Home with Heroes
General Manager Jake Hachmeister, however, didn’t know the extent of the organization’s mission.
“If you had asked me 10 months ago, I would have said we are giving a truck to a great nonprofit, and they’re going to take some veterans and go outdoors,” Hachmeister says.
But then in October, Jachter and Hachmeister attended the organization’s signature pheasant hunt and saw firsthand that the nonprofit is devoted to using every cent they make to give veterans of all stripes opportunities for adventure and bonding.
“That’s where we learned how truly amazing Home with Heroes is,” Hachmeister says. “That was our ‘aha’ moment. Until then, they had our truck for nine months and we still didn’t know much. Then we get there and it clicked. We understood exactly the kind of good they do.”
Home with Heroes founder Jake Carse (left) and board member Bryan Bollman have fun while hosting vets.
On the homepage of homewithheroes.com is the organization’s mission:
Home with Heroes exists to bring veterans together in the outdoors to honor and thank them for their service. We never forget their sacrifice. We forever show our gratitude.
The nonprofit was started in 2011 by President Jake Carse and a group of friends as their way of giving back to veterans willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. They hold once-in-a-lifetime fishing and hunting events on a 3,200-acre remote private reserve. Each veteran participant is treated like a VIP and all expenses are paid.
As the organization grew, it became more difficult to offer the vets the kind of first-class experience they wanted using personal cars.
“Our goal is to treat the vets like a VIP, so when we pick them up, we chauffeur them for the entire event,” Carse says. “We literally were shuffling and borrowing trucks when we could. It was a constant nightmare.”
A brand-new Tundra makes a world of difference.
“The fact that the vets can get into a heated seat, and that we can haul gear without it getting wet, that’s been huge for us. We would have had a hard time pulling this year off because we’re growing so fast. So the Tundra gets reserved and allows us to not get stressed out.”
After getting the truck in June, the organization put more than 20,000 miles on it through the end of 2015.
“As soon as we got it, it’s been hauling trips back and forth on the ranch,” Carse says. “It’s been pulling trailers, loading gear up. It’s on the road constantly.”
Commitment to Veterans
Wilsonville Toyota has 10 veteran employees already. But part of their affiliation with Home with Heroes has to do with making that number even larger.
"Veterans tend to be a tight-knit group and they’re hard to find,” Hachmeister says. “That’s partly why we signed up with Home with Heroes, to start interacting with veterans in a meaningful way. Once we get into that community, we can start looking for those qualified vets to hire. And we need to do that because they make our dealership better.”
The vision truly came into focus at the pheasant hunt, as Hachmeister spoke with a World War II veteran who was grateful to be back outside bonding with fellow veterans who understood his struggle.
“To hear his excitement, you just can’t put it into words,” Hachmeister says. “It means so much to him to be around people with the same experiences. Home with Heroes is growing more and more. As it does, the more we realize how awesome their work is.”