Photo Credit: Randy De La Pena

In a heartening display of gratitude and service, Welcome Home Military Heroes (WHMH) commemorated a remarkable year of aid and support for veterans, extending their assistance to over 1200 veterans both locally on the Central Coast and across the globe throughout 2023.

The nonprofit organization, renowned for its dedication to honoring and assisting veterans, achieved significant milestones, including the distribution of over 500 care packages to servicemen and women deployed worldwide. Additionally, WHMH’s Veteran in Need program provided vital assistance to 280 veterans facing various challenges as they transitioned to civilian life.

One of the most poignant aspects of WHMH’s efforts was the warm welcome extended to over 190 veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Among these heroes were 15 World War II veterans, with 17 individuals over the age of 90 and an astounding 5 veterans over the age of 100.

A momentous event occurred in April, as WHMH broke records with an estimated 1000 attendees gathering at Santa Maria Airport to extend a heartfelt welcome to more than 75 World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans returning home with Honor Flight. The overwhelming show of support and appreciation underscored the enduring gratitude felt towards these brave individuals.

WHMH’s outreach efforts went beyond its primary operations, making significant strides in collaboration with NASCAR. Their joint fundraiser proved highly successful, underlining WHMH’s ability to establish valuable partnerships and raise national awareness for veterans’ causes. Moreover, WHMH assumed a solemn duty in repatriating the remains of World War II veteran Glenn Harris after an 80-year wait, paying homage to his sacrifice with utmost respect. Alongside these endeavors, WHMH organized impactful events, including sponsoring 7 younger veterans to accompany Honor Flight to Washington DC. Additionally, the organization awarded two scholarships to veterans pursuing higher education, exemplifying WHMH’s unwavering commitment to supporting veterans across various aspects of their lives. Those interested in a comprehensive overview of WHMH’s 2023 activities are encouraged to explore the organization’s newsletter, which delves into the detailed insights and impactful initiatives that defined the year’s accomplishments.

“We believed our numbers are higher than 1200. Several of our missions we are not able to get accurate numbers because of operational security and other reasons.” stated Robert Tolan Jr, Founder and COO of WHMH.

Cheryl Tolan, Co-Founder and Secretary of WHMH, emphasized the organization’s multifaceted approach, saying, “We have almost a dozen different missions with a different purpose.” Her insight underscores WHMH’s diverse efforts to address the varied needs of veterans and their families, illustrating the organization’s commitment to serving the veteran community comprehensively.

Robert Tolan Sr, Co-Founder and CEO, reflected on WHMH’s journey, stating, “When we started this organization in 2010, we would never think we would be able to help this many Veterans and their families, let alone do it in a single year. This is all thanks to our volunteers and our outreach.” His words capture the profound impact of WHMH’s growth and the dedicated efforts of its volunteers in realizing the organization’s mission.

In 2023, WHMH broke records and was able to honor and support more veterans and their families than any year prior. As WHMH looks ahead to 2024, the organization remains steadfast in its mission to support and honor veterans. With a renewed sense of purpose, WHMH endeavors to extend its reach and impact, aiming to help even more veterans in the coming year. With the continued support of volunteers and the community, WHMH is poised to make an even greater difference in the lives of those who have served their country with honor and courage.

In 2023, WHMH achieved unprecedented milestones by honoring and supporting more veterans and their families than in any previous year. As WHMH sets its sights on 2024, the organization remains steadfast in its commitment to support and honor veterans. With a renewed sense of purpose, WHMH is determined to broaden its reach and impact, striving to assist even more veterans in the upcoming year. However, to achieve this goal, WHMH requires additional volunteers to step forward and take on new and vital roles. These roles will play a crucial part in enabling the organization to reach a larger number of veterans in 2024. With the continued support of volunteers and the community, WHMH is positioned to make an even greater difference in the lives of those who have served their country with honor and courage.


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Explore the referenced articles mentioned within the text:

  1. KSBY – 280+ veterans receive gifts thanks to Veteran Angel Tree program
  2. Over 90 Veterans Receive Heartwarming Welcome from Hundreds in Attendance
  3. Central Coast airman killed during WWII returned home, buried after 81 years (