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Ashe County Veterans History Project: Stars for Heroes

Stars for Heroes Top Box

title of special feature surrounded by red, white, and blue stars and stripes

Stars for Heroes Photos

Paper stars in window of local Hardee's
Local band playing at event

Tony Joines (Bass), 'Cadillac' Jack Wells (guitar), and Tim Lewis (Banjo)

Donation table at Hardee's

Trish Bledsoe, Alicia Roark (store manager), and Renee Taylor

small table with Bible, flowers and an American flag

A table honoring those still missing in action

A table with patriotic decorations and cupcakes for veterans

Stars for Heroes Story

Ashe County’s support for veterans is off the charts with its annual fundraiser hosted by Hardee's of Jefferson! You may have noticed paper star cutouts that cover the windows of our local restaurant leading up to the national celebration of Memorial Day. Each star represents a contribution to the nationwide Stars for Heroes campaign. Last year, due to the pandemic, the annual fundraiser was postponed; but in 2019, over $10,000 was locally collected—more than DOUBLE the amount raised by other locations of the top ten restaurants across the United States.

Half of the money raised is given to Ashe County’s local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars). This is used to ensure that veterans and their families receive all VA benefits they are entitled to. One program that the VFW manages is a service that provides veterans with transportation to and from medical appointments. The other half of donations is divided between two national charities that support service members and veterans: USA Cares and Stand Up & Play.

USA Cares addresses the critical and unmet needs of post-9/11 service members, veterans and military families facing service-related hardships. The objective is to reach families at the earliest stage of intervention to proactively prevent further financial distress, including foreclosure. When USA Cares is contacted to provide assistance, the goal is to respond to each family within 48 hours. Assistance programs include combat injured, career transition, emergency and housing assistance. USA Cares provides critical support that veterans and military families need to create a foundation for financial resilience.

The mission of the Stand Up and Play Foundation is to provide wheelchair users and others with impaired mobility the opportunity to stand up and engage in recreational and everyday activities through accessibility to paramobiles, clinics and recreational programs. Anthony Netto, a veteran of Desert Storm, lost his mobility after his car was struck by a drunk driver, and this injury impeded his ability to play golf. He set about inventing a device to basically stand while playing, just like able-bodied golfers. Through support from this charity people who have been sitting for years are now able to stand and enjoy many different types of activities. This foundation introduces the paramobile and other adaptive equipment to wheelchair users through clinics and demonstrations to reinforce the mental and physical therapeutic benefits of standing.  

Brian Hass, President of Hardee’s Company, spoke at this year’s kick-off event and congratulated Ashe County on the tremendous support of its veterans. “We love Ashe County; it is a very generous county. A county who believes in taking care of its own. Each year this Hardee's Restaurant raises more money for veterans than any Hardee's in America!”   

Follow-up: Ashe County Hardee's raised $10,850 during their 2021 Campaign!