Photograph of Scott's Grave, the inspiration for Remember Heroes

One Veteran’s Dream: Build a Business, Honor his Brothers

RH HQ Press Release (Nov. 7, 2013) – Few people have the stomach to risk their livelihood by starting a business and chasing their dream. Even fewer have what it takes to risk their lives in service of this country. One Marine Corps veteran, Mike Merit, is just made of the right stuff apparently. Mike, who was in the Corps for twelve years and served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, recently founded a business called Remember Heroes to honor the Marines he knew who didn’t make it home.

He and the company’s six employees in Ft. Worth, Texas (along with 50 field contractors across 10 states) put fresh flowers on veteran’s graves in national cemeteries, at the request of their surviving friends and family. But that’s not all. Once the flowers are placed, the company takes photographs and a panoramic image of the decorated grave to create an online memorial for the veteran.

Despite the overwhelmingly positive reception from veteran’s service organizations and national advocacy organizations like the NRA, Remember Heroes had a rocky start. “We launched operations and began accepting orders on October 1st,” Mike said, “the exact same day the government shutdown.” This was a problem for the fledgling startup since all national cemetery data, like where veterans are buried, are stored on government servers.

However, since the re-opening of the government, the small company is now back on track and ready for November 11th. “We’re up and running in full-force,” said Flint Holbrook, Remember Heroes’ chief executive officer. “We’re hoping to have a strong Veterans Day and let people know they have a new way to honor their fathers, brothers and sisters.

The organization also allows people to sponsor the grave of a service member killed in action. This was one of the pillars of Mike’s dream for Remember Heroes. Americans can order flowers for those heroes who sacrificed everything, and photographs are returned to their family as a solemn thank-you.

Over the week leading up to Veterans Day, Remember Heroes has worked with TheRanch 95.9 to identify local families who experienced a loved one being killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan. On November 10th Remember Heroes will honor the graves of those identified by TheRanch, images of the gravesite and personal “Thank You” to the families.

So as Veterans Day, 2013 sets upon us and we celebrate our service men and women, we should remember those who are still out there fighting. We should remember those who came home to unemployment. We should remember those who fought decades ago. And we should remember those who are, and will forever be, heroes.

(Photo by Mike Merit)