A new organization is hoping to help injured and elderly veterans and first responders who have nowhere else to go.
From 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Saturday, Mission Overwatch Inc., a faith-based nonprofit organization, will host a spirit day fundraiser at Pizzeria Azzurri on Browns Bridge Road. Money raised from the event will go toward helping those who had served the country or county with nowhere else to turn.
Co-founders Troy Embrey and Stephen Maddox each served more than a decade with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. Embrey said both men saw the conditions some in the county lived in when responding to calls.
“We would see senior citizens or disabled veterans and sometimes injured firemen or injured EMTs or fellow officers that would not be taken care of in the way we thought they should be,” Embrey said. “It kind of just started with the senior citizens and seeing them in just, really, really rough shape. Their houses were kind of falling apart. They didn’t have family or neighbors to care for them.”
Embrey said the program was meant for those who had “fallen through the cracks” and not getting help from friends, family, churches or local groups.
“I was out due to medical reasons, recovering from back surgeries and just got the idea when it appeared I would not be able to return to work, to start a non-profit to help disabled veterans and seniors and injured first responders, like me."Stephen Maddox
Maddox, who now works for Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, said he originally had the idea when he was sidelined with injuries.
“I was out due to medical reasons, recovering from back surgeries and just got the idea when it appeared I would not be able to return to work, to start a non-profit to help disabled veterans and seniors and injured first responders, like me,” Maddox said.
Maddox said workers’ compensation meant a shortfall of cash for those used to working overtime.
“You don’t do it for the money. You do it so you can save people,” Maddox said. “Every little bit of the money you can save if you’re out of work due to an injury is money that can go to feeding your family.”
When talking about what the group would get involved with, the original plan was to only help with yard maintenance.
“It started out with doing routine lawn care,” Embrey said. “We said we can just start off small, clean their gutters, trim their hedges or whatever they need outside the house.
Soon, the idea expanded to even more ways to help.
“If we go in and say a senior needs a ceiling fan changed or a light switch changed out, then we can go in and do it,” Maddox said. “Anything that is going to be something that needs to be done by someone who is licensed, then we would go from our contractor list.”
The group will have a number of contractors to handle anything dealing with issues like plumbing, electrical and HVAC work, and Embrey said those that are getting help will not have to pay extra if a professional is used.
“In no situation will these people pay a dime,” he said. “Any kind of money that goes to the contractor will come from Mission Overwatch.”
Embrey said the group will have a vetting process to make sure they are helping those who do need help.
“We obviously have got to be ultra-careful so that we’re not taken advantage of with people because there are a ton of people that you say the word ‘free,’ and they’ll lie to your face to get whatever you’re offering,” he said. “When we say eligible, we mean like senior citizens who can’t do it themselves or can’t afford to do it themselves or something along those lines.”
The group is planning to start work later this year after another spirit day in April and golf tournament in May. Embrey said the plan is to have funding in place first so the group can complete projects without seeking more funding.
Embrey said Mission Overwatch will only serve those living in Forsyth County.
“We’re a Forsyth County non-profit,” Embrey said. “I don’t foresee us anytime soon getting beyond Forsyth County. We just want to start here local because we know there are plenty of people here to help.”