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When someone decides to join our military, they commit themselves to our great nation. They are willing to lay down their life for you and me – all in the name of freedom. When these brave men and women complete their military duty, many of them need assistance building (or re-building) their civilian career.

While our active duty service members sacrifice a great deal while serving, their families do as well. Children go without their mothers or fathers for long periods of time: A two-parent household becomes a one-parent household while the military member is deployed. Trying to support a family while furthering their education puts a lot of stress on these veterans and their families, but with your help we can ease that burden.

In order to further their education, veterans often rely heavily on the GI Bill for assistance. While the GI Bill is helpful, the reality is that often the cost of school and living expenses is more than the GI Bill will cover, and those who go on to graduate school often exhaust their benefits. When veterans have families, the pressures are even greater, as is the need for assistance. Sport Clips has made it our mission to help fill that gap for our veterans. That is why Sports Clips, a haircutting franchise my wife and I founded over 20 years ago, has partnered with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Foundation to make sure higher education is no longer a distant dream, but an obtainable reality for our veterans.

Several years ago we established the annual “Help A Hero” scholarship campaign, which holds fundraisers all year long, culminating in a concerted effort the month leading up to Veterans Day, our biggest haircut day of the year. Since we started this scholarship program with the VFW in 2013, we have awarded 580 scholarships and provided $2.4 million in educational funds. We awarded 136 scholarships for the fall 2016 semester and hope to exceed that number in the spring.

From now until Veterans Day, the more than 1,500 Sport Clips locations across the U.S. will collect donations from our generous clients, conduct fundraisers, and on Veterans Day we’ll donate $1 per haircut to scholarships for those who have served. This year, we have set our goals high: We are making it our mission to raise $1 million (with $100,000 targeted to be raised on Veterans Day from the $1/haircut contributions) so we can award more scholarships than ever before.

We can never say “thank you” enough for the sacrifices these heroes have made to protect our freedom, but we can salute them through these scholarships and help relieve some of the financial burden they face as they continue their education.

Gordon Logan, a USAF Veteran, is founder and CEO of Sports Clips Haircuts. Entrepreneur Magazine has named Sports Clips as one of the “Fastest-Growing Franchises” and in the top 20 in its “Franchise 500.” Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

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