27, Project Manager
Charlotte, North Carolina
Michael is a true example of what it means to serve humanity. He saw a need in the veteran community and responded to the call for help. Michael recognized that our catastrophically wounded veterans honorably served our Country. While they did not give their life literally, their lives have been completely changed forever. It could be easy to overlook the needs of wounded veterans because we assume that they signed up for that or that the government will support them. The government and other agencies can provide healthcare and support, but it can’t return the missed experiences with veterans and their families, walking in the woods, hunting, or hiking.
Michael not only recognized the need to support these veterans whose lives are completely changed, but he also acted. While there are hundreds of wounded veterans out there who need help, he was not overwhelmed. Michael knew that every great endeavor, including service to humanity, starts with helping just one other person. Michael did not respond to the need for his own benefit or attention, but in response of his own values and calling to serve humanity.
In 2016, as a junior at High Point University and the president of the Zeta Phi chapter of Kappa Alpha Order, he launched the “Operation K.A.R.E.” (Knowledge, Awareness, Results, Empowerment) initiative to provide a track chair for a wounded veteran. He partnered with the Independence Fund, a non-profit organization based in Charlotte, NC. The Independence Fund works with catastrophically wounded veterans to overcome the physical and emotional wounds of war.
In its first year, the initiative raised and donated $27,000 to provide a track chair to an Army veteran in need. The following year, an additional $25,000 was raised to provide a track chair to a Marine veteran who was a cousin of one of the chapter’s fraternity brothers. Then, in 2018, the Kappa Alpha chapter at High Point University fundraised to provide a track chair for another Marine veteran.
In 2019, Michael began working with the Independence Fund and Kappa Alpha Order to grow the initiative beyond High Point University. We began working with KA chapters around the country to fundraise to provide track chairs to more wounded veterans as well as support some of the Independence Fund’s mental health and veteran support programs.
From 2019 to the present, more than 50+ KA chapters around the country take part in the initiative annually to support wounded veterans and their families. Since 2016, the initiative has raised and donated more than $819,000 to support the Independence Fund’s programs.
The initiative has given KA brothers the opportunity to lead and serve together in a nationwide effort. They have been able to make a profound and direct impact on the lives of veterans and families when it comes to their physical mobility and mental health/wellness.