Last Updated on April 10, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
At this year’s Success Camp, a conference for Homes for Heroes affiliates, our Homes for Heroes Foundation unveiled a couple of grants for organizations that serve our heroes. Cover My 6, who helps veterans with a wide variety of services, was the recipient of one of the grants. Jay Flynn, our outreach coordinator presented the check to Ben Fox, president of Cover My 6.
Jay: All right Ben, it’s my honor, on behalf of the Homes for Heroes Foundation to present you guys with this grant for $10,000 for Cover My 6. All right. And with that man, Ben, are you ready to talk about what Cover My 6 does?
Ben: Yes, sir. Cover My 6 was started officially in 2014. It was a process to get it started, so we didn’t really kick things off until 2017. But the army did a lot for me and my wife. We’re both military. I retired last year. But not everybody comes out of the military and is successful in life, right?
There’s a lot of things that can happen to you that can change your outlook on life and the path that you go down. So the reason I started this was I wanted to fill that crack as much as possible. I live in Iowa, and I wanted to support Iowa the best way that I could.
This is what we came up with. I don’t know if everybody knows what ‘cover my six’ means, but it means watching your back – watching your partner’s back. We are supporting Iowans who have served, so we’ve got their back. That’s what we do.
So currently we have nine board members. Obviously, we’re looking to grow. We are all volunteers. We all have jobs, We all have families. So, we do the best that we can. It keeps us smaller, but we are trying to grow in a lot of different ways. We want to grow the numbers of veterans who know about us.
We have some corporate partnerships that help us with a lot of our funding. We also do grant applications. Our biggest fundraiser is our annual golf outing. It’s a really fun event.
For example, here is the team that got the worst score – we call it the most honest score. We gave them a box of matches. Obviously everybody that comes and participates in our golf fundraiser has a huge impact on what we can do.
Last year we had over 75 requests for financial assistance. With over 40 veterans served, we covered over $30,000 in expenses.
The reason why we only did 40 out of 75 (not because we couldn’t necessarily assist them) is because we have partnered with other organizations as well. Some of these other organizations might fit their needs better. A lot of times connecting them with other people that can assist them. Then sometimes they find a way out of their situation where they don’t necessarily need assistance.
We do more than just financially assist people. Sometimes we partner with other people. We do everything that we can to help every veteran that comes to us. Our cases are really varied. We had a homeless individual that actually got a job with an electrical company, but he couldn’t start until he got his birth certificate. He didn’t have the money to get a copy of his birth certificate.
We were able to pay for his birth certificate so that he could start this job and be able to provide for himself. We had another individual who needed support for his service dog. He couldn’t afford the training. He had the new dog, but it needed to get the training. We were able to pay for that.
We do a lot of mortgage assistance, utility bills, rent, things like that. We did, for example, a roof replacement I’ll talk about in a minute. In this particular case there was no financial assistance on our end. This gentleman was moving, but he was disabled and he could not move everything in his house.
He put in a request to see if we had volunteers. We were able to get a group of volunteers together and move everything out of his house for him. Then we moved him into his new house. And when we got there, it needed a lot of yard work. So we had our volunteers do a lot of yard work while we were at his new house–to make it a little bit more presentable
This is that roof replacement that I was just talking about. Mr. Proehl, right there, is a veteran. I don’t know if everybody knows what a derecho is, but we had a derecho that came through Iowa. Essentially it’s an inland hurricane.
So we had wind that was over 80 miles an hour come through. Obviously it did a lot of damage throughout the entire state of Iowa. Mr. Proehl lived on a fixed income with his wife. Insurance approved his roof replacement, but he had $1,000 deductible. He had no way of being able to pay for that
He thought he wasn’t getting a new roof. Fortunately, the company that gave him the estimate was a veteran-owned company. A friend of mine worked for the company and reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, can you guys help?’ We said absolutely. We surprised Mr. Proehl. He had no idea he was getting a roof. He was in tears that day.
The last thing I want to talk about is with this whole grant process. This was a new experience for us, with the voting.
The first thing I thought when I saw the other two organizations is that we were by far the smallest organization in the running and the competition would be difficult. So we went on the local news station, and we got on local radio stations. We tried to spread the word as much as possible. For everybody here that does not have an organization that you work with, I recommend you partner with somebody. Because the things that came out of this voting process, such as being on the radio, got us multiple donations that came through our website after being on the news.
We’ve been able to get so many other opportunities that have come from just being part of the voting process for this grant. It’s been huge for our organization. It’s helping us grow, which is one of the things that we were absolutely trying to do. It’s been amazing. It’s been fun. And I want to thank all of you guys and Homes for Heroes for the opportunity to win this grant – to help support us and what we do for veterans in Iowa.
Thank you very much.
Homes for Heroes
Grants from the Homes for Heroes Foundation are made possible by the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving and its network of real estate professionals who are committed to providing savings to hero groups such as firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, military, active and veterans, health care professionals and teachers. To learn more about the services available through Homes for Heroes or to learn more about how the foundation is helping heroes in dire need, visit Homes for Heroes.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the Homes Heroes YouTube channel and to learn more about the savings available to Heroes through Homes for Heroes. Also, take a moment to learn more about the Homes for Heroes Foundation and the grants it provides nonprofit organizations who help heroes in need, or simply to make a donation.