By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)
I am honored to have met Chris Hamm, President of HHAUSA. In 2019, Chris founded HHAUSA, a non-profit charitable organization serving veterans and active duty members of the United States Armed Forces. The HHAUSA mission statement is to show appreciation and create a community for veterans and active military through archery and the outdoors.
With a handful of events coming up in the next month and a half, I approached Chris with a few questions to bring light on an awesome organization that is working its’ tail off to serve those that have served and sacrificed for each and everyone of us. Here is what Chris had to say…
Q1: Where did you get such a heart for veterans?
Chris Hamm: “I have always had a strong sense of patriotism and respected those who have served our country. As HHA Sports and our brand continued to grow, we began receiving more requests from active duty and veterans about a military discount. That made me realize how many veterans were into the outdoors and also showed me the benefits that it brought to them, specifically those who suffered from PTSD. Attending the Department of Defense Warrior Games in 2016 and 2017, I saw firsthand the impact that archery was having on combat wounded veterans and knew that I wanted to do something to help out. It was becoming more and more evident that I was supposed to use my gifts, talents and connections to give back to this very deserving community.”
Q2: How did the program get started?
Chris Hamm: “After meeting then Milwaukee Brewer, Jonathan Lucroy, in 2012 or 2013, I began following him closer and was made aware of the Honor Flight Network from his involvement with the Stars & Stripes chapter. Soon after, I began as a ground volunteer for the central Wisconsin chapter (Never Forgotten Honor Flight) and immediately fell in love with the organization and their mission of sending World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans to Washington DC. Driving home from the airport one night after a flight, I thought of how I could use our presence in the archery industry to raise funds for the Honor Flight. That following spring, we put on our first shoot and did 3 events that year, raising $15,000. I continued to work as a volunteer for them another 2 years and ultimately decided to start HHAUSA, allowing us to have an even larger reach in the veteran community.”
Q3: Where does the money go?
Chris Hamm: “Our first 22% is divided equally between three other veterans non-profits that work to get men and women of the service into the outdoors on hunting and fishing experiences. The E3 Ranch Foundation, Kniestedt Foundation and Wounded Warriors in Action do a wonderful job of this and we are proud to partner with them. The balance of our funds go to Honor Flight chapters here in Wisconsin closest to where our archery fundraising shoots are held.”
Q4: Where do you see this going in the next 5-10years?
Chris Hamm: “While the next few years will see us continuing to perfect our model and grow these events here in our home state, HHAUSA has the potential to one day become a national organization with chapters in states across the country. Our goal is to help as many service members as we can through outdoor experiences and fly as many as we can to DC to receive the recognition and homecoming that they deserve for their service to our country.”
Q5: What’s the rest of the summer look like with the current Covid situation?
Chris Hamm: “Thankfully, we have only had to cancel one event so far and 8 of our 9 shoots for 2020 will still be taking place. With our indoor season already complete, the remainder of our shoots are outdoor 3D and social distancing will not be an issue. On average, we will draw 75-125 shooters per weekend so the crowds at any given point will be small and spread out, similar to a golf course. The participating clubs will be encouraging social distancing, providing sanitizer and masks and following all other precautions to make our events as safe as possible for attendees.”
First of all, I would like to thank Chris Hamm for taking the time out his busy schedule to answer my questions that I presented him with. Second, I encourage everyone to head over to the HHAUSA website and check out the upcoming events and get involved! If you are unable to attend any of the scheduled shoots, there is a portal on their website that allows for donations to the organization. Simply click HERE to donate to an outstanding cause!