1% of Americans sacrifice their lives to ensure the safety and progression of humanity and yet the foundation of humanism – compassion, understanding, appreciation – has become a luxury to those returning from service. Our mission is to make humanism a necessity, not a luxury.

It certainly has taken a small village of people, driven by both passions for service and inspiring patriotism, to guide Welcome Home Military Heroes from its origin to its present. We are forever grateful for the members who have joined my husband (Robert Tolan Sr.) and I in our pursuit of appreciation for the service and sacrifice the 1% makes to ensure our freedoms.

Our journey began in September of 2010. While attending New Life Church, Pastor Ron invited Dana Cummings, Co-Founder of AmpSurf, to the podium. There he and thirteen disabled veterans took the stage to speak about their organization. They were met with exceptional gratitude by our congregation. It was truly a moment that ignited our understanding of the personal sacrifice those who serve make on our behalf. Humbled by a standing ovation, these veterans were moved to tears. After the service, Robert Sr. and I thanked each of them in person. It was then when we discovered that they had never experienced such an outpouring of love and appreciation like that by complete strangers.

This revelation never settled. The moment, never passing, begging a question we had no answer to at the time. Our idea was simple. Not even an idea, really, but a feeling that we were called to answer the question, “How can we change that?” How can we show a meaningful and genuine display of appreciation for our military men and women? A few short days later, we took a leap of faith. September 13th, 2010 marked the first day of what would become a new organization. At the San Luis Obispo Airport, we welcomed home a returning soldier from Afghanistan. There were ten of us, including the soldier’s family! Our message was simple, “Welcome Home. Thank you for your service.”

Everything that we have done since then has led us to where we are right now. With nearly 1,500 welcome homes and the support of these organizations: American Legions, VFW, Vietnam Veterans of America, Mid-Coast Alliance, American Legion Riders, Patriotic Guard Riders, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Central Coast Veterans, and military parents.

Welcome Home Military Heroes has grown, and so has our mission. Our welcome homes now include many other veteran-related services right here within our community. We take great pride in expressing our gratitude to our veterans that have served, those currently serving and those who that have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. We have an obligation as an organization … a crucial responsibility to stay true to our origin as our group cultivates beyond the seeds of our original acts of appreciation into the pursuit to do more. Our ignition began with the simple wondering, “How can we change that?” But we are fueled by our continuing quest to answer our original question, “How can we show a meaningful and genuine display of appreciation for our military men and women?” We know we have the capacity to do more and to be more as an organization and we look forward to expanding our reach with you.

“As we reflect on the blessings of our liberties, may we be faithful stewards of the freedom we have been granted. Let us never forget, that we cannot rightfully celebrate the joy of our freedoms, without remembering the great price paid that was and is still being paid . . . for that freedom. Freedom is not free.”

NO DUTY IS MORE URGENT, THAN THAT OF RETURNING THANKS.

For more information on our current missions, check out ‘Our Missions’ by clicking it or visiting our About tab for a complete list of our past, present, and future missions!

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