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Army of Hope Hero Tree


The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States announced in February 2003, a plan to assist families who have had a father or mother called to active duty with the military reserve or National Guard – an Army of Hope.  Our Mission Statement is:


To assist our Active Military Servicemen and Women from Operation Enduring Freedom and

Operation Iraqi Freedom, our Severely Injured Military Service Members, and our Fallen Hero families.

The war on terror goes on and those sons and daughters serving in the military from New Jersey continue to die and become severely wounded.  These are not single deaths; with the death of a loved one, part of a family, neighborhood and community dies.  The parents, the children or grandchildren, aunts and uncles, friends, neighbors, co-workers -- all lose part of their hearts.  You may have seen our tribute banner to the Fallen Heroes.  To you they are faces; to this committee, we know every parent and have met with most of the family members.  We shed tears with them and offer what comfort we can.   We are trying our best to support New Jersey’s Severely Injured Military Service Members and the families of our Fallen Heroes.  


In 2022, the Army of Hope Committee sent out back-to-school and holiday disbursements to the children of our Gold Star families and Severely Injured Military Service Members.   We also sent each of our 60 Gold Star families a holiday gift card in the amount of $125.00, for use in sharing some joy with their families.  Additionally, during 2022, the Army of Hope committee has given out a total of $60,000.00 to our families in need of assistance.  Together, the amount spent on disbursements and soldier relief comes to $160,500.00.  Unfortunately, this need continues to grow.


This is why I’m asking for your help in raising money for the Army of Hope Committee.  Beginning January 29ththrough the end of February, you’ll see a tree in the Narthex in patriotic decoration.  If you pick a Hero Marker ‘Purple Heart’ Name Tag and make a donation ($5.00 suggested donation; checks should be made out to New Jersey State Elks Association with ‘Army of Hope’ in the memo section), you can hang that nametag on the tree, showing your support for those Fallen Heroes from New Jersey, who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our Freedom.


Thank you.  –Chris Colwell

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