The Story of Active Heroes
On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. It was a devastating attack that emboldened many Americans to help our Nation. The next morning, 3 brothers walked 30 miles From Raywick, KY to Lebanon, KY to sign up to fight.
All the brothers were separated and sent to different locations. Joseph Leake spent most of the war in the Pacific ocean supplying our troops in the Army. After the war ended, all of the brothers survived and returned home to begin a life working in factories.
Years went by and Joseph suffered from depression and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In 1980, Joseph committed suicide.
Joseph Leake’s grandson, Troy Yocum grew up not fully understanding why his grandfather would think that suicide was the only way out. After joining the Army and deploying to Iraq, Yocum came to realize that his friends were experiencing similar issues that his grandfather had. Yocum decided to make it his personal mission to help struggling veterans and their family members to reduce veteran suicide numbers.
Yocum came up with a plan to raise awareness and funds to help military families by hiking across America. He began the 17-month journey, dubbed the “Hike for Heroes”, on April 17, 2010 and finished more than 7,800 miles across 37 states on September 3rd, 2011. Yocum became the first veteran to ever walk the length of 3 times across America and was awarded the Citizen Honors Medal by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The hike garnered national attention for veteran suicide awareness, raised $1.3 million for military families and helped to create the charity named Active Heroes to continue a mission to end veteran suicide.
Since the inception of Active Heroes, the programs have adapted to identify the triggering points associated with veteran suicide. Active Heroes has national programs in every state and regional programs serving with locations.
- Active Challenges – Free events, seminars and Team Leader trainings for every state.
- Peer mentors, business partners and resources in every state
- A Military Family Retreat Center located in Shepherdsville, KY
- A Military Family Community Center in Louisville, KY
2016- Peer Mentors and National Resources map created
In 2016, Active Heroes launched a national effort to reduce veteran suicide by training certified peer mentors. Each peer mentor is placed on a map system that also connects business partners offering discounts and free services for military families. The program has already helped to save lives and continues to grow daily.
2015 ~The Active Heroes Military Family Community Center is opened
2013 ~The Active Heroes Retreat Center is purchased
2012 ~ Volunteer Projects and Home Repairs
2011 ~ Free Events/Seminars Are created For every Era of Military Families
Active Heroes began by forming an identity with Active events, Active volunteer projects and Active ways to support military families directly with programs.
FREE events were created for military families in every state across America. The Hike For Heroes eventually evolved into a team hiking events in dozens of cities called the Carry The Fallen and The Stand At Attention Competitions were hosted in malls in other cities giving a chance for all ages of veterans to participate.