Founded in 1997 as a local adult recreational softball club, this organization grew into a 501C3 to support active military and their families engaging the local community through adult athletic leagues. As the Virginia Vipers Softball Club for Veterans grew, the club’s leadership realized that the adult recreational sporting leagues provided a super venue for advocacy and awareness/education. Participants in these adult softball, soccer, flag football, bowling league and other athletic activities were the family leaders. They educated their children, friends and colleagues because one of their league team’s used the field of play to advocate.
Additionally, the organization’s leadership realized that focusing solely on military members left a significant portion of the “Hero population” without a voice in the 501C3. Heroes Athletic Association was created to include military, Veterans police and firefighter professionals; HAA uses community adult recreational sports leagues and clubs to create trust between the Hero and their local community facilitating successful and sound transition. Finally, HAA uses the playing field, court, track or links to advocate for suicide prevention in the Hero community.