Want to help out a hero? Dine Out for Heroes 2016 returns to New York on Friday, November 11th! When you dine at a participating Dine Out for Heroes restaurant on Veterans Day, $1 will be donated to the Bob Woodruff Foundation. The Bob Woodruff Foundation creates long-lasting, positive outcomes for our nation’s wounded, ill, and injured veterans, service members, and their families, by finding, funding, and shaping initiatives that enrich the lives of these heroes.
United States Marines Denise and Mark Beyers of Beyers Maple Farm in East Aurora, New York, each served our nation for eight years and are the recipients of one of the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s vital grants that have helped them grow their farm. Mark was injured by an IED in 2005, losing part of one leg and an arm and sustaining life-threatening internal injuries. When he returned to the states, he and Denise purchased their farm — without any intent of farming. It was only when Mark was out hunting on his land and a maple leaf fell into his lap that he took note of the plethora of maple trees growing on the property. Spurred by childhood memories of making syrup with his father and godfather, he and Denise set about tapping the trees and making syrup the next spring in 2010. The process brought the pair such great joy and satisfaction that this hobby would soon become their vocation in 2012. The family, which includes their two young daughters, ages 1 and 5, also raises chickens and turkeys.
Expanding their operations enough for the business to be sustainable, however, required outside assistance. Denise learned about the Farmer Veteran Coalition in almost the same manner that Mark discovered all those maple trees — it sort of fell into her lap. She says, “I happened to be reading Mother Earth News magazine and there was an article on weeds I was researching and I came across something that said ‘Farmer Veteran Coalition.’ So, I clicked on their website and learned what they had to offer for veterans. We were just starting off our business, and I thought maybe we could apply for some assistance, like the grants and education that they offer. I did — and we both were approved for grants through them. Newman’s Own Foundation and the Bob Woodruff Foundation donated money to Farmer Veteran Coalition to help veterans like us to offset the cost of getting our business up and running.”
With the money, they were able to make repairs to their shanty as well as purchase a 2X8 evaporator, which is what they use to boil the sap down which concentrates it into syrup, and some other maple syrup supplies. “We also applied for another grant this year and they gave us a smaller one, which is helping us set up our beekeeping business. Without these grants, we wouldn’t be able to do it on our own,” says Denise.
The Beyers urge you to Dine Out for Heroes on Friday. “Your participation directly helps veterans and the quality of their lives. Without the help from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, we would not be where we are right now as far as having a business.”
Participating restaurants include Beauty & Essex, La Vara, Nobu, Tribeca Grill, Vandal — and many more. Make a reservation to support veterans in the next chapters of their lives.