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Justin Jones is a true American hero. As a veteran himself, Justin knew he wanted to find a way to give back to other service members and first responders. In 2016, he started taking other veterans out on hunting trips to reconnect with nature and bond with others who shared similar experiences. Over time, this hobby turned into an official organization called American Hero Hunt.
Through this group, Justin continues to provide opportunities for veterans and first responders to connect and deepen their appreciation of the great outdoors. Justin is committed to helping American Heroes reconnect with the world around them in meaningful ways.
Justin talks about how his organization has spread quickly through his online presence. Thanks to his hard work and dedication, American Hero Hunt has quickly become one of the most beloved organizations in the country!
Missed our last episode with Salena? Watch it or listen now!
Justin Jones (00:00):
Um, I don’t know, it’s just, and now that I’ve started doing it, the biggest thing that, you know, keeps me going so to speak is, is, is when I see the difference we make with our heroes on these weekend hunts
Starting sustaining and having a successful small business is hard, but you already knew that, but wouldn’t it be great to have a podcast that talks to and digs in to the people who’ve made it problem solved. This is local vibes, small business success stories, talking to successful small businesses from around America. You’ll hear awesome stories about how they got started and how they survived and thrived online. And in their communities, we find out their special vibe. Welcome to local vibes, brought to you by ultimate online marketing.com. Now here, your hosts, pat and Angie Cher.
All right, let’s do this.
Angie Cherubini (01:04):
Hi everybody. It’s Patna Angie ch from local vibes where we talk to local business owners or organization owners, or about their business or the organization that they’re with and how they have a great local vibe and how they have, what, what’s my word, what’s my word, how they have, uh, grown and actually how they started. That’s the big they, they start
Pat Cherubini (01:35):
Struggles and tell a story of, of what’s going on. So just start off
Angie Cherubini (01:38):
By start tongue tied
Pat Cherubini (01:39):
By, uh, asking you, you know, your origin story, who you are, the name of your company, that’s right there on your phone. Do
Angie Cherubini (01:47):
You call it, do you guys call it a company, American hero hunt?
Justin Jones (01:50):
Um, more, more so an organization usually, um,
Pat Cherubini (01:54):
Just let us know how it started and, and where you’re at.
Justin Jones (01:58):
Um, yeah, so my name’s Justin Jones. I am the founder and president of American hero hunt. Um, 2016 ish. I had an idea just to, I mean, I’ve always been big into hunting. Um, so I kind of had an idea to, you know, give back to some veterans and, um, you know, along with the other couple buddies, we, we put it together. We took two heroes out, uh, two veterans at that point, it was just veterans only, um, just nonchalant way to give back to ’em. One did, uh, Whitetail, and then one did waterfowl. We did that for two years. Um, and then we decided, you know, we’re not gonna be able to, we’re not gonna be able to do this out of our own pocket for very long. So we decided to, um, you know, apply for our nonprofit organization, our, our 5 0 1 [inaudible] and, um, I, everything went through that happened in early 2019 is when we became a full 5 0 1.
Justin Jones (02:51):
But, um, we’ve just blown up since then. Um, and I mean, I can’t, there’s always more goals and more stuff I want to do every day and my ambitions are high, but we kind of, kind of, you know, take it slow and build it. So, um, it’s just, it’s always, and I mean, me being a veteran myself, I’ve always had that calling to give back and, you know, it’s, um, it’s just something that I, I try to do. And, you know, and anything that we do as an is just give back to local heroes. It is now first responders and veterans. Um, nice. So we do, we, we do all of it. So, um, we’ve been busy.
Angie Cherubini (03:29):
Well, number one, thank you for your service.
Justin Jones (03:33):
Angie Cherubini (03:34):
You appreciate that.
Pat Cherubini (03:36):
Yeah. And that’s, that’s one of the reasons we hope up you’re you’re local to us, but I don’t, you know, today’s the first day I’m looking at you. I don’t know you at all.
Justin Jones (03:45):
Yeah, right. Yeah.
Pat Cherubini (03:46):
You know, Angie did do your website, but you know, we, we really don’t know you, but the reason we know you is because, you know, we try to give back a little bit too in helping out when we heard your cause. You know, how could we not, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s an awesome thing you guys are doing. So what was, you know, was there something, what was the inspiration behind it? I know you’re a vet and, you know, you wanted to give back, was there something that happened, you know, that, that really caused you to want to jump in here and do this and take these guys out. Was there a need that you saw or, you know, what was the inspiration and motivation?
Justin Jones (04:20):
Um, I mean, really, it’s just, it’s it, it was, you know, kind of my, my calling to give back, you know, and at the time that I was doing this, I was kind of, um, looking into, you know, I’ve been through a couple police, uh, police department, um, you know, application periods and stuff like that to become a police officer didn’t quite make it. Um, you know, so I kind of <affirmative>, you know, I ended up taking a job with another, you know, with another city as my full-time job, instead of doing a police officer thing. And I just, you know, I felt this was a way that I could, you know, instead of serving my local community as a, you know, as a first responder, um, I could do this and it would be, you know, something that I could continue you. And it’s getting to the point now where, you know, I’ve got two young boys and, you know, they’ll be able to go out with me and help me and, and do that.
Justin Jones (05:10):
And, um, I don’t know, it’s just, and now that I’ve started doing it, the biggest thing that, you know, keeps me going so to speak is, is when I see the difference we make with our heroes on these weekend hunts. Um, but yeah, ultimately it was just, you know, I didn’t know. I mean, I didn’t know, there are a few other organizations like us around Ohio, um, and especially nationally now that I’m, you know, kind of in the game, I’ve, I’ve seen them, but, um, I think ours is better, but ultimately we’re not gonna, we’re not gonna compete with these types of organizations because all in it for the same game. So yeah, absolutely. At the end of the day is given back to, you know, those who sacrifice and, um, you know, ultimately give their time for our local community and our country. So
Angie Cherubini (05:59):
Exactly why don’t you explain to everybody exactly. You know, when, when you have somebody come out to American hero hunt to, to a hunt, what’s the process, or, you know, how does someone sign up for that?
Pat Cherubini (06:13):
Where do you find your guys?
Justin Jones (06:15):
Um, so your guys’s awesome web site that you designed for us. Um, obviously, so we’ve, we set it up on there. Um, basically you go to American hero, hunt.org, um, and click the, apply to hunt button. We’ll have a list of all the events that we have coming up. I try to get those, we try to get those on the website early in the year. Um, but we will have some local ones that come up that are just kind of last minute. Um, but mostly you go on there, fill out an application or nominate somebody. We try to push people to nominate. Um, that’s nice. Try to just go on there, fill out as much information about them as you can tell us, you’re nominating them and we’ve had it happen a few times. People didn’t even know they were put in for it. And we called ’em and said, Hey, are you able to come? And, and ultimately they were able to come and it it’s been it it’s awesome when that happens, because they have no idea it’s coming, but yeah, you go. And
Angie Cherubini (07:05):
How what’s their reaction?
Justin Jones (07:09):
Um, a lot of times, no one answers, you know, no one answers the first call, so we gotta send texts or, you know, try to get ahold of ’em on Facebook and stuff like that. Um, we try to do it live in, in one of our board meetings. Um, every month we have one. So we try to, when we pick ’em, we try to do it live in our meeting. We’ll call ’em on the spot on speaker. Oh,
Angie Cherubini (07:25):
Justin Jones (07:27):
Yeah. So a lot of ’em are really surprised and, you know, some of ’em even kind of get, um, I wouldn’t say mad, but they’re like, oh, I’m gonna, you know, cause their wife put ’em in or, or whatever, but ultimately
Pat Cherubini (07:39):
Up, up and ask for help. So, you know, that’s
Justin Jones (07:41):
Right. Exactly. To
Pat Cherubini (07:43):
Justin Jones (07:44):
Yeah. And that’s a lot of that is our biggest hurdle is getting, you know, getting humble people like, you know, veterans and, you know, first responders to put in for themselves. Um, you know, that, that is the biggest thing. So we try to tell people, get on there and nominate somebody, um, laugh year, we reached, uh, 28 heroes and all that we did. Um, and this year we’re slated. We’re hoping to push 36 this year. So wow. We need advocates
Pat Cherubini (08:10):
Mostly local or they come from all over.
Justin Jones (08:14):
Um, so we have a few local trips. Like we have two Turkey hunts coming up the end of this month, we’ve already selected our hunters for that. Um, that was open in nationwide. Um, because I mean, you can hunt in almost any weather for Turkey, but when we do a walleye trip up to lake Erie, we’ll make that a, a localized, we try to make it like the Tri-County area. Um, just so because the weather is, you know, the weather, you, you can’t, you know, you can’t go out on lake Erie if it’s 21 hour winds.
Angie Cherubini (08:40):
So, uh, no,
Justin Jones (08:41):
So we try to stipulate those, but our big hunts, as far as the, um, like our Whitetail Turkey, you know, all the shotgun Whitetail stuff that we do, we open those nationwide. We’ve had people come from Wisconsin, Georgia, uh, Tennessee. Um, what was the other one we had ’em come from, uh, Eastern Pennsylvania back, uh, in January for muzzle loader season. So yeah. All over the place.
Pat Cherubini (09:08):
Angie Cherubini (09:09):
I see you guys, you guys just did a Muskingum university archery. Um, you did something in Muskingham county.
Justin Jones (09:18):
Yeah. So, um, Muskingham university started an archery program, um, and they hosted an ASA qualifier, which is, um, you know, kind of, you go, it’s a 3d shoot and they were just, they hosted it on their property. And, um, people came from all over the state to shoot of the weather was kind of, um, really bad on Saturday. It was snowing and wind and freezing cold. Oh, it was not too many came out on Saturday, but Sunday was, they had over, I wanna say 120 shooters come out on Sunday wow. To shoot a 30 station 3d course. Um, and you know, as far as our role in, it was kind of just to be there and, um, you know, help up out a little bit. We set up our booth and just raise awareness of who we are mm-hmm <affirmative> and what we do and, um, you know, sell some apparel and, and, and hats and stuff like that. So
Angie Cherubini (10:06):
Do you guys get a lot of people interested at things like that
Justin Jones (10:10):
In what you, uh, yeah. I mean people it’s, I don’t, it it’s kind of the, I guess it’s society. I mean, you gotta, you, you gotta make the first interaction. Um, a lot of people just walk by and kind of look and kind of see what you are without actually saying anything. So we kind of, you know, we try to interact with ’em obviously that’s what you gotta do, but, um, we, we have, we’ve had a lot of big success setting up a lot of times we’ll set up advances, um, when we have some events going on and they’ve been, uh, they’ve been <affirmative>, they’ve been successful for us for sure.
Pat Cherubini (10:43):
How has it went so far? Has it been pretty easy to get the word out, get set up and get these guys to know what you guys do, or have you had a struggle
Justin Jones (10:53):
Facebook, you know, Facebook with any business? Um, if you don’t pay, if you don’t pay to play, you’re, you know, you’re kind of pushed to, so that has been, that has, I think that’s been our biggest hurdle. Um, you know, back in the very beginning before we were even really our 5 0 1 C I had it set up, I actually, you know, personally boosted some of the, you know, the initial hunt stuff and paid for boosting and stuff like that, just to try to get it out there because, um, you know, if you don’t pay people, don’t see it. Right. Um, so I, I think that’s our biggest hurdle is, you know, a lot of what we do is social media and push ’em, you know, kind of push ’em to the website to apply obviously, or nominate. Um, so really, you know, Facebook is, is where we’re at with that. And it, it does, you know, you rely on friends and to share it, and if they don’t, then you know, their friends don’t see it, even if they do, you know, some of our board members, um, will share stuff and then, or I’ll share it. And they say they never even see it, you know? And they’re close, they’re close friends of mine. I interact with ’em all the time and they still don’t see it. So
Pat Cherubini (11:58):
Angie doesn’t even see my stuff.
Angie Cherubini (11:59):
I knew you were gonna talk about that. <laugh> I knew he was gonna say it. It’s
Pat Cherubini (12:03):
True. It’s, it’s tough if,
Angie Cherubini (12:06):
Or maybe I see it and I just don’t comment. Oh, that’s
Justin Jones (12:08):
Probably the truth. There you go.
Pat Cherubini (12:10):
We, we joke all the time. We talk about that. The, just the way Facebook used to work you’d make a post and your friends saw it, you know, even, even on your personal stuff.
Justin Jones (12:18):
Pat Cherubini (12:18):
Yeah. When you first had a fan page, you know, you made a post and all of your fans saw it now, you know, I can challenge anybody to go through even your personal page or your personal profile and go through your friends’ list. And there will be dozens and dozens that you haven’t seen in a year, but you, yeah, you still, for sure, you know, they’re still posting, you’re still posting. It’s just, they don’t show it. If you stop interacting with them, they stop showing it. And the pages work the same
Angie Cherubini (12:47):
And the algorithms,
Pat Cherubini (12:48):
Advertising’s the only way around it. And you know that for that’s, you know, that’s why we try to teach people to do different things, you know, make sure that you don’t get stuck with that being your only thing.
Justin Jones (13:00):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s it it’s been tough. Um, but ultimately we are 100% public driven as far as funding. And, you know, we haven’t quite hit the, you know, hit the point where we wanna start paying for advertisement and stuff like that. Now you, I think we could, but we’re still having, you know, we’re still having small successes as far as getting people to apply. And, um, and, and really, to be honest with you, Facebook, the donation aspect of, of, of Facebook has been tremendous for us. Um, you know, almost every post I make on Facebook, I try to make it a donate now post, um, to where people can donate right straight from that post. And it’s been huge. It’s kind of, you know, all the way through all the COVID stuff. We didn’t, we weren’t able to have a banquet. We weren’t able to do certain things. And that is what you know, that is what kept us afloat and, and, and really has paid for almost all the hunts we’ve done in the last year and a half just steady stream of birthday. Fundraisers are huge. Um, I try to tell all my guys on the board and stuff to, you know, create a birthday fundraiser, you know, you’ll be surprised at what comes through just by doing that. And it’s kind of funny with Facebook. I’ll see. Great
Angie Cherubini (14:10):
Justin Jones (14:12):
I’ll see people, I’ll see people I’ll, I mean, states and states and states away way, I don’t even know who these people are and they created a birthday fundraiser for American hero hunt. Really? It makes 80. Yeah. It makes 8,000, you know, $80, a hundred dollars. Some of ’em have made two, $300 and I don’t know these people, so
Angie Cherubini (14:29):
That’s fantastic. Do you ever reach out to ’em and talk to
Justin Jones (14:32):
’em? Yeah, I always, when I do see those, it’s hard to find, you know, you know, you gotta, especially with the Facebook page, you gotta find the right spot to go find all the fundraisers for American hero hunt. Um, and I’ll just every once in a while, I’ll get on there and look, and if somebody does post or, you know, make one, I, I try to go straight to that and comment as American hero on mm-hmm <affirmative>, um, thanking them for, you know, they don’t know us from anybody and they, and they’re, you know, raising donations for us. So that’s pretty awesome.
Pat Cherubini (15:01):
Well, that’s the first time I’ve heard anybody doing that. That’s because you are a 5 0 1, right?
Justin Jones (15:06):
Yeah, because we are a 5 0 1. So, and I hope it stays that way. Facebook has always, you know, it’s always been, there’s no fees involved at all, um, dollar for a dollar, every donation that is given, um, Facebook, obviously you gotta be legitimate and you gotta, you know, link your bank account and everything else, but Facebook sends it straight to the bank account every two months and it’s just, it works and, and I’m, I’m very surprised the way it works. Really.
Angie Cherubini (15:34):
Pat Cherubini (15:36):
Yeah. You’re the first one. I’ve heard that from. So that’s cool. And yeah, that’s remember that. And
Angie Cherubini (15:39):
That’s great information
Pat Cherubini (15:41):
Yeah. For you.
Angie Cherubini (15:43):
Well, tell me about, tell us about some of your most memorable moments that you’ve had.
Justin Jones (15:50):
Um, some people have asked me that and I think my number one would be, um, it would’ve been muzzle loader of 2021. So actually not this past January, but the January, January before, um, we had a gentleman come from Georgia, Mr. Brad Watts. And then we had Mr. Eric Reed from down around Chilli coffee, um, came in from, as a loader I’ve never met, you know, I had never met them in person. Uh, Brad, I had my brother-in-law actually put him in for the haunt. Um, so there was a little bit of connection there, but I didn’t know him. Um, my brother-in-law had just served with him. Um, but Eric, it was kind of, you know, we never know who we’re. We try to, you know, we try to look at their Facebook, we tried to know kind of who’s coming or, you know, kind of get a, you know, a mentality of who they are or, you know, who we’re gonna hang out with for four days.
Justin Jones (16:43):
Uh, muzzle load is actually five days that we hang out. So, um, you know, they both showed up in camp and they were like very reserved people, very quiet. And, and, and it was kind of crazy how they were both the same type of people. And, um, they’re both combat vets and it just turned, you know, sitting around, you know, we’ll have a camp, it was freezing cold, we’ll have a camp fire, but we camped out in a wall tent, um, a big, you know, a 16 by 20 tent. We had a wood burner and everything inside. Um, you know, so there’s downtime when we’re not hunting, we hang around and, you know, we actually had a generator and extension cords and we watched, uh, we watched the national championship football game and everything else, but cool. Yeah. Out in the middle of nowhere when we watching TV, but,
Pat Cherubini (17:27):
Um, better way to do it.
Justin Jones (17:29):
<laugh> yeah. So the one, the thing that they were both really quiet all weekend, uh, up until the last day, um, Eric Reed from sheko, he ended up that got really dark, sorry. He ended up, um, getting a, um, he shot a really nice buck. We hunted wood rush fork Outfitters. He shot a really nice buck. Um, got it all on film. We tried to film everything and that was kind of, you know, the icebreaker, I think, um, he kind of opened up and they both opened up and just for me to sit around and, you know, cuz I’m involved the whole weekend, I’m busy doing this, setting this up, doing this and to see them go from very cool. Wyat reserved, not really, you know, not really opening up very much to what they did on the last day where they started talking about, you know, talking about their war stories, talking about the things, um, and relating with each other and their just their time and service. And to me, that’s what it’s all about. That’s why we do it, um, is with them to be able to open up and be the people that they’re able to be. Um, you know, and you know, they need it, you know, we don’t wanna, we don’t wanna say it’s therapy because we’re not, uh, we’re not in that business, but ultimately at the end of, at the end of the day, a weekend like that for these two guys was definitely therapeutic.
Angie Cherubini (18:47):
Do you do a lot of, do a lot veterans? Does it take time before they start opening up with you guys on the hunts? It,
Justin Jones (18:56):
It does. Um, you know, some of the, these two guys were, I think out of all that we’ve done over the last four or five years, these two guys probably, I don’t know if, because they were both the same or, um, but they probably took the longest, but, but usually after the first, you know, the first evening, um, getting settled in camp or, you know, wherever we’re staying, um, and then the next day, you know, we get out and we sit in a blind together or we go, you know, go out and sit and hunt together and whatever we do, they, they start to open up. But, um, again, I, I think that’s just the, you know, the mental of, you know, the humbled, you know, the humbleness and the mentality of the way veterans and, you know, a lot of first responders are, is they don’t, they don’t feel that anybody and anybody else more than anybody else, they don’t feel like they need to be there. Um, they don’t deserve it anymore than anybody else. They just, you know, they did their job and they do their job and, you know, so it’s, it’s amazing.
Angie Cherubini (19:53):
It’s awesome. You think that way, cause you guys deserve it all the time. Not just once.
Pat Cherubini (20:01):
Yeah. That’s really cool. Um, so how’s your capacity right now. Can you do more, are you guys looking for more, are you kind of, you’re riding wave where you, you sound like you’re pretty full, but you know, where’s it go from here?
Justin Jones (20:14):
Um, actually we just had a board meeting the other night and we, when we selected our Turkey hunters, um, you know, at the end of the meeting, I started talking like, I feel like we can do more. Um, but I think we’re kind of we’re at that humping the wave where, um, the time commitment from the board members, time commitment from, you know, volunteers and, and stuff like that. It is that’s the biggest, you know, that’s one of the biggest things, you know, I work a full-time job, we all work fulltime jobs, we have families. Um, and, and to try to do, you know, 30 plus hunts in a, you know, in a that’s know, reach 30 plus reach 30 plus heroes, you know, throughout all of our different hunts and events, um, is a lot really. But I, I think we’re at the point where we can start, um, we’re trying to put a pro staff, you know, everybody in the hunting industry wants to be on a pro staff.
Justin Jones (21:05):
Um, and what we have found is there’s a lot of people out there who want to help, but they, they don’t really want to commit themselves to a board member position and devote as much time as needed. So what we’re, you know, what we’re working on is trying to develop a pro staff program to get those types of people. You know, a part of the organization will back, ’em a hundred percent say they have properties somewhere and they want to host a hero to take on a haunt. Um, we will, you know, they know what we, you know, as an organization are about and they’re able to do that. And then as the time comes, we can, um, you know, we can promote them, quote unquote, promote them up to a, you know, a board member position if they want to do that. But, um, I think in the near future, we start, um, either we’re gonna travel out west and do some hunting or we’re going to, um, send some, you know, link up with some Outfitters out west and send some guys out there for, um, doing hunts out there. So
Angie Cherubini (22:00):
I think that’s a great idea.
Pat Cherubini (22:02):
How many guys you got, what’s your, you know, your team size, how many board members
Justin Jones (22:06):
Involved? Um, so we have a <affirmative> our board, our board is 15. Um, and right now we currently have 15 members, um, on any given, you know, on any given event or hunt or meeting. Um, I think we get about, you know, 60 to 70% participation and I get it. Everybody’s busy, we all have families. We all have, um, everything going on. So we do pretty well with that. Um, but day in and day out, just, um, what goes on at a meeting every month for two, two and a half hours. Um, ultimately isn’t gonna, isn’t gonna propel us to where I think we can go as an organization and, and a lot of the guys are all behind us as far as that goes. So you we’re, um, growing pains is what I like to call ’em, um, along with staying busy and, you know, we’ve got a couple fundraiser events this year that are gonna keep us really busy on top of everything we’re doing so
Angie Cherubini (23:02):
Pat Cherubini (23:03):
What do you do? What, what are your fun? You said you had the, uh, Facebook thing and, and you do some, uh, fundraisers. What do you do to get the word out about getting, because it’s all donations, right? It’s a hundred, you’re probably almost all donations. How do you get the word?
Justin Jones (23:18):
Those people? Yeah, we, yeah, we are we’re 100% donation driven. Um, so ultimately, um, back in March, I think it was March 7th of 20, 22 days before the country shut down. Um, we had a, a wild game dinner banquet. It was the first banquet. We planned it in two and a half months, um, which is kind of crazy now to think about, but we hosted a banquet, um, with a bunch of different wild game meal. Um, we actually raffled off, uh, 24 guns that night and as an organization, um, that was the first fundraiser we had done officially. And we raised over $20,000 that night for the organization. Oh yeah. It was, I, we were all blown away at how well it went, um, obviously with the whole, you know, the COVID, we weren’t able to have a banquet in, um, 2021. So what we decided to do was a golf outing at the trout club in August.
Justin Jones (24:16):
Um, it turned out to be an awesome fundraiser for us. And then, so this year we wanted to do a spring dinner. Um Banque but it didn’t, we’re still doing it in spring and just a little bit later in what we really wanted to, we’re not having it until June. Um, so June 4th, we’re having a dinner banquet, um, and we’re gonna run it pretty much the same as we did with the last one. And, um, I think it’s gonna be a huge success again, we’ve already got people, you know, blowing up to emails and phones of wanting to have sponsor tables and <affirmative>, and unfortunately we have to cap it at 200, uh, 200 occupants because of the venue, but mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be an awesome and awesome fundraiser. And we’re doing the golf outing in, um, in August, again, out at, uh, the trial club. So
Pat Cherubini (24:59):
Nice. Is that information if somebody wants to, uh, participate in that is out on your website, Facebook page, both.
Justin Jones (25:06):
So as far as the, um, the, um, the sprint or the, the banquet, the dinner banquet, we put to save the date, um, flyer out with the dates. And, um, I’m hoping by the end of this week, I’ll have the final flyer done with the sponsors. Um, and then we will have, uh, ticket pricing and sponsor table and everything else will be out this week and that’ll be on Facebook. Um, and then I’m hoping by the end of this week as well, I can get the flyer designed for the, save the date with the golf outing in August. So
Angie Cherubini (25:39):
Now, do you guys, do you build a list, Justin, do you have a list of, um, you know, past people, an email list or a text list? I
Justin Jones (25:47):
Do. So we used an online ticketing venue, um, for the wild game dinner in 2020, and it ate a lot of money in fees and, you know, transfer fees through PayPal and stuff like that. So this year, so I do have all the email of everybody who applied, you know, who bought a, you know, purchased a ticket, um, on that, but this year, um, I’m, we’re, we’re planning to sell tickets in person, basically we’re gonna have, you know, we’re gonna have our 10 sponsor tables. Um, and then the rest of ’em will be individual dinner tickets that we’ll sell. And we’ve got between the, you know, 10 or 15 of us on the board. We’ve got so many people who are wanting tickets already. It’s just, it, it, I think it’s gonna sell out quicker than, than, than, you know, than we can really get the word out there. So,
Pat Cherubini (26:35):
Which venue are you using?
Justin Jones (26:38):
Uh, we’re going to harvest adventures down in Breman. Um, it’s kind of a farm. It used to be used to be a dairy farm and, um, they, you know, somebody had come to them a long time ago about having a wedding on their dairy farm. And so then I kind of gave them the idea to turn it into a wedding venue and a, you know, a banquet hall and stuff like that. So
Pat Cherubini (26:59):
Nice more money throwing parties and yeah. Milk and cow. Yep.
Justin Jones (27:03):
Yeah, for sure. Yeah.
Pat Cherubini (27:07):
So somebody that has the same calling as you, you know, wants to give back, wants to start something. Do you have any advice what it takes to start a 5 0 1 and put something together? Like you’ve done,
Justin Jones (27:24):
Just do it. Um, you know, that’s kind of cliche, you know, you’re gonna, you’ll never be ready. You know, I, I, you know, I researched, I actually, I did all the 5 0 1 applic. I didn’t pay a lawyer. I didn’t pay a firm. I didn’t, I did it all myself. Wow. Um, I went online, I check out the IRS website and, you know, you had to fill out the, the forms and, um, a lot, luckily now you can do a lot of it electronically. Um, but my biggest thing was, you know, I was hesitant like, what if I do this wrong? What if I do this wrong? Now there are firms out there. You can, you know, you can pay, they’ll do it for you. Um, but just do your research and do it. Um, if you want to start, oh, 5 0 1. It’s not, it’s not as hard as a lot of people make it seem, um, obviously the day in, day in and day out, things that you need to do after that.
Justin Jones (28:11):
But, um, my biggest thing would just go for it. Um, don’t hold back. You’ll never be ready. It’s like having a kid or, you know, stuff like that. Like, oh, you wanna plan? You wanna have this ready? This ready, this ready? I mean, you’ll never be fully ready. Uh, things are gonna change day to day. You’re gonna have things that, um, as with any business, you know, you’re gonna have hurdles, you’re gonna have things that you have to work through, but my biggest thing would be just to do it and, um, and then work out the work out the kinks after that,
Pat Cherubini (28:39):
Just jump and figure it out on the way down.
Justin Jones (28:42):
Right? Yep. Mm-hmm <affirmative>
Angie Cherubini (28:44):
Pat Cherubini (28:47):
Got anything else? <affirmative>
Angie Cherubini (28:49):
Do we go to the,
Pat Cherubini (28:50):
Wow. Is there anything that we didn’t ask? You know, we always, we always think we go through all our, our notes and, you know, is there something that, that we missed about what you do or, or did we nail it
Angie Cherubini (29:01):
A story or anything?
Justin Jones (29:04):
I don’t think so. Um, you know, really, it’s kind of great. My wife just told me a a while ago, you get famous. Don’t forget about me cause I’ve done a couple podcasts <laugh> but no, I mean, it,
Pat Cherubini (29:16):
You, you may have a lot of ways to go after this one.
Justin Jones (29:18):
<laugh> right. No, I, I, you know, I just sincerely, I thank you guys. Um, you know, Angie for, you know, doing the website and, and not charging us a dime. I mean, the website is, is amazing. Um, it’s so user friendly, um, you know, everything you guys do and have done, um, you know, and just all the local, you know, the local community, the sponsors, you know, everybody that has, you know, gotten behind us and helped us do what we do. Um, I wouldn’t be able to do it, you know, especially without my board members. Um, it’s just, it keeps me busy now. I’m looking, I’m hoping for the day I can retire and do this more full time. All
Justin Jones (30:00):
It would be. Um, hopefully that day comes. Um, that, that’s my, uh, that’s my end goal, I think. But, um, you know, really, and, and I guess one thing that I forgot to say is when we take, and then this is one thing that I pride, you know, our organization on, um, I don’t know what other organizations do, but when we take a, a hero out on a hunt, we outfit them from head to toe. Oh, you know, we get with, we get with VAs, we get with, uh, high point taxidermy. We get with habit outdoors, different sponsors that we have. Um, and we get gear, we outfit them head to toe and give them everything they need for the weekend, do what we’re doing, but then they can take it all home with them. Oh, nice. And continue. So if it’s, if they’ve never hunted Turkey before, um, they now have everything, they need to continue that after they’ve been with us for a weekend. So
Angie Cherubini (30:56):
Do you have a lot of people that come into it that have never hunted before?
Justin Jones (31:02):
Uh, um, yes and no. So we’ve had two or three that have, you know, they’ve never done the type of hunting that we took ’em on. Um, and then we’ve had ones that, you know, they’re a little bit older. They used to hunt when they were in high school or, you know, they went out with their dad and grandpa when they were younger, but they just, you know, they haven’t done it for 20, you know, 20 to 30 years. And then now, you know, all of a sudden they get to go back to doing what we do. And, um, you know, we’ve had some come into camp that didn’t really have much of hunting gear and they’re just blown away by, you know, what we give ’em. And, um, almost all of ’em are just, you know, like I don’t need this stuff. Like I don’t deserve this stuff. You know, we give ’em a whole table full of gear. Um, and <affirmative>, they’re, you know, we don’t need this, I don’t need this. I don’t, you know, and it’s just what
Angie Cherubini (31:48):
A cool feeling
Justin Jones (31:50):
It is. It it’s very humbling to me to, um, you know, to, to be able to do that as an organization. And, and that’s one thing I never want to get away from mm-hmm <affirmative> is doing that because I think that makes, um, I think that makes a world of different.
Speaker 6 (32:05):
Pat Cherubini (32:07):
Yeah. That’s really cool. I, I don’t know how to help, you know, we’re gonna, we’re going to obviously put this out. We’re gonna try to drive people to your, uh, donation links. And I think that’s, you know, in the world that we hear all the negativity and, and everyth, I think there are a ton of people that are gonna wanna help you out. Oh yeah. You know, we’re just trying to do a little bit, it was our pleasure doing your website, you know, it’s obviously it’s a no brainer for us, you know, it’s the least we could do, but we’re gonna try to get some, some hits on that link and, and see what we can do to spread the word a little bit and get people to know what you do. Cause it awesome. Yeah. It is so cool that you guys do that. And, you know, I can just picture those, those guys, you know, the type of guys that are trying to not take any of your stuff and they don’t don’t deserve, I, I can just picture ’em, but mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you know, it’s cool.
Justin Jones (33:03):
Yeah. Like I said, I, I really appreciate it. Um, ultimately, you know, they can go to the website, obviously it’s American hero ha.org. Um, there is a contact, you know, a contact form on there that can contact us, um, that comes straight to me anytime day or night. Um, pull, please, if you have anybody that you wanna nominate, nominate them, just go on there and tell a little bit about them, um, and why you think they deserve this. And obviously they’re already a hero to us, but, um, try to make, ’em stand out more than the other guy. Um, I guess that’s, that’s one of the other big things that we have, you know, we, we, we ask people, you know, and first responders to, um, explain themselves or tell us a little bit about you and, um, you know, being humbled, they don’t, uh, they don’t, you don’t talk too much, uh, they don’t want to boast themselves too much or anything like that, but give us your service history, what you do for hobbies now.
Justin Jones (33:56):
And, and, um, just try to relate with us a little bit, cuz ultimately that’s the way select is. Um, if we have 25 applicants to one hunt, um, every board member brings their top five out of those 25 to a meeting and then we sift them down from there. And obviously we look at everybody’s social media and um, we try to relate and, and ultimately we, we boil it down to one or two depending what we’re doing, have the backups. So that would be please nominate. Oh, it is. It’s very hard. It’s it is so hard. I mean, we we’ve had some Whitetail hunts in the past where we’ve had over 50 applicants. Um, how do you narrow that down from 50 to one? Oh, that is, uh, it’s very hard. It’s very hard to do so.
Pat Cherubini (34:40):
Yeah. So for the people just heard all that and are sitting there thinking, you know, obviously the heroes aren’t thinking it, but their friends and family are thinking, Hey, this person needs to go, you know, what are your requirements to apply? You know, veteran first responder. That’s pretty much it.
Justin Jones (34:56):
Yeah. Any veteran active duty, um, you know, first responder. So that’s, uh, know obviously firefighter, medics, um, police officers retired still active doesn’t matter. Um, we, you know, we don’t, you know, we we’ve taken some disabled guys on, we can always find ways to accommodate disabled vets, whether the wheelchair bound, um, yeah, that’s another huge project we have coming up. We actually, they, um, a disabled American veteran, the DAV chapter up by Cleveland, um, they donated a single axle, 16 foot, no 14 foot trailer to us that we are going to build a blind on. So it is 100% mobile. We can put it anywhere and it’ll be all wheelchair accessible. We can just run the wheelchair right up in the back of it. And um, so yeah, we don’t, um, we, we will find a way to accommodate anybody. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, we ask, so on the application we ask for, you know, DD two 14 or picture of a, you know, a, um, a military ID or, um, you know, police ID, anything like that.
Justin Jones (36:02):
Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, you don’t have to have that on de form, but we will require that if you don’t put it on there, just so we can make sure everything’s 100% legit, um, mm-hmm <affirmative> but really the biggest thing is name, phone number that we can contact. Um, if you don’t want them to know about it, don’t put their email address in the form, put your email address, um, cuz you will get a confirmation email once you hit submit mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, but ultimately it’s um, we just need people to nominate somebody and uh, it’ll be that that’s the biggest thing nominate. I love making that phone call and they had no idea that they were even put in for it.
Angie Cherubini (36:42):
That would be fun. That would be fun. And you said you record it,
Justin Jones (36:47):
Do you record? Um, we don’t record, we don’t record, but we call live. Right. Um, you know, we call live like during our meeting, we put it on speaker phone, you know, if there’s 10, 15 of us in the meeting, you know, we, we talk to ’em right then and there and make sure they’re able to come and, and um, you know, congratulate ’em and all that stuff. So, but we do as far as recording, when we take guys out, um, we try to record the whole weekend. Um, we have a couple, a couple guys that do film editing, um, you know, for us and um, you know, we’re all was looking for more of those too film editors or young people that wanna walk around and film and hang out for us for the weekend. You know, if you’re inspiring to be a, uh, outdoor videographer, we’d love to have you come and do some film, but ultimately we try to film, edit it and put it all together. So that way they have something to look back on 10, 15 years from now.
Angie Cherubini (37:39):
That’s neat. That’s really neat. Well, are we ready for the question box? Go for it. I always, I’ve got this little box of questions. They’re just random questions. So we don’t have any clue what you’ll get.
Justin Jones (37:56):
Angie Cherubini (37:57):
Let’s see. What three adjective would your family use to describe you?
Justin Jones (38:07):
Oh man. Um,
Speaker 7 (38:11):
Angie Cherubini (38:12):
Maybe not just your family, maybe the other, other guys in the organization. How would they describe you over, you know, in American hero hunt?
Justin Jones (38:24):
Um, definitely I’d say busy. Um, the other one would be, uh, selfless, um, you know, with there’s a lot of times I don’t, I don’t hunt throughout the year at all. I, you know, I love to hunt, but I just don’t have time. Um, because of what, because of what we’re doing. Um, I don’t know. Um, I guess humble, you know, I, I, I, you know, that’s, I don’t know. It’s just, um, as far as the, the, you know, the whole organization goes, I don’t, you know, I don’t see myself as doing anything extraordinary. I’m just, uh, doing what I need to do to, to give back to our American heroes.
Pat Cherubini (39:09):
Well, you’re doing that. That’s fantastic doing that in spades. Thank you so much for spending the time and talking to us and, you know, thank you for your service. Thank you for what you’re doing for, or those heroes. I mean, it’s just, it’s cool all the way around what you’re doing and we’re gonna do whatever we can to get the word out some more. Can’t
Angie Cherubini (39:23):
Wait to see it grow.
Justin Jones (39:25):
I appreciate it very much. Um, I’m excited for the future. Um, obviously there’s growing pains along the way, but I’m very excited for the future of where American hero hunt goes and where we end up, you know, even just two to five to years from now. So
Pat Cherubini (39:39):
Awesome. We’re always a call text or email away, so just reach out whatever you need. You got any questions, let us know and you know, we’ll do whatever we can to help you guys out. Yep.
Justin Jones (39:47):
I’ll be getting a hold of you about that email chain. So
Angie Cherubini (39:51):
Sounds good. <laugh> cool. Thank you. Is
Pat Cherubini (39:56):
As we wrap it up, this is usually more, you know, but we know what you do and what you did and who you helped. So, you know, the local vibes part of it, isn’t really about local business. It’s about, you know, it’s the fabric of America’s way I look at it. Yeah. Oh yeah. That’s that’s
Justin Jones (40:12):
Pat Cherubini (40:12):
The biggest part of the local vibes. So thank you again for everything you’ve done. Yep.
Justin Jones (40:17):
Thank you guys. I appreciate it very much.
Angie Cherubini (40:20):
All right. That wrap up. That’s a wrap.
Pat Cherubini (40:24):
Have a good night, man.
Justin Jones (40:25):
Hey, you too. Thank you guys.
Angie Cherubini (40:27):
Justin Jones (40:28):
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