For as long as we can remember, there has been one war after another throughout the world since the dawn of time. Some fight for profit, some fight for power, some fight for glory, some fight for victory, while the patriotic few, proud, and humble fight for liberty, freedom, honor, justice, and country even sacrificing their lives to the end for the greater good. Though these brave men and women are gone, they will not be forgotten, and that is why Flowers for Heroes is intent to make sure that their labor was not in vain, for flowers are a symbolic representation of their brave acts being accounted for.
The non-profit organization is the brainchild of Russ Phillip, Jr., whose family and friends are currently serving in the military. “We are definitely interested in recognizing all of our fallen heroes.
It’s easy for everybody to get flowers. It made a lot of sense” Philip stated, who started in the floral business at a young age. He also went to military school, and went on to become one of the owners of Phillips Flowers, the family-based Chicago company that began in 1923. His 20-year career as a florist led to several online floral businesses such as Russ on Flowers and Russ Wholesale Flowers.com, which producer’s flowers for Flowers for Heroes, which brought his two loves together: his passion for flowers and his passion for the families of fallen soldiers.
“I created Flowers for Heroes because I want to give back” he said on the website. “I feel it is my duty. Our service men and women fight for our freedom. We chose to support the Gold Star families because they have given the ultimate sacrifice, losing a loved one in the battle. I love our country and those that protect it.”
In the developing stages since March, the foundation has been seeking volunteers, donations, and contributions, while in the process having the opportunity to “give back” to the loved ones of those who gave their lives in the battlefield defending America. Most recently, they were at the Hines V.A. Hospital, where they interviewed soldiers who’ve fought at the Battle of the Bulge, Vietnam, and Iraq; even talking to one soldier suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as Phillips and his crew continue to get the word out.
“I think we can raise the funds without a partner. So, we have to prove ourselves. We have to sell a number of items. We have to sell $500,000 of bouquets. The time spent should be looking for sponsors dedicated to the cause” he continued. “Our cause would be raising the money. I am interested in raising money for the people so they could get an apartment, get a job, get a house.”
The current mission of Flowers for Heroes, Phillips went on, “is to sell red, white and blue flower bouquets to anyone and everyone interested in supporting our fallen soldiers and their families. These bouquets will be purchased online and placed at every headstone of certain selected military cemeteries around the world. We are currently working with Arlington, Gettysburg, Antietam, Quantico and Normandy for our 2009 push. Our goal is to start on our nation’s birthday, Independence Day.
Our future mission, to visit 12 military cemeteries in 2010 and place bouquets on all the headstones of our nation’s fallen heroes. The money generated from the sale of these bouquets will be donated to organizations affiliated with Gold Star Families across our nation. Our approximated calculation for 2009 is $3,000,000 raised for donation. Gold Star Families are families that have lost a family member in battle. It is part of our mission to make sure these fallen heroes are never forgotten and their family’s stories live on.”