For the last 11 years, the Military Warriors Support Foundation has been helping combat-wounded veterans transition back to civilian life with donated, 100 percent mortgage-free homes, vehicles, employment opportunities and sponsored hunting and shooting trips. The brainchild of LTG Leroy Sisco (ret.), the San Antonio, Texas-based Foundation is a model of wise giving...tiny overhead, huge disbursements and real, sustainable, life-changing success. How did he do it? Read on to find out!
1.NRA Family: How did you first conceive of the Military Warriors Support Foundation? Was there any one particular watershed event?
General Sisco: Having these incredible Heroes serving in my command over the years, and realizing I would never have reached my position in the military without their outstanding dedication and support. So you always have the desire to say "thank you" in any way you can, and God has blessed me with the opportunity to do what we at the Foundation do.
2.NRA Family: What were some of the challenges you faced when you were getting started? How did you overcome them?
General Sisco: Of course you have the challenge to raise funds. Initially we were just going to take Heroes on hunts, but then we got the crazy idea to give a home away. I had a background in banking and understood how it worked with mortgages. So with that knowledge we met with the financial institution and told our story...and they loved it. It was like holding a tiger by the tail, and it took a lot of management. I was deeply concerned that just giving the vets a home and just walking away—leaving them on their own with no further assistance—was dangerous and would not work. So I contacted the doctors at Fort Sam Houston and asked them: If we mentored the Heroes, how long would it take to make a difference and help them feel ownership and responsibility for what we have given them. They told me that the minimum time to change them in a positive and educated way would be three years. We at the Foundation know this is the secret to our success, because today we have 98.6 percent of the Heroes still in their homes.
3.NRA Family: So far, you’ve given away 814 homes, about 40 cars and hundreds of free hunting trips…all with an overhead of 1.5 percent. How have you been able to achieve this?
General Sisco: We work extremely hard to protect the funds that we are trusted with and save expense every way we can. My initial goal was to keep overhead under 20 percent, but the highest overhead got to was a bit less than 5 percent—and this is because everyone in the Foundation working very hard to keep it low. Our Board of Directors have been incredible helping us with great direction also. I also want to make sure we credit to all of the members of the NRA for helping us give away 18 homes. The members need to understand that without their support those 18 homes would not have been given away.
4.NRA Family: What’s the most rewarding thing about your work with the Foundation so far?
General Sisco: No questions about that! We have been told by the experts that what we do we have saved at least 100 lives (probably more) but guaranteed us we have saved 100 lives. I still have not been able to get my arms around that. God Bless them…
5. NRA Family: Many luminaries, such as Gov. Rick Perry and George Strait, have gotten involved…with that many celebrities in the mix, you must have a funny story or two. Are there any you can tell?
General Sisco: I think the thing I have seen the most is how hard it is for "tuff guys" to not cry when the Key is handed to the Heroes. If you don’t get choked up at some of their stories than there is something wrong with you. Ha! All of us at one time just let the tears flow…
6. NRA Family: How can readers who want to help get involved? How about readers who might be in need of assistance?
General Sisco: You can go to our web page, www.militarywarriors.org , and donate. Also for every $25,000 we receive it allows us to give a beautiful home away to a Hero and their family. If you select where you want to give a home away and who you want to give the home's key to them, we will make it happen. The same thing for a car or truck...only it is done with $10,000. Anyone who is a wounded Hero can go to our web page www.militarywarriors.org and apply for a home or a car and we will do our best to see if we can get them a home or automobile. If they would like to go on hunts or fishing trips with us they can contact us through our Web Page.
General Sisco will be on hand at the 2018 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits with more surprise giveaways—don't miss it (or forget your Kleenex)!