LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — "Leave no one behind" it's a creed that's central to so many of the men and women we salute as our heroes. When one of them falls, every effort is made to bring them home.
The families of that fallen hero then earn a permanent place of honor, but keeping up that support isn't always easy.
“The VA and the military, they provide so much for the families, but there comes a limit,” said Andrea Fisher, leader of the nonprofit, "Hearts of Our Heroes."
The organization works to overcome those limits for the gold-star families whose loved ones paid the ultimate price, leaving them with a memory that lasts forever.
Forever is a long time, but that's where Fisher and her organization come into the equation.
“There are some circumstances and some situations where they need a little extra help," Fisher said. "Whether it's household repairs, electricity, bills, food, gas, [and] just getting together as survivors-- [a] survivors support group.”
Fisher brought Hearts of our Heroes to life in early 2022, with the goal of providing aid to families and helping them through hardships that they didn't see coming.
“The biggest challenge for them is making sure that their loved one is never forgotten, and staying connected with other survivors that have experienced the same type of loss," Fisher said.
While they face that challenge, "Hearts of our Heroes" does the leg work. They host events and ceremonies, like the recent remembrance at the Arkansas State Capitol in observance of POW/MIA Day.
Alongside those ceremonies, the group also holds picnics, holiday parties, and assorted fellowship events.
From there, the non-profit works to provide the families with any support that they need on the days that they face struggles.
“We've had two survivors that needed new roofs. We were able to partner with another organization to replace the the roofs on both of their houses," Fisher said. "We had a survivor that was wheelchair bound and not able to leave his house, so we partnered with another local community organization and built a house ramp to his house."
The focus on family stems from Fisher's upbringing. Her grandfather survived a POW camp in WWII. The legacy continues as her father served in Vietnam and her husband served 23 years in the Army.
For her part, Fisher worked as a civilian within the Department of Defense before fully dedicating her degree and background to non-profit management.
This is a cause that Fisher is passionate about. She said that it hardly feels like work as it all comes from the heart.
"They sacrifice day in and day out, and we want to make sure that we keep that awareness within the community," Fisher said.
The group's Facebook page lists fun upcoming events.
They plan to partner with other organizations to give gold-star children an all-expense paid deer hunting trip.
The group also hopes to provide fun events for the holidays and has plans for a tree drive which would be similar to programs like the Salvation Army.