Glenn Rust has been a long-time supporter of Gratitude Charlottesville, and his recognition as a “Friend of Freedom” for February 2021 is long overdue. “I sponsor Gratitude Charlottesville as a way to say thanks for the many sacrifices that our veterans, active military and first responders have made, and continue to make, on a daily basis for us. They are that very small percent that have answered the call to serve and protect our community, state and country.”
Friends of Freedom Award: 2020 Year in Review
These great organizations and individuals were recognized and received our Friends of Freedom Award in 2020. Each has a passion for supporting our active-duty military, military veterans, our police and their families. They stepped up big time during this challenging year of the pandemic, never wavering in their support. Please click on “Read More” to browse our archive to review the many contributions our 2020 Friends of Freedom made in order to understand why they were recognized and honored.
January will mark the two-year anniversary of the “DP Cares Program” that gives meaningful advertising space in the paper to area non-profits. “It’s a great way for these non-profits to introduce themselves to the larger community, or perhaps to highlight an event or fundraiser that’s coming up, “explains Richard Alblas, Special Sections Editor at The Progress. “Our hope is that, by offering this service, we contribute to the goals of these organizations, and by extension helping the people who benefit from these non-profits.”
One of our core values is to give back to the communities where we do business,” explains Cathcart Group’s CEO, Todd Dofflemyer. The notion of giving back dates to Todd’s childhood when his grandfather “instilled in me how important it is to give back to others when able.” The company’s founder, Rip Cathcart, shares this philanthropic nature, having served on the YMCA Board that was instrumental in bringing the YMCA to Charlottesville, supporting the Senior Center and the Salvation Army, just to name a few. In fact, the company’s primary purpose is “to improve communities and lifestyles,” and the giving back mentality is prevalent throughout the company culture
“Veterans deserve to have the kind of unconditional support a pet can provide,” explains Angie Gunter, Chief Executive Officer of the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA. Angie launched a Free Adoptions for Veterans program in August 2019 that resulted in close to 20 adoptions by the end of the first year. Adopters ranged in age, branch of military, and gender, resulting in a diverse pool of participants. “Our goal for our adoption program for veterans is to match as many veterans looking for an animal companion with a pet from the shelter as possible,” she said.
If Gratitude Charlottesville had a “lifetime achievement award”, Mindy Goodall would be our first recipient. Goodall recently left her position as the Executive Director of the Charlottesville Police Foundation (CPF) after a decade of service. Her drive and determination enabled the foundation to exceed its goals in serving the Charlottesville Police Department (CPD) and importantly, the community-at-large.
Doug serves veterans “out of respect for what they give”. For the past 5 years he’s been a donor to the “Freedom 5K” Run that benefits local vets. He also supports the UVA ROTC Run which raises scholarship money for aspiring ROTC cadets and midshipman. Every March for the past 8 years, he’s donated a portion of each patient’s office visit fees to local organizations supporting vets. Using his entrepreneurial talents, Doug developed a “Hero Honey” program where he donates money from honey he produces to Virginia Veterans.
ParadeRest Virginia, a local non-profit expressing gratitude to our military, their families, and veterans, recently overcame the great challenge of the Coronavirus Pandemic. When faced with possibly postponing or worse, cancelling their 10th Annual June 4 Our Freedom 5K Run/Walk fund raiser, their Board elected to make it a “VIRTUAL EVENT”.
After moving to Virginia in 1995, Dick became aware of the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA, and decided he wanted to work there as a guide. He has been volunteering at the memorial for 10 years and thoroughly enjoys the work because it’s a very meaningful way for him to honor the military service and sacrifice of his father. In addition, the National D – Day Memorial is a wonderful tribute to the Bedford Boys whose service and sacrifice is both sad and uplifting.
The reason I belong to RWB is because it feels like family to me. When I retired in 2013, I missed the camaraderie of my soldiers, and RWB fulfills that gap. I love playing an active role in RWB because we impact people’s lives, including my own, and we always help our military community. Military members, whether current or prior, often enjoy sharing war stories to gain a warm sense of camaraderie back or may want to vent about certain issues. RWB is there for them, whether it’s over coffee or out on a hike.
If there is a military or police event in town, there is a good chance Manager Jeremy Vaughan and his patriotic crew are there and enthusiastically serving up some delicious Mission BBQ. “We as a team and brand feel that there is nothing more American than those that raise their right hand and vow to protect and serve their communities and country. These core ideals of our First Responders or Armed Forces members are the sole reason we are able to have a successful restaurant in the beautiful community of Charlottesville.”
Blue Star Families of Central Virginia supports fellow Blue Star members and their friends and family members who are serving or who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. According to Martha Horsfall Chapter President, their most important mission is to mail CARE packages throughout the year to our military personnel stationed abroad. Since their inception in 2003 they have shipped more than 5,500 CARE packages to service members deployed throughout the world.
A few years ago Ashley and her crew at James River Reeling and Rafting started “BBQ on the Bend”, an annual cook-off festival benefitting local charities. “Every year we end our season with a celebration. Staff, friends and their families would gather to eat, drink and be merry to celebrate the close of the season. It became a goal after a few years to turn this into something much more grand and “BBQ on the Bend” was born.” The Freedom Fund was the beneficiary of the 2019 event in September.
The new owners of The Club at Glenmore, Damon Devito and David Swales of Affinity Management, provided a free wedding to a local military couple on 9/11. Glenmore invited any recent veteran, active military or first responder couples to enter to win a “LOVE & LIBERTY” free wedding on 9/11. It is their way of “showing a token of appreciation for the men and women risking their lives on the front lines at home and abroad.”
National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM) is celebrated every May and is a declaration that encourages U.S. citizens to observe the month in a symbol of unity. NMAM honors the current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom. To commemorate this important month and the 75th anniversary of the D-day invasion, Gratitude Charlottesville sent more than 30 local business leaders and veterans to the National D-day Memorial in Bedford Virginia on May 24th for a day of contemplation and to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of…
The Albemarle County Police Department Foundation promotes public safety by supporting our Police Department in its efforts to be a professional, highly educated and trained organization, equipped to prevent crime and enhance the overall safety of our community.
Blue Star Families of Central Virginia is a tight knit team of local mothers committed to working to support our veterans, military members, and their families. One of their more important outreach missions is the shipment of CARE packages to deployed service members throughout the year.