Zeroingis critical to aiming, but what if you're aiming for zero? That's what Savage Arms did as they lent their support to the Aiming for Zero Great Nor’easter shooting competition. The "zero" in question isn't a measurement between their point of aim and their point of impact, but a goal. That goal is the end of veteran suicide, and the Aiming for Zero Great Nor'easter event definitely left a neat hole in the X-ring.
The Aiming for Zero event is the brainchild of Active Heroes founder Troy Yocum, the grandson of an American hero soldier who ended his own life. He began Active Heroes with a 17-month journey, dubbed the “Hike for Heroes,” when he walked 7,800 miles across 37 states from 2010 to 2011. Yocum became the first veteran to ever walk the length of America three times, and was awarded the Citizen Honors Medal by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The hike garnered national attention for veteran suicide awareness, raised $1.3 million for military families. Thus, Active Heroes was born.
What's remarkable about the 2020 Aiming for Zero competition is that it's bigger this year than it was last year...despite COVID-19 restrictions. That's huge. More than 200 competitors came out to help raise more than $25,000 for this terrific cause.
“We were happy to play a small part in a great event for our veterans,” said Beth Shimanski, Director of Marketing at Savage Arms. “Seeing the community come together for such an important cause means a lot to our team and we hope everyone’s combined efforts can make a difference.”
Aiming for Zero provides the national competitive shooting community a channel through which to focus their efforts to support ending veteran suicide. Individuals, groups and clubs hosted side stages, full matches and other creative methods at their local ranges. Active Heroes is a 501c3 charity that hosts these events and works with these ranges to target veterans who are struggling and pair them with trained peer mentors.
It has proven to be very successful in supporting veterans within the community. Active Heroes has partnered with ranges that hosted over 1000 veterans, military family members and supporters. The ultimate purpose of Aiming for Zero is to reduce veteran suicide and assist Military Families by:
Targeting struggling veterans within the competitive shooting community.
Establishing camaraderie to cope with Post Traumatic Stress (anger, depression, loneliness, substance abuse and suicidal tendencies).
Uniting veterans, families and supporters to care for each other in times of need.
Training shooting clubs and ranges how to interact with suicidal veterans and the steps to assist them.