Live stream event helps to push Active Heroes over top in last effort to win $250,000 Grand Prize
During the month of May, Active Heroes competed in a national Facebook voting contest called Aprons in Action from The Home Depot Foundation. The contest was judged by votes with criteria of picking the favorite project and how the project will help military families. Throughout the month, Active Heroes competed this month against nine other finalists for the $250,000 grand prize. As a last day effort on May 31st, Active Heroes is hosting a live streamed event called the “Active Heroes Voting Marathon” to inspire the city of Louisville and viewers from across the world to help win the voting contest.
On May 31st at 4th Street Live in downtown Louisville, KY, Active Heroes and several veterans walked and ran on a treadmill, biked on exercise bikes and inspire the crowd of 15,000 people to help finish off the voting in style. The team set up near the Hard Rock Cafe with Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran, Troy Yocum MCing throughout the day. The event wad streamed live online for thousands to watch and was a huge success as the night slowly dwindled away. Then with only 30 minutes left in the contest, country music artist Dustin Lynch, pulled the team of veterans on stage to announce that we were 62,000 votes ahead of second place. The crowd erupted with applause and then started chanting “USA USA USA!”
Veteran Marc Dibernardo from Fort Campbell, KY traveled to Louisville to join the team. “I had been working with our Olympic coaches and physical therapists to get ready for this.” said Dibernardo. “It was a team effort to go all 12 hours an we pushed until the end with my brothers.”
Several veterans and supporters came to join the team that helped lead the way towards winning the voting contest. 2 of those supporters flew all the way from California to endure the 12 hours of pain. The pain was not a factor throughout the day as the team found their passion and heart to keep pushing their limits.
“It was truly an honor to be invited and to be able to collaborate with a great organization such as Active Heroes. This wasn’t easy by any means but being supported by friends, family and the general public all cheered us on. Seeing all the support via the live streamed feeds gave me an overwhelming sense of pride and energy to push thru it all. As well as seeing all the vets that came up and thank us for what we were doing was truly amazing. said Mac Alaniz, a supporter who took on the biking challenge. “I dug down deep and remembered who we are doing this for and why we do what we do. The sacrifice and dedication to us all, these brave warriors endure and I mustered up what I had left in me to push thru and finish. As the countdown came to a close tears ran down my face and an overwhelming sense of emotions… Not because of the pain, or the fatigue, but rather because I knew at that exact moment… That we had won… That we achieved something great and would impact the lives not only of one or two individuals but for thousands. That we would impact families and that we had paved the way for healing for our heroes. They say pain is temporary but pride last forever. This is so true… The pride and knowing what was done that day will be with me forever and knowing that we all did our part to make this a reality for those who give so much and ask for nothing in return will forever be ingrained in me. Thank you to all that have and are wearing the uniform. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.”
The team counted down the last few minutes together and ended up completing 300 miles on the treadmill and exercise bikes. Even Marc Dibernardo completed over 42 miles and never stopped running during the entire day. “It was amazing. It was the best feeling pain knowing in the end we won. Everyone was very supportive to include Home Depot and I’m proud to be apart of this and Active Heroes!”
In the end, Active Heroes won The home Depot’s Aprons in Action program with more than 107,000 total votes. The $250,000 grand prize is now going to help build a military family retreat to help curve the number of veteran suicides with mental and physical therapy. Look for the retreat to be built in 2014!
About Active Heroes:
The mission of Active Heroes is to strengthen military families, serve veterans and benefit active duty military by providing financial support and community reintegration. Active Heroes is dedicated to connecting and helping America’s military families through financial assistance, active challenges, leadership training and community outreach to halt the triggering point and stress associated with hard times. Learn more at www.activeheroes.org.