As a child, Jason McKie, founder of the Jason McKie Foundation, idolized professional athletes. But his dad never failed to remind him that real heroes wear badges and uniforms and risk their lives keeping Americans safe: heroes like police officers, firefighters and members of our armed forces. Even as thousands of adoring fans cheered for him and his teammates on the football field, the former pro-football player never forgot who the true heroes are: men and women in uniform.
“Football players may end the game with bumps and bruises, but our police, firefighters, and military men and women are risking their very lives and limbs fighting to protect Americans every day,” McKie says. ”They are our true heroes.”
A military brat his whole life, McKie saw the sacrifices members in the military and their families made firsthand. He witnessed many of his friends go to war. One friend even received a purple heart when he saved two people, including McKie’s best friend, after their convoy was struck.
Eight years ago, McKie decided to use his platform as a former pro-football player to start the Jason McKie Foundation with a mission to provide emergency support for military families and to raise awareness of the challenges Veterans and their families face after they leave the military. Today, McKie and his wife Stacey run the foundation and many of his former teammates support their efforts.
Because of low overhead, 100 percent of all donations go directly to the beneficiaries of the foundation. Recently, they teamed up with Operation Homefront to donate all the furniture and supplies for a wounded military Veteran’s new home. That Veteran is now a member of the foundation’s board.
The foundation was able to send another military Veteran to a Veterans’ hospital for a month to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They paid for all the treatment, food, lodging and transportation related to his care. And the foundation’s good work doesn’t go unnoticed; Veterans receiving the support are grateful. The beneficiary of PTSD care sent a thank you letter expressing the immeasurable impact the foundation’s support had on his life.
“We’ve been able to help almost everyone who has asked,” McKie says. “Some requests are minor; we have paid for simple requests like gas and electric bills to more expensive requests like a service dog for a military Veteran suffering from PTSD.”
On April 21, 2016, Combined Insurance announced a new partnership with the Jason McKie Foundation. It’s a natural fit.
As the nation’s #1 Military Friendly® Employer for two consecutive years as named by G.I. Jobs®, Combined Insurance works with many military and Veteran-focused organizations, including providing support for Luke’s Wings, the Fisher House Foundation, Snowball Express, the USO of Illinois and the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation. They have hired more than 2,500 military Veterans and those with a military background since they launched their recruiting program in 2010.
Thanks to a $5000 donation from Combined Insurance, the foundation will recognize the company as the number one sponsor for fundraising events it hosts throughout 2016, including the Muller Acura Auto Show and Truck Pull in Merrillville, Indiana on May 14.