3rd Annual Fundraiser with the Independence Fund | MermetUSA
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Weaving Change
3rd Annual Fundraiser with the Independence Fund
Mermet is celebrating their 3rd annual fundraiser with the Independence Fund in 2022, and is shedding some light on this cause and the amazing veterans who receive all-terrain track chairs from the work done by the Independence Fund.
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Sacrifice. Valor. Freedom. All words that come to mind when thinking of our military veterans. Just like in 2020 & 2021, Mermet has continued its support of our veterans who have suffered catastrophic wounds while on active duty serving our great nation through the Independence Fund: an organization which helps give support to wounded veterans through contributions like all-terrain track chairs. 




We interviewed Ryan Harrah, the Chief Operating Officer of the Independence Fund, to get an understanding of the impact The Independence Fund and its donors have on veterans and their families. When asked about the mission of The Independence Fund, Harrah told us “the Independence Fund we’re in our 15th year, and our sole mission is to serve the war fighter community. We do that by giving independence back to wounded veterans.” 


Over the past few years, Mermet had been searching for ways to have a greater impact with our Weaving Change initiative. After Chris Duerk, Mermet’s managing director, met some veterans from the Independence Fund at a Houston Astros baseball game we knew we had the answer. Chris made an immediate connection with the veterans at the Independence Fund and the rest is history.


Mermet is now in its third year of fundraising to give one special veteran an all-terrain track chair. This year’s recipient is Army Specialist Fidel Bobadilla. Fidel served in the US Army as an infantryman with 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division from 2010-2012. In June of 2011, Fidel was injured by enemy forces while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This resulted in the loss of both legs and other polytraumatic conditions. 




When we spoke with Fidel at Mermet’s Customer Appreciation Night event at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, he expressed that he knew he wanted to serve and do something positive in life. Serving his country in the Army was the perfect fit. Fidel spoke of his feelings after his injury in Afghanistan: “I just always felt that I wasn’t gonna be the same person after my injury, but just with the track chair alone, I can have more independence and can be outside with my kids a little easier.” 


Fidel has two sons, one three years old and one nine years old. He expressed his passion for doing yard work, planting crops and trees, and playing outside with his kids. “I could go out there, use a track chair, buy a tree and go planting myself,” Fidel told us while talking about the prospect of a track chair. Not only will Fidel be granted more mobility and freedom with the track chair, but he, like other veterans with The Independence Fund, will be able to enjoy some of their passions once again. 




Ryan Harrah detailed just how important these all-terrain chairs are to a veteran’s quality of life: “These are life changing chairs. I know that sounds funny to think a chair is life changing. But to these (veterans), it really is. It gives them the ability and the independence to live their lives the way they want and to go do the things that they love to do.” The Independence Fund since its founding has given over 2,600 track chairs to wounded veterans and continues to do incredible work with the veterans of our great nation. “It’s not just a matter of giving a veteran something and then walking away. If it’s a track chair, we give that track chair, but we stay with that veteran to the duration. If they need new batteries, we take care of that. And we refurbish them. We give them new ones when the time comes. We take that approach of helping the whole family, not just the veteran,” Ryan told us when discussing the Independence Fund’s full scope of work. 




To be able to give back to those who have sacrificed their quality of life for our freedom is a privilege for which Mermet is continuously grateful to have the opportunity. Of Mermet’s six core values, being Influencers and Service-Minded have motivated us to participate and do our part in giving back to our veterans through the Independence Fund. Just as we have encouraged our customers and partners to get involved, we want YOU to do your part as well!


To find out how YOU can do your part in supporting our incredible veterans through the Independence Fund, please visit https://independencefund.org/ or donate directly by clicking HERE.


To find out more about Fidel’s journey and Mermet’s 3rd annual fundraiser with the Independence Fund, watch the video below!