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VFW Magazine January 2017 : Page 29

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID CONWAY campaign is a no -brainer for customers because it seems like everyone knows a v eter an or someone serving in uniform. “We raise more money for VFW than we do for any other charity we support,” DeRosa said. He added that he typically receives anonymous donations for the program and frequently has local businesses ask-ing him what they can do to help. “Sherry and I want veterans to know that Burger King will be with veterans until all their needs are met,” DeRosa said. ‘SPECIAL DEBT OF GRATITUDE’ In 2007, Sport Clips became the “Official Haircutter of the VFW” and thus began their support of VFW’s Operation Uplink Free Call Days, offering free phone calls home to deployed troops. “The first year we had a goal to raise $35,000,” said Gordon Logan, Sport Clips founder and CEO. “We actually raised $85,000. We have increased our contributions each year since, reaching $917,000 last year.” This is done during a campaign peri-od where clients are asked to donate at nearly 1,600 Sport Clips locations. Additionally, product suppliers such as American Crew and Paul Mitchell make donations. And on Veterans Day, when Sport Clips offers free haircuts to veterans and active-duty military, $1 for every cut is donated to VFW. Since 2007, Sport Clips has provided 2,521,159 free calls totaling 30,388,105 minutes worth $1,193,638. Once troops began returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in large numbers, there was not the demand for Free Call Days. That’s when the Help A Hero Scholarship program was born. Since 2013, 580 scholarships totaling $2.4 mil-lion have been awarded to service mem-bers and veterans. “We feel a special debt of gratitude to those who have gone in harm’s way to protect our freedoms,” said Logan, an Air Force Vietnam veteran who served from 1969-74. “I wish everyone could read all the emails, letters and personal commu-nications we receive from our scholar-ship recipients telling us how much their Help A Hero Scholarship means to them and their families.” Logan, a member of Post 8587 in Georgetown, Texas, said that each year, Sport Clips has a nationwide emphasis on fundraising from mid-October lead-ing up to the Veterans Day event. But many of his stores have various events throughout the year. “It is part of our culture,” he said. “And it’s rewarding to see young people so involved and dedicated to helping our veterans.” Since the Sport Clips/VFW partner-ship began, the haircutting franchise and its customers have donated $3,984,000 to VFW. (At press time, the 2016 num-bers were not available, but Logan said he expected to hit the $1 million mark.) J EMAIL jdyhouse@vfw.org ABOVE: David Conway with his wife, Jessie, is the recipient of a Help A Hero Scholarship. He is in his first year at the California Maritime Academy, where he is planning to get his bachelors of science degree in marine transportation. The degree will provide him with an unlimited Coast Guard license. “I can’t thank you guys enough for this,” he said. “I wish everyone could read all the emails, letters and personal communications we receive from our scholarship recipients telling us how much their Help A Hero Scholarship means to them and their families.” Gordon Logan Sport Clips CEO Total amount donated by Sport Clips clients since 2007. Total amount of scholarships awarded through Help A Hero Scholarship program sponsored by Sport Clips. $3.9M $2.4M 30,388,105 Total number of Free Call Day minutes sponsored by Sport Clips since 2007. JANUARY 2017   • WWW.VFW.ORG • 29

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