To enable a sense of personal accomplishment, empowerment and unity for our nation’s disabled Heroes through exciting, fun activities and overall appreciation of the great outdoors.
How Hope for Heroes Got Started
Hope for Heroes was founded by Mitch Serlin in 2010.
A retired Westchester County K9 Police Officer and U.S. Army 101st Airborne Scout Sniper, Mitch struggled for many years with PTSD. Over time, he learned he was not alone. Far from it: Many of his fellow officers and friends suffered from the disorder as well, or had been injured physically during their service ... and felt that their lives were cut short as a result.
Mitch and those he knew who were facing PTSD and other disorders and injuries feared they’d never be able to return to doing the things they loved.
Mitch formed Hope for Heroes to help change that mindset by creating experiences that are physically and emotionally possible — and therapeutic — for all Heroes.
Who are our Heroes?
The word “hero” is sometimes thrown around loosely in today’s society — but Hope for Heroes refers to individuals who have served in the military, as well as police officers, firefighters and EMTs as true Heroes. These individuals have answered the call and made the brave choice to sacrifice everything for us — our safety, our freedom and our country.
We know that it is our duty and our mission to return the favor by providing hope and support to those Heroes who have been emotionally and/or physically disabled. We aim to make Heroes whole again.
How We Help our Heroes
We often call our work at Hope for Heroes “camouflage therapy.” That’s because the healing we provide takes place almost subconsciously -- but tangibly -- through participation in exciting and fun outdoor outings like hunting, deep-sea fishing, boating, hiking, kayaking, camping, competition barbecues and more.
Founder Mitch Serlin also hosts yearly events at his personal lodge nestled comfortably on 1600 acres in Burkesville, Kentucky, which enables Heroes to enjoy extended vacations and adventure trips.
Our Heroes have told us countless times over the years that the sense of accomplishment and camaraderie sticks with them long after each event ends. Over time, these shared outdoor experiences help them heal, give them hope and allow them to reconnect with loved ones and the world around them.
Hope for Heroes outings are curated not only for our Heroes but also for their families, friends and caregivers who work tirelessly to care for their loved ones.
Plans for Growth
Thanks to the support of caring donors and corporate sponsors, we have many exciting plans on the horizon and look forward to reaching even more Heroes through our critical and life-changing work in the coming months and years.
Our most ambitious plan is the construction of a 120-acre, handicap-accessible lodge in beautiful Hillsdale, New York
Hope for Heroes has created a strategic framework and with the acquisition of our new 120-acre property in Hillsdale, NY, we plan to build a handicap-accessible, six-bedroom, 4,700 square-foot lodge for rehabilitation and healing for our Heroes and their families that will allow greater inclusive access locally for our heroes to begin their healing journey.
Once the Recreation Center is built, Hope for Heroes plans to host educational workshops and events for our Veterans and First-Responders.
The Healing Lodge retreat will include job skill rehabilitation, service dog training, trauma-informed yoga, hunting retreats, gardening, foraging, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and kayaking while providing adaptive equipment for inclusive participation. Our Healing Lodge retreat center will heal our Heroes holistically by providing and guiding them through activities that support their physical, emotional, social, spiritual, financial, and family wellness.
When skiing is added as an official Hope for Heroes event, we will work with the organization STRIDE Adaptive Sports, which offers adaptive ski and snowboard lessons to individuals with developmental, intellectual, and physical disabilities.
Our dream is to have some of our Heroes help us construct the house with the help of our partner LifeWorks, which provides adaptive mobility equipment to people with disabilities.