Hickory Tavern Celebrates 25 years with $130K Donation to Independence Fund

Hickory Tavern is celebrating its 25th Anniversary by donating $130,000 to The Independence Fund, a non-profit helping wounded veterans. The Independence Fund, an organization committed to empowering our nation’s catastrophically wounded, injured, and ill Veterans to overcome physical, mental, and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty.

The Independence Fund’s Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Verardo, became a national advocate for wounded veterans and their caregivers after her husband Michael was catastrophically wounded in Afghanistan in two separate IED attacks. “Michael and so many other Veterans have trained, sacrificed and fought valiantly for our nation’s independence,” Verardo says. “They all inspire us on a daily basis to fight for theirs. “

Operation Resiliency was born after several members of Michael Verardo’ s unit succumbed to suicide. The Independence Fund chose Bravo Company to be the pilot unit for Operation Resiliency: An innovative approach to the Veteran suicide crisis, focusing on rebuilding the bonds of camaraderie experienced in combat.

Operation Resiliency re-unites post-9/11 combat units who survived traumatic experiences together during their deployment and have been impacted by Veteran suicide once home. Operation Resiliency retreats feature curated programming to address peer-to-peer support, physical activity, lethal means training, volunteerism, and social connectedness to build resiliency skills.

 While the data behind the Veteran suicide endemic is sobering - 4 times as many post-9/11 combat service members have been lost to suicide than to combat - the statistics coming from Operation Resiliency retreats are encouraging. Participants have shared that post-retreat, they have experienced a shortened amount of time to bounce back from stressful situations than before the reunion.

For 25 years Hickory Tavern, considered the Southeast’s best sports bar, has been known for being the best place for gathering to watch NFL, NBA, PGA golf, MLB, NCAA and a host of other sports and events. Each location works to create community among friends and families, including the Veterans’ community in Southeastern states that are home to dozens of military bases and ports. “We are very grateful for our friendship with Hickory Tavern Holdings’ Co-Founder and CEO Brad Smith,” Verardo adds. “Their donation is an amazing way to celebrate their 25th Anniversary, and we hope others will follow suit as they celebrate organization milestones.” 

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.