As soon as you march through the front doors of this two story warehouse turned sanctuary, you can't help but get the feeling that something amazing is being built in this converted space. Something even more astonishing than the massive off road vehicles and bad ass dirt bikes that proudly line the perimeter of the work area. Here, the combat veterans who once directly benefited from this foundation's services are working tirelessly to change the way combat veterans see themselves and relate to their world upon returning home from war. This non-profit was built for veterans by veterans and continues to encourage the tightknit comradery that comes from military service, and #teamvirago was honored to be invited for a tour to meet the brave veterans behind this organization
The Warrior Built Foundation is a non-profit organization located in the city of Lake Elsinore that focuses on vocational and recreational therapy specifically for combat veterans. Their cornerstone project includes giving these men and women the opportunity to bond and open up with one another through the process of building vehicles which the WBF team of veterans then race in competitions. Outside of the therapeutic conversations that arise during these builds, working on every type of vehicle from " an off-road to a race car to a motorcycle, also gives them a chance to figure out if they want a future in the fabrication and mechanic industry" says founder and former marine, retired First Sargent Nick Hamm. The ultimate goal is to "foster an environment of healing, where great memories are born and new support systems are formed" and as far as #teamvirago is concerned from what we have seen, that goal has been achieved.
The therapeutic benefits of the mechanical projects are obvious both internally and socially for the former service members who come to WBF to find tranquility, but this facility is much more than just a garage. Their massive HQ also includes a rock star worthy music studio where veterans are taught to play instruments by fellow veterans and are even encouraged to write their own music. The second floor of this sanctum also has a man cave where group therapy sessions are held. The man-cave amenities include access to computers, printers, snacks, gaming systems and a huge flat screen tv. This pillar for post traumatic growth even has an onsite gym filled with special equipment built to work best for people with major injuries or lingering physical pain from trauma. The foundation also organizes community events, awesome field trips, a new photography class, and even have programs to help "combat veterans pursue their desires to enter and compete in different types of action sports and races such as the Baja 1000 off-road race".
After #teamvirago toured the facility, Virago's founder, Brittney Hogan, was given the honor of being invited to sign the "wall of warriors" on behave of herself and her late husband, Marine LCpl Hunter Hogan. As she began to write their names, a few of the warriors began to choke up as their fallen brother's call sign was added to the list of survivors and fallen soldiers that embellished the wall. Seeing these amazing men honor the sacrifice that Hunter had made for our country was a big moment for our organization, and soon the visit became just as therapeutic for us as this foundation is for hundreds of combat veterans.
We could not be more excited about this partnership and cannot wait to visit and work with them again!
Find their location and how you can participate or join them here! All branches are welcome! If you know a combat veteran who you think could benefit from the amazing work The Warrior Built Foundation is doing please pass on this information. #militaryallynetwork
- “BUILT” BY COMBAT VETERANS FOR COMBAT VETERANS
- “BUILT” ON OUR CORE VALUES OF HONOR, COURAGE AND COMMITMENT
- “BUILT” WITH THE UNRELENTING DRIVE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
- “BUILT” REMEMBERING THE WARRIOR ETHOS WE LEARNED SERVING OUR COUNTRY