About GWAVOur History | Your Veterans
Get Wet For A Vet
Our organization started much like other dreams do, with a conversation. Linn Morrow and Bob Saros, local citizens of South Bend aspired to do something more and had the vision to start their own fundraiser. They wanted to benefit the community by helping local Veterans who have fought so vigorously for our freedom. Get Wet for a Vet was thought of after talking with groups of friends that were inspired to have an event to help benefit the local Veterans of Michiana. The fundraising event would begin with a motorcycle ride and end at a fundraiser with local music, raffles, and the “best part” a DUNK TANK! We know our name is quirky, but it fits us very well. In our organizations’ planning phase, we brainstormed with many friends and family to come up with an outstanding event. We not only wanted to have a motorcycle ride but also a reason for participants to stay after the ride. In addition to having music, food, and raffles, Linn decided we would add a dunk tank to set our event apart from all others! Upon presenting her idea to friends it was fittingly suggested that it be called GET WET for a VET.
In our first year, we donated an overwhelming $8,207.51 to the Miller’s Homeless Veteran Center in South Bend. As a result, we were inspired to continue to build on our previous success.
Our donation was $15,000.
$16,000; all donated to Miller’s Vet Center.
In 2016, we obtained our 501-3C, which was a big feat for a committee of 4! We raised $25,000 that year. We wanted to make a difference in more lives so our profits for 2016 were distributed amongst the Department of American Veterans (D.A.V.), CVMA “Vets helping Vets”, and Miller’s Veterans Center. The D.A.V. used the funds to purchase a transport van that helps veterans get to Veteran health facilities that are often far away.
In 2017, we reached our goal and raised $35,000. We reached our community further and assisted in the purchase of an Assistance Animal for a disabled veteran, helped the Blue Star Mom’s, CVMA’s “Vets helping Vets,” and Miller’s. As we continue to grow, we are fully dedicated to assuring all profits benefit local veterans in the community.
In 2018 our goal was to present an extraordinary opportunity to our local Vietnam Veterans. August 2nd—5th, we took 42 veterans on a bus trip to Washington D.C. to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
This emotionally compelling memorial pays tribute to the brave men and women who served in one of America’s most controversial wars. We were so excited that we were able to provide this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the veterans of our community!
Thanks to our sponsors and supporters we were able to make this dream a reality! In end, we were able to provide 42 local Vietnam Veterans with all-expenses-paid to Washington D.C. including a visit to the Vietnam Veteran Memorial and the opportunity to participate in the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
In 2019 after a truly rewarding yet exhausting prior year, we decided to go back to the basics and keep things simple. Our sponsors and supporters would have none of it which was awesome. Once again, we ended up with a record number of sponsors, bikes, attendees, and fundraising. Along with continuing to help veterans in crisis individually we able to help fund many local veteran-oriented organizations. Including Michiana “Stop 22”, St. Joe County Blue Star Moms, Marine Riders Michiana, St Joseph County Department of Veteran Affairs Volunteer Fund, Combat Veterans 14-3, and Army Riders Chapter 118.
In 2020 for our 8th annual event we looked forward to breaking $250,000 in total fundraising. The year, however; began on shaky footing as the COVID pandemic hit just as we were beginning our season.
Thankfully, our sponsors are unwavering, and their ranks have grown again along with all the “Get Wet” supporters.
And behind the scenes, progress was steadily being made towards our dream. And after what seemed like a whirlwind of Zoning Boards, Planning Commissions, Architects, Common Councils, and the acquisition of property on June 4th we were finally able to announce what we had so diligently been working on. Construction of a “tiny” house village for local veterans.
After a move of venue to where we were able to have more riders and space to engage and have fun. We were able to donate over $45,000 to multiple local Veteran Organizations; including but not limited to: Elkhart Air Force JROTC, Blue Star Mothers, Stop 22, Coalition Veterans, FreedomSystem.org, and more.
As you can see through our history that we have been very successful in helping Veteran Organizations with their missions. We keep our own overhead low in order to help other Veteran organizations get donations to help with their missions.
As you can see below and in the 2020 tab, our mission for 2021 is to get the “Mishawaka Troop Town” a reality! If you would like to donate to this goal
A love for our nation’s best and how they get treated bring our board together to help out Veterans as much as they can.
Born in a small Ohio town, Jim left there two weeks before his 18th birthday to serve his country in the US Army. His assignments included Fort Ord, Germany, and deployed to Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. After sustaining a career-limiting injury, he decided to depart the service in 1992 as a Staff Sergeant and began a job with Sodexo Corporation. After 28 years with them, he decided to stop working to allow 100% of his time to the nonprofits Get Wet for a Vet and Mishawaka Troop Town. Jim is also a life member of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.
Mother, wife, and grandmother; daughter of a Marine also both grandfathers served in the Army and World War II and one who was a POW in the Korean War and a three-time purple heart recipient. She has always had a passion for veterans but didn’t know how to go about helping them until her best friend Linn Morrow founded this organization. She has been a part of and has helped all nine years, she has served on the board since 2017.
In 2018, this organization solely funded a trip for 42 Vietnam Veterans from our area to visit the Vietnam wall in Washington DC. The trip by itself offered some closure and yet for others, it placed them fearfully in a foreign country 8,700 miles away. As a Vietnam Veteran Terry knew right then that he needed to become a part of Get Wet for a Vet. When given an opportunity in 2019 to join this group he immediately accepted the Secretary position. From that time forward Terry has never been more honored to be on this board. He can attest that every meeting is centered around “What next can we do for our local Veterans?”
As a US Army veteran who has always called Michiana home, Dennis is dedicated to putting our local veterans first. He is a long-time “Get Wet for a Vet” supporter and board member. While enlisted he served in Korea, Germany, Honduras, Fort Riley Kansas, and Iraq. In line with his commitment to veterans in need, Dennis is a lifetime member of Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans and never passes up the opportunity to help a Brother.
Jordan enjoys farming, driving over-the-road wide-loads, being on the GWFAV board, volunteering countless hours to various veteran organizations but most of all he enjoys striving to be a role model to his beautiful little daughter.
As one of the newest members of the Get Wet team, Scott Fisher, an United States Army Veteran, has taken the role of Public Relations. Scott has been married for 22 years has three daughters: 20, 19, and 11, and an awesome Grandson that he loves to spend time with. He works as a pattern repair technician for a local iron foundry.