To our many supporters,
First of all, we would like to thank each and every one of you for your unselfish commitment to the Hilton Head Heroes program. Without your individual contributions, the Heroes program would not have become such a successful organization. Because of your efforts, the Heroes program has become a highly respected charitable organization on a local, regional and national level. Now, as we pivot and our mission expands in some new directions, we would like for you to be aware of some of the exciting challenges we will be facing in 2023.
As you may know, after considerable thought and discussions, our Board decided two years ago that the Hilton Head Hero House in the Sea Pines Resort would be sold at the end of the 2022 summer season and that part of our program would give way to other deserving opportunities. Beginning early in 2023, the proceeds from the sale of the Hero House and the other assets currently held by our organization, will then be distributed within the structure of the new mission statement over a three to five-year period. Applications for funding opportunities will be solicited on our website and reviewed periodically by a Board of Directors and Advisors. Grants will be awarded in public settings on an ongoing basis.
The Hilton Head Heroes organization has had a tremendous impact on the lives of hundreds of families over the past 22 years of operations. Our persistence, determination, and financial responsibility have afforded us the opportunity to continue helping children and families in need for many years to come. Our strong relationships with children’s hospitals, social workers, summer camps and other charitable organizations give us a unique insight into identifying and understanding their needs. As we distribute funds to these groups, we will be leaving behind a legacy of hope, caring and love for complete strangers during the most challenging and darkest days of their lives.
We look forward with great excitement to this next chapter in the journey of Hilton Head Heroes. As always, we will continue our sincere efforts in making a difference in the lives of those around us….one child and one family at a time.
Gregg and Lindy Russell
There came a point in time in the life of the Hilton Head Heroes program when we had to decide if we were going to continue to borrow housing for our Hero families, or we were
going to make the bold decision to purchase our own home in the Sea Pines Resort. Hutch Hutchinson, our legendary and long time Board member, insisted that we should find a way to control the program’s destiny by owning a house that could accommodate the growing number of families coming on Hero vacations. His wisdom and leadership proved to be visionary and more rewarding than we could have ever imagined.
For the past 18 years, the Hilton Head Hero House in the Sea Pines Resort has been the heart and soul of this extraordinary program. Hundreds of families from across the country have walked through the front door and entered a welcoming refuge filled with warmth, encouragement and love. They have drawn closer together as families while swimming in the pool, having pizza nights in front of the television, riding bikes to Harbour Town, or grilling out under the stars on the patio. For many of them, it must have been hard to imagine why an organization and community would invite them, as strangers, to enjoy a cost free week of healing in such a beautiful setting. Those answers always came easily for our volunteers, supporters and Board members.
And now, after more than twenty years of daily operations, the Hero program is taking steps to redirect our focus in many new and challenging ways. And although we will be hosting the program’s final Hero family in late summer of 2022, the spirit and commitment of serving the families of children suffering with serious illnesses will continue for many years to come. We will continue working with the various children’s hospitals that have been our faithful partners for so long. We plan to send lots of children to special summer camps that host children with a variety of illnesses. And, we will assist local and regional organizations that serve the needs of families in crisis with funding and guidance.
As the Co-Founders of this amazing organization, we have been blessed to be a part of something that has been so special to so many people. But now, at this stage of our lives, it’s time for us to embrace this next chapter in our journey of reaching out to even more children and families that are in need. It has been a privilege and an honor to be in the presence of angels for all of these years. And, we look forward to continuing our commitment of making a difference in the lives of those who may need a little extra dose of hope, encouragement and love.
It is with great excitement that we approach 2023 focused on the next chapter in the life of Hilton Head Heroes. For more than twenty years, it has been my pleasure to have met and served over a thousand families as part of the Hero program. During that time, we have established wonderful relationships with doctors, hospitals, medical staff and social workers all across the country. As we now redirect our mission of “helping families with children coping with life threatening illnesses”, our reach will be even wider than it has ever been before. Our focus will remain on providing these children with special opportunities away from the challenges of hospital stays and medical treatments. We intend to sponsor hundreds of ill children at highly specialized summer camps while still supporting their hometown hospitals with much needed financial aid. We have seen the difference we can make in the lives of those we serve by offering them a little hope, sunshine and love. The future of Hilton Head Heroes is strong and we are committed to continuing our mission of reaching out to families when they need it the most. More information on the new direction and enhancement of our program will be available on our website (hhheroes.com) in January 2023. Applications for grants will also be available electronically for individuals and 501(c)(3) organizations on our site. I am filled with awe, gratitude and thankfulness for the generosity that has been shown to our program throughout the years. I look forward to many more years of making a difference in the lives of the children and families that we are so honored to serve.