Impact A Hero (IAH) was started in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2004 by founder Richard (Dick) Lynch. At the time, Dick had recently written a book on leadership, with an underlying principal of the importance of service to others. Having watched the men and women return home from the War on Terror with serious physical and emotional wounds, he knew he had received his calling and was determined to help them with their new life challenges and situations – wounded heroes was his new mission in life.
The first Impact A Hero event occurred in New York City at the New York Athletic Club. We honored wounded heroes from the War on Terror and individuals like Dr. Dick Traum. He completed the New York City Marathon, becoming the first leg amputee to complete such an event with a prosthetic leg, and also the founder of Achilles Track Club for disabled athletes.
As Impact A Hero began to grow, Dick knew he had to expand outside of Cincinnati. Dick was doing a book signing in Houston with Neil Bush, son of President George W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush. During this visit, he also met Jim Hoelker, former IAH Chairman of the Board. With the help of Neil and Jim, they hosted the first Impact A Hero Weekend, consisting of a 5K Race, Gala Dinner and Golf Tournament. Jim assembled a team of volunteers and focused on the Sugar Land, Texas community to spread the word of Impact A Hero.
In 2005 the inaugural Impact A Hero Weekend was held in Sugar Land, Texas. It was the beginning of a grass roots effort by Impact A Hero to provide a network of much needed continuous emotional and financial support services to our wounded heroes.
The IAH Weekend brought severely-wounded heroes from post 9/11 combat and their families, together with contributors and supporters for events consisting of:
The weekend provided our veterans a chance to bond with other wounded veterans. They were able to relax and emotionally recharge as they connect with people who are also healing and recovering. The Houston community also had a unique opportunity to personally thank our heroes for their service and sacrifice, providing valuable and tangible support for their healing journey.
In 2013, the 5K and Hall of Fame Gala & Auction was held at Reliant Stadium.
In 2017-2019, the IAH program focused on Post Traumatic Growth with several Operation Impact weekends held with Veterans, staff and Board Directors.
In 2020-2021, Impact A Hero has gone through a reorganization and is now committed to making a positive impact in the lives of all Veterans, Service Members, and their families…all heroes, who have fought and sacrificed so much for our country.
Our programs are focused on the Leadership and Personal Growth areas of helping our heroes in the following ways: reestablishing a personal Grant Program for those in financial need; a Financial Fitness Class which is directly connected to the Grant Program (If we give “a fish” to a “hero,” we will also teach them “how to fish!”): a 30-hour Leadership Academy which focuses on individual growth as a leader with a personal Leadership Development Action Plan presented at the graduation class; affiliated partnerships with entities that provide professional services in the Post Traumatic Growth area of heeling; and Professional Development classes for new business owners and entrepreneurs.
IAH receives great support by the dedication and commitment of our corporate sponsors, individual supporters as well as our volunteers.
Volunteers commit a huge amount of time, energy and talent to Impact A Hero. They are the cornerstone of the organization.” – Dick Lynch.