August 17th is National Nonprofit day and InformData is proud to be a title sponsor of HeroHomes. Co-founded by our very own Matt Lowers, HeroHomes is an organization very near and dear to InformData’s heart. Supporting HeroHomes is one way we can remind those who gave selflessly to our nation that their dedication to American values is not forgotten.
Here with me today is Bryan Snow, our VP of Strategic Business Development and a board member for HeroHomes to share his involvement in giving back to the heroes who sacrifice so much for our freedoms and our rights:
Bryan, I understand that HeroHomes is a charity that you are heavily involved in. Could you tell us a little about HeroHomes and its mission?
Bryan: Absolutely. HeroHomes is a 501c3 founded back in 2016 with the primary mission of supporting wounded veterans who have sacrificed for our daily freedoms. The primary way we support our veterans is by building homes for 100% disabled veterans. We work with each recipient to build them a home specific to their needs and what's going to be best for their family. Additionally, when I say support, I mean that in a number of ways. Yes, we support financially with the home builds, but more importantly, we want to provide community and emotional support as well. Providing a sense of community, a sense of belonging helps our veterans manage the day-to-day stresses that come from serving our country.
I understand HeroHomes is just completing its 5th house. Could you tell us about this veteran and his story?
Bryan: For sure, our 5th home is the "Ochan House" named for Sergeant Jimmy Ochan.
Sgt. Ochan was born in Uganda. After high school, he emigrated to the US became a citizen and began college in Washington, DC. After two years in college, Sgt. Ochan, walked into a recruiting office and voluntarily signed up to join the United States Marine Corps because he wanted to give back to a country that had opened its doors to him as a young man.
Sgt.Ochan was deployed twice to Iraq (OIF-Operation Iraqi Freedom) and once to Afghanistan (OEF-Operation Endurance Freedom) and during patrol was hit by an IED. His injuries required several surgeries to his neck/spine and both knees which he received at the Walter Reed Hospital and Fort Belvoir community hospital. He struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, mild TBI and migraines and continues to receive treatment at the VA hospital while also participating in Equine therapy at Morven Park in Leesburg and golf in Fort Belvoir.
He was honorably and medically retired from the United States Marine Corps after 11 years and 7 months of service in 2015. After being discharged from the hospital, Sgt. Ochan was awarded a full Patriot Scholarship to finish his bachelor’s degree. He completed the curriculum and graduated in 2019 from Colorado Technical University online with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and Emergency Management. Today Sgt. Ochan lives in Arlington, VA with his wife Pat of 11 years and their 10-year-old son William, who loves golf and tennis.
Pat put aside her full-time career to care for her husband. She has been instrumental in creating the first-ever caregiver group in Fort Belvoir to help gather resources for all other caregivers whose loved ones had been injured in combat and were trying to navigate the healthcare system. Pat currently sits on the Advisory Board for Blue Star Families and has been a Fellow with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, representing Washington DC, where she was a spokesperson for 5.5 million women and men serving as military caregivers to our nation's heroes. Pat is also engaged with national and state leaders to uplift our nation’s military caregivers and help bridge critical gaps in services identified in the RAND research, she also served as the Foundation’s closest advisor and awareness partner.
Pat is a two-time recipient of the Patriot Scholarship. She graduated with a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Policy in 2017 and continued to pursue a Doctorate in Homeland Security Management at Colorado Technical University (Online). Pat graduated in July of 2021 and became the first Doctorate graduate from her district in Uganda and the first woman doctorate.
What are the best ways that organizations or individuals can help support HeroHomes and its cause?
Bryan: We get this question a lot. Honestly, the most important thing you can do is to support HeroHomes through financial donations. If you go to HeroHomesLoudoun.org you can make a tax-deductible donation. Your generosity allows us to fund future projects, buy land, and provide ongoing support to our veteran recipients.
Without our community and financial support from folks like you, we couldn't do what we do, so thank you to all of the supporters out there!