Sport Clips Haircuts’ Donates $1.25M to VFW Help A Hero Scholarships

Help A Hero is now one of the “top-awarding” programs of its kind

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Dec. 9, 2019) – A $1.25 million donation by Sport Clips Haircuts to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation will boost the impact of the Help A Hero Scholarship program that supports education for civilian careers. Sport Clips Founder and CEO Gordon Logan, who is a veteran and VFW Life member, presented the million-dollar-plus check to VFW National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz today at the VFW National Headquarters.

Sport Clips presents $1.25 million dollar donation for veteran scholarships
(L to R) VFW National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz is joined by VFW’s “Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship” recipients Jack Yarbrough and Cris Graif, Sport Clips Team Leader Darin Bailey from Harrisburg, North Carolina, and Gordon Logan, Sport Clips founder and CEO, at today’s Sport Clips presentation of $1.25 million in support of the VFW’s “Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship” program which provides scholarships to service members and veterans.

“There’s a common misconception that GI Bill benefits and military training are enough to secure education or training for civilian occupations, but that’s often not the case. For many service members, additional degrees and certifications are needed to secure sought-after post-military work. There are 165 student veterans attending colleges and certification programs right now with the aid of Help A Hero Scholarships and more than 1,450 student veterans have benefited from these scholarships since 2014. This year’s fundraising will make even more scholarships available to U.S. service members and veterans in the year ahead,” says Logan. “We are so grateful to the men and women who serve, and to their families, and we owe the success of the Help A Hero campaign to our generous Sport Clips clients, team members, and product partners. It’s an honor to say ‘thank you’ to them all.”

“To date, the program has awarded more than $6.5 million in scholarships, which places it among the top-awarding service member and veteran scholarship programs in the country,” said Schmitz. “Higher education doesn’t come easily to all of our student veterans. It often takes the support of scholarships or burdensome loans beyond what the GI Bill covers to get the education needed for meaningful careers as they transition from military service. Working with veteran-friendly companies such as Sport Clips is one way we can help make the transition from service member to the civilian world easier for veterans and their families.”

More than $120,000 of the money was raised from Sport Clips’ own $1 per haircare service donation made on Veterans Day while clients, individual supporters and Sport Clips team members donated the largest portion of the money raised. Sport Clips partners Direct Beauty Express, American CrewJohn Paul Mitchell SystemsNioxinSexy HairGibs Grooming  and Darlington Raceway also made substantial contributions.

The Help A Hero program started in 2007 when Sport Clips first worked with the VFW to provide phone calls home for deployed and hospitalized service members and veterans. After the drawdown in troops began a few years later, the partnership transitioned in 2013 to become the VFW’s “Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship” program.

Sport Clips is the Official Haircutter of the VFW, and its Help A Hero campaign is just one of the many ways it supports active-duty military and veterans. To find out more, visit your local Sport Clips or

VFW-Supported Burn-Pit Bill Introduced to House

‘This important legislation would make individuals eligible for hospital care, medical services and nursing home care’

A bill introduced to the House could provide veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars who were exposed to burn pits the same VA medical care as Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

The VFW-supported Jennifer Kepner Healthcare for Open-Air Burn-Pit Exposure (HOPE) Act, H.R. 4137, was introduced to the House by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) in August.

A member of the Air Force tosses items into a burn pit in Balad, Iraq

Air Force Master Sgt. Darryl Sterling, of the 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, tosses unserviceable uniform items into a burn pit in March 2008 in Balad, Iraq. The obituary of Jennifer Kepner, the namesake of the Jennifer Kepner HOPE Act, states she died from pancreatic cancer “due to the open exposure burn pits” while serving in Balad, Iraq, in 2004.

If passed and signed into law, H.R. 4137 would add vets exposed to toxic fumes from burn pits to the VA’s priority group 6, meaning it would allow veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars the same treatment as veterans exposed to toxic chemicals. 

VFW National Legislative Director Carlos Fuentes said Ruiz also is working on a separate bill that could provide compensation benefits for conditions that are known to be associated with burn-pit exposure.

“This important legislation would make individuals eligible for hospital care, medical services and nursing home care, provided the individual served as a member of the armed forces in support of a contingency operation and was based or stationed at a location where an open air burn pit was in use after Jan. 1, 1990,” Fuentes said. “The eligibility for care would be open even for those who have insufficient medical evidence to conclude that a disease or disability is associated with burn pit exposure.”

The bill is named in honor of Air Force veteran Jennifer Kepner, of Cathedral City, Calif. She died from pancreatic cancer “due to the open exposure burn pits” while serving in Balad, Iraq, in 2004 as a medic, according to her obituary from The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif.

“Jennifer Kepner was a hero who courageously battled pancreatic cancer while fighting for her fellow veterans suffering from pulmonary conditions and rare cancers linked to burn-pit exposure,” Ruiz said. “I am humbled to introduce the Jennifer Kepner HOPE Act in her memory, legislation that will ease the financial burden on sick veterans who have served and sacrificed for our nation by reducing their health care costs from the VA.”

This article was featured in the November/December 2019 issue of VFW magazine.

State HQ has APO Info for Deployed PA Guardians

PA VFW State HQ has received a list of APOs for PA National Guardians serving overseas. If you would like to send care packages to these brave men and women, who will be spending the holidays away from family, please email State VFW Public Affairs/Communications Director David Sandman, [email protected], and put “PA Guard APOs” in the subject line.