Continuing the Call to Serve
The vision of the Warrior Bonfire Program began to form in the mind of our founder, Dan Fordice, as he often looked for ways to serve and help his fellow veterans who suffered from injuries physically, mentally and emotionally. Dan served for a total of 13 years between the U.S. Army and the Mississippi National Guard and it is truly his passion to find resources and connections to relieve any possible obstacle.
Listening to our Veterans
Dan found himself in a conversation with SFC (RET. USA) Charles Gregory Williams, who sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury in Afghanistan in 2006 when a Rocket Propelled Grenade struck and exploded a 50 Cal ammunition box two feet from his head. Gregory was later medically retired in November 2011.
Answering the Need
Greg commented that he could spend a full day with a PhD certified counselor and not come close to the therapeutic value of sitting around a bonfire with five or six guys who were there. Dan quickly responded, “We will provide the bonfire!”
US States Visited for Retreats
A New Purpose
Finding this new purpose to fulfill his passion, Dan with the help of his brother Hunter Fordice, also a Veteran, began putting in place the structure to build environments that would be most beneficial to our Purple Heart recipients. On the eve of December 30, 2012, Dan organized a small event with family and friends on the bank of the Mississippi River, announced his plans, and performed an official American Flag Retirement ceremony. Among those were the first volunteers and donors and it was then that the Warrior Bonfire Program was ignited.
From here the primary mission formed to build retreats from donated resources and the program discovered there was a natural secondary mission. Bridging the gap between the military and civilian worlds did not only help the Purple Hearts but offered a way for civilians to serve and gain a better understanding of the need.