The quality of this photo is low but the high school seniors in this photo are top notch!  Meet Brendan or “B” and his friend Coti.  The luminaries you see on the sides of the road are part of B’s annual Christmas project to raise funds for Hope For The Warriors® and to honor wounded service members.

For the past three years, B has purchased paperbags, candles and sand.  Then he solicits donations within his neighborhood and prepares the luminaries along the way.  His neighbors love the lights but the real benefit to B is knowing that he is doing something to help those that have served and sacrificed for our country.

“Some years the donations are high and some years they are low, but to know that I have helped benefit the men and women who fight for this country; it is worth all of the work.  After the bags are lit each year, I reflect upon all I have in my life and am grateful.”

This is not the first fundraiser that B has done.  In fourth grade, his father, a Marine, was deployed to Iraq.  At that time, one of the Marines who returned wounded was Lt. Col. Tim Maxwell, whose wife Shannon, was one of the founders of Hope For The Warriors®.  In response, B organized a lemonade stand to raise funds for the new nonprofit organization. 

Clipping from Local Newspaper

B’s own father has since deployed four more times–so he knows first hand the service of the men and women in the military.  B has also visited Bethesda and Walter Reed medical centers with his mom, bringing gift bags and talking to the wounded as they focus on their recovery.

“Their attitude and will to heal is a great inspiration to me,  and their spirit is contagious and makes me believe I can do great things as well.”

For his future, B hopes to attend Virginia Military Institute and become a military officer.  On the school’s website, they state “Virginia Military Institute is distinctive in the world of higher education because of its mission to prepare educated, honorable, and steadfast leaders.”  I hope that VMI sees in B what his parents, neighbors, teachers, and all of us at Hope For The Warriors® see–a young man who is already an honorable and steadfast leader.  Thank you B!