The word tough is so commonly used that its meaning is often diluted. We're told that pick up trucks are tough. An overcooked steak at a restaurant can be too tough. When things don't go our way we experience tough luck. The simplicity of the word tough contributes to its overuse. That simplicity also makes it the perfect descriptor to characterize American combat Veterans. Tough is the norm for these physical and mental athletes. Their training is tough. Their assignments are tough. The only thing tougher than an individual service member is the bond of brother and sisterhood that connects them as a unified fighting machine. Their sum far exceeds even the toughest of their individual parts. When the cogs in this unbreakable wheel are disassembled reentry to life stateside can be extremely tough. The task of reducing Veteran suicide may be the toughest of all. That's why Major Lee Stuckey, USMC founded AHERO back in 2009.
AHERO, America's Heroes Enjoying Recreation Outdoors, tackles Veteran suicide with the toughest weapons available. The all volunteer organization is filled with active duty service members, retirees, Veterans, and patriotic citizens committed to healing the physical and psychological wounds of war. More than 90% of the money collected by AHERO directly benefits Veterans and their families. Service members and Veterans are introduced to like-minded, like-experienced individuals experiencing difficult transitions to post combat life. The bonds of brotherhood that were absent after wartime are reformed through hunting & fishing trips as well as other outdoor and athletic events. Stories are told and relationships forged at the campfires and in group counseling sessions. Help is now only a phone call away. There are many who will answer that call. The men and women of AHERO make the task of reducing Veteran suicides a little less tough every day.
It's only fitting that the Tough Mudder, America's most rigorous recreational athletic event, has joined the mission of Veteran suicide prevention with AHERO. Tough Mudder is more than a fitness challenge. It's a set of values lived out on the course and in everyday life. Over 2 million people have raised over $8 million dollars for different charities. This year the Tough Mudder Gulf Coast Presented by Merrell is raising money for AHERO through the hills of Santa Rosa County. Over 20 obstacles though the 10+ mile course will test the toughest athletes. Whether its over the wall, under the water, or through the mud the Tough Mudder's focus is set on teamwork. Helping every participant finish the race is far more important than individual times. Tough Mudder is the perfect microcosm for AHERO's path to Veteran physical and mental restoration. Tough Mudder organizers and participants will be instrumental in helping AHERO fund its construction of the AHERO Pavilion where veterans will begin their path of healing. AHERO is honored to partner with Tough Mudder in raising awareness, donations, and solutions to the constant challenges waiting for America's heroes when they return to the homeland they've been protecting around the world.