Steve Best, National Cemetery Administration's Continental District Director, Retires

Steve Best, National Cemetery Administration's Continental District Director, Retires

Very early in the process of creating the Honor Bell, it was imperative to have the  support of the National Cemetery Administration and Fort Logan National Cemetery. We met Major General (ret) Steve Best in 2015 and he has been an enthusiastic champion of our mission ever since. Steve recently retired, and we congratulate him on a distinguished career!

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Michelle Mallin Retires

It is a sad day for the foundation as I announce Michelle Mallin’s resignation to focus on her health. Unbeknownst to but a few folks, Michelle was diagnosed with a rare cancer in May 2015, the day before we headed across the country to cast the Honor Bell. Michelle has been instrumental in the success of each phase of the Honor Bell. As a critical member of a dynamic team, Michelle set the standard time and again. Her efforts have truly sent the foundation on our road to success. To say she will be missed is the understatement of all time. Read more here.

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Veterans Appreciation Party Wrap-up

We had a great time at the Fat Jack's Annual Veterans Appreciation Party on the 14th! Thanks to Kyle Fabra, who puts on this special event every year, VFW Post #1 for hosting, all the wonderful volunteers who made it happen, and the great bands, brewers, and purveyors of pork who gave us all something to enjoy. The event raised over $4,000 for the Honor Bell Foundation.

The Daniels Fund and the Honor Bell Foundation mark a milestone with a Big Check

Daniels Fund President and CEO Linda Childears and Foundation Executive Director Lou Olivera

Daniels Fund President and CEO Linda Childears and Foundation Executive Director Lou Olivera

Earlier this month, President and CEO of the Daniels Fund, Linda Childears, and the Honor Bell Foundation staff gathered in front of Bill Daniels’ military memorabilia to mark a milestone for the Honor Bell Foundation. Ms. Childears presented a check to Honor Bell Foundation Executive Director Louis Olivera, symbolizing the grant the Foundation received earlier in the year from the Daniels Fund. The Daniels Fund grant was a first for the Foundation and has served to shift the group’s activities into high gear. 

"The support we have received from the Daniels Fund has been incredible,” said Mr. Olivera. “Not only have they invested in the Foundation’s mission with their generous grant, they have helped to catalyze our other fundraising efforts, and stand as a challenge to other grantors we are soliciting. They have also become great partners and continue to provide support in additional ways as we develop our programs.” 

The Foundation is currently seeking additional grant opportunities as it moves forward with the casting of the Honor Bell, works with veterans on creating the Bell Honor Guard, and builds its board, among other activities.

The Foundation welcomes Jeff Falkel to its Board of Advisors

Dr. Jeff Falkel, right, with his son, Army Staff Sergeant Chris Falkel

Dr. Jeff Falkel, right, with his son, Army Staff Sergeant Chris Falkel

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jeff Falkel to our Board of Advisors. Falkel brings his insight and experience as a Gold Star parent and veteran to the Foundation, helping it to hone its mission to honor those who have served and sacrificed on behalf of our country. Falkel is founder and president of Junior’s Bullet Pens, which crafts pens from once-fired military brass bullets, in honor of his son, Army Staff Sgt. Chris Falkel, who was killed in the 54-hour battle of Mari Ghar in Afghanistan. To date, he has made more than 150,000 pens by hand, donating over $300,000 in donations, product and fund raising to various Special Operations foundations. Dr. Falkel wrote The Making of OUR Warrior, about Sergeant Falkel with his SFODA 316 teammates, and over 5000 copies of the book have been sold or donated to worthy organizations. Jeff is also Director of Gold Star Programs for both the Green Beret Foundation and the Task Force Dagger Foundation.  He was just recently nominated to the Board of Directors of the Dancing Angels Foundation.

The Honor Bell Foundation is honored to have Dr. Falkel serve on our advisory board, and is confident his insights as a Gold Star parent, businessperson, and veteran will help the Foundation succeed in serving our nation’s veteran community and their families.

Meet our Director of Veterans Outreach, Bob Dawes

Bob Dawes, Director of Veterans Outreach

Bob Dawes, Director of Veterans Outreach

Bob Dawes knows vets. For the last ten years, Dawes has helped veterans build confidence, their ties to one another, and other tools to help them reintegrate into civilian society. Through his work creating the Outward Bound for Veterans Program, serving as President of the Worldwide Army Rangers, Commander of the Aurora chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) as well as the Colorado MOPH Department Senior Vice Commander, Dawes has brought vets together. "Veterans who have honorably served their country have sacrificed a great deal to protect freedom and our way of life deserve recognition and respect,” says Dawes. "They have asked very little in return and many have struggled to find a meaningful place in society."

As the Director of the Veterans Outreach, Bob will be instrumental in designing a veteran centric program, recruiting veterans through liaison efforts with Colorado's numerous Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs), and training vets for the Bell Honors Program. Veterans’ participation as Bell Honor Guards will build intergenerational relationships between vets, and help give vets a new way to serve, both their fellow service members and their community.

As Dawes says, “veterans' families have lived with their loved ones' sacrifices and struggles to the same extent — or in some cases even more than — the veteran. At the end of the day they need to know that the honor and respect that their loved one served with is recognized by a grateful nation, but more importantly by the people who truly understand their sacrifice: his or her fellow Veterans."

Dawes is a veteran of the Vietnam War, serving with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and later served as an Army Ranger School Instructor. Bob is a graduate of Ranger school, and received the Purple Heart Medal. We are honored and excited to have such a passionate and committed leader on our team.