iDirect Government, as an active member in our community, supports organizations that give back to our nation’s military. These organizations continue to honor those who serve and their families.

One charity that we continue to work with is the Patriot Foundation. Mitch Cole, Sr. Systems Engineer, had the honor of attending one of their events this month in North Carolina. We asked him to give his take on the event and what it means to him as an Army veteran. Cole served in the U.S. Army from 2002-2008.

In 2003, Spike Smith joined forces with some active duty and retired U.S. military personnel to found the Patriot Foundation. Their mission: To provide scholarship funding for children of killed, wounded, injured or ill soldiers from Fort Bragg in the Global War on Terrorism. Their motto: Taking care of those left behind.

Since its inception, the Patriot Foundation has donated more than $5 million, funding as many as 1,800 college scholarships to children of the fallen along with child care and job training for surviving spouses who had to rejoin the workforce after living through a military spouse’s worst nightmare.

Spouses and children of the fallen from the 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, the 101st Airborne Division, 10th Special Forces Group and the 4th Infantry Division have all been recipients of this small but critical gesture of support to lessen the anguish and help rebuild the necessities of everyday life for those families who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The foundation, through continued growth and support of private and corporate sponsors including iDirect Government, plan to extend support to the 10th Mountain Division and the 3rd Infantry Division beginning in 2019. Families from North Carolina, Kentucky, Colorado, New York and Georgia have been, or will be in the future, affected by this charitable organization.

It is truly a privilege to be among those willing and able to contribute to their efforts.

A cornerstone of the organization’s operation is to share a common theme with the U.S. Army personnel they support – they are comprised of nothing but volunteers. Overhead costs associated with charitable organizations can be a bit of a hot button, and the Patriot Foundation operates with minimal overhead and complete transparency so that the maximum amount of funds can go where they’re supposed to – the spouses and children of those noble patriots who laid down their lives in defense of this great nation. As retired Navy Capt. Chuck Deleot, the foundation’s president, always says, “You’d be amazed at how far we can stretch a dollar.”

Every year, the Patriot Foundation hosts a golf tournament and appreciation dinner to show their gratitude for corporate sponsors as part of their Soldiers Appreciation Weekend. The weekend concludes with a celebratory dinner where guests hear from a gold star and Patriot Foundation scholarship recipient who shares how the foundation made an impact to their family with nary a dry eye in the room.

This year, a widow addressed the group. Tragically, her child will never hear her father’s voice or see his face. With his ultimate sacrifice of being killed in action in Afghanistan while his wife was pregnant, he will forever mark the price of freedom. I felt, as I always do, an immeasurable sense of honor and pride that I am a part of this great nation, foundation and company. Each of us, from our leadership down to the individual contributor, pays a direct part in our support for these families suffering a great loss and shouldering the burden of surviving.

It is a wonderful event for an even better cause. It is an honor to be able to participate, be among the hallowed heroes of these United States, and a consummate privilege to be a part of iDirect Government as we do our part to help take care of those left behind.