Home Front Military Network closed out its year with record numbers, serving more than 4,300 service members, veterans and families, topping $270,000 in emergency financial assistance and helping keep over 160 households out of homelessness or without other basic needs.

The nonprofit’s signature fundraiser, Honoring the Brave Breakfast, continued that record-setting path with 712 people raising $202,000 at the early-morning Broadmoor event.

Those donations go into programs for emergency financial assistance and for connecting those who need resources to a network of 50 partner agencies.

As Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told the breakfast guests, “Sometimes the military can be overwhelmed finding services. This is the one place.”

Their work has earned HFMN a 4-star rating for accountability and finances from the national Charity Navigator.

A gripping video, the harrowing story of “Michael,” demonstrated the work of HFMN.

Michigan Army veteran Michael Crawford-Lucas served in Iraq from 2006-2008, returning to Fort Carson with what was considered invisible wounds. He had “lost my purpose in life,” escaping into drug and alcohol addiction.

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He ended up in jail and felt that was what he deserved. A prison sentence was looming. “I was the guy who was too far gone. I had no tools.”

His frightened mother, Sally Crawford Darrow, had lost touch with her son, who she knew was struggling. Speaking to those at the breakfast, she admitted she fully expected that knock at the door “no parent wants. Michael had fought in a war and brought it home with him like so many others.”

His mother, in Michigan, had no local connections but reached out on Facebook to television anchor/reporter Stephen Clark from Colorado Springs, and later New York and Detroit. He is the son of Maj. Gen. Wesley Clark, who was vice commander of Air Force Space Command. Could the reporter find a way to connect her to the subject of one of his stories, Home Front Military Network, known then as Peak Military Care Network? It was successful.

A surprised Michael had a visitor. Leo Martinez “walked through the jailhouse door and said they were going to fight for me.” The nonprofit and his mother somehow convinced the judge in Michael’s case to allow him to get intensive treatment for PTSD in Texas instead of going to prison.

In the video, he shared his success. He is “sober for four years,” in AA, “found my faith,” has a wife, a good job, children and “now can help others.” Said Michael, “I came out the other side.”

After the presentation, a man came forward to visit with Michael’s mother. It was John Timmins, Michael’s former probation officer who had only talked with her by phone. This time he heard the successful end to the story.

For more information about the nonprofit: homefront militarynetwork.org

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