Each May, as we approach Memorial Day, our nation takes the time to pause and reflect on our military’s brave men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. We all have different ways in which we honor those lives lost. For some, it may mean leaving flowers at the gravesites of the fallen. It may mean coming together to keep their memory alive for those who lost loved ones. But for one family, remembering wasn’t enough.

On May 10, 1996, two helicopters operating off the USS Saipan on the North Carolina shore collided in a tragic mid-air collision during a mock landing nighttime training exercise. 25-year-old Lt. Joseph R. Fandrey of Norfolk, Massachusetts, was one of the fourteen Marine, Army, and Navy warriors who died in service to their country that day. 

Besides being an exceptional Marine, Joe was an individual of personal integrity and honor. After this tragedy, his family asked themselves, “How will we remember Joe? How will we continue to honor his life?” To answer that, his family established The Joseph R. Fandrey Memorial Fund, which supports organizations that reflect Joe’s sense of duty to God and country. Organizations like Hope For The Warriors.

“We felt that supporting veteran organizations was a way to conquer evil by doing good,” said Gloria Fandrey, Joe’s mother. “We were drawn to the Warrior’s Wish program at HOPE because it gives back to a veteran who has given through their service. That’s very important to us.”

HOPE’s Warrior’s Wish program transforms the lives of severely injured veterans by fulfilling life-changing wishes, such as installing adaptive equipment in a vehicle or home, providing tools or a workshop to launch a new career, or more. Since the program’s inception, HOPE has granted over 200 wishes, totaling more than $1 million. Read about one of our recent wish recipients here to learn how their sense of HOPE was restored.

This year, the Fandrey family will hold the 24th Annual Joseph R. Fandrey Memorial Golf Tournament and donate the proceeds to Hope For The Warriors and a first responders charity. Thank you to the Fandreys for allowing HOPE to remember and honor Joe in ways that transform the lives of grateful veterans and their families.

For more information on the Warrior’s Wish program and how you can make a difference in the lives of our nation’s heroes and their families, click here to help grant a wish today.