“First and Foremost It’s About the Warrior”
“Remember why we are doing this – it’s for the warriors.”
Shawn Waggoner, the South Florida Heroes on the Water (HOW) chapter coordinator has first-hand experience with the ups and downs of building a chapter. The South Florida chapter is not yet a year old, and still they have managed to create some pretty amazing events while keeping the momentum going. So what is their secret?
“We remember why we are here, which is for the warriors. It’s not about titles or the job we do. It’s to help and potentially save lives by putting on a good event that has a relaxed, stress-free environment. “
Keeping Priorities Straight
Shawn and the rest of the team stay focused on service to the warriors so they can continue to enhance events and grow the chapter. But that is not always an easy task with a team of volunteers with very diverse personalities. One of the ways they continue to be successful is to recognize the gifts each person brings to the table.
“We all want to serve the warriors, so we make a point to always work as a team. When we first started, we were in different roles. As time passed, we recognized gifts and shifted our leadership team to better utilize those gifts and talents. It takes a lot of openness and maturity to shuffle the deck like that and stay focused.“
Another tactic South Florida used was to reach out to other chapters and ask for tips, best practices and lessons learned.
“We are all in this together and focused on continuing to better serve our warriors. The other chapter leaders are very willing to help, and it allowed us to leverage the experience and talent of the community.”
The South Florida team also documented roles and responsibilities so that each team member understands their primary function. Then they cross-trained the team to ensure coverage and that nothing slips through the cracks.
Remember Why We Do This
South Florida has continued to grow each event from humble beginnings by staying focused on the warrior experience. This includes have a meeting after every event to evaluate the processes and overall event execution. It ensures that each event runs more smoothly and that hiccups that occur are resolved.
“It’s important to remember we are not alone. There are members of the community, sponsors, donors and volunteers who are willing to help us make a difference in a warrior’s life. Every chapter goes through some struggles, but we stay positive and keep on charging so we can continue to serve more warriors.”
If you are interested in helping a warrior begin the journey toward peace, you can do so by donating, volunteering, or starting a chapter in your area!
The chapter leaders, volunteers and community continue to show how committed they are about helping Heroes on the Water serve warriors in building a more peaceful, fulfilling life at home. Our sincere thanks to all those who serve our warriors!