Tired of getting holiday cards with faux-sincere happy holiday wishes from companies who send out thousands to anyone they’ve ever done business with?
Well, Custom Vault/BranchServ was tired of sending them too.
The Bethel-based provider of security automation equipment for financial institutions realized that instead of spending thousands of dollars on cards and postage, they could direct that money to charity. Talk about the true holiday spirit!
Each year, the firm asks employees to suggest recipients. This year’s charity — Holiday for Heroes — came from Westporter Michael Elliot.
But the feel-good story has an added twist. Holidays for Heroes is the brainchild of Michael’s fellow 1972 Staples High School graduate — and friend since kindergarten –Tom McCann.
The organization offers American Dream Grants of $2,500 to $25,000, to provide education and training for veterans starting small businesses.
And every summer, Holidays for Heroes — with help from Nantucket residents and businesses — hosts all-inclusive retreats for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and their families. Days and nights are filled with parades, fireworks, fishing, sailing, clambakes, bike rides, and dinners with island families.
In 2015, Holidays for Heroes helped a Marine corporal and his fiancée enjoy a wedding of their dreams. The Marine had lost both legs in Afghanistan — but the only thing postponing the ceremony was money.
McCann rallied many Nantucket people and organizations to give the young couple a seaside wedding they will never forget.
From that memorable event, to a veteran who started a successful home inspection company, to an amputee who was welcomed onto the crew of a race boat, Holidays for Heroes very quietly makes a difference.
You won’t get a holiday card from Custom Vault/BranchServ this Christmas. Thanks to them — and a couple of committed Westporters — the money they’d have spent will instead go to Holidays for Heroes.
And it will change many lives.