In 2007, I was listening to a Boston radio station, where a trivia contest was underway. The question was: “What’s the one thing most wanted by head-wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan?”
The answer? Baseball caps to cover wounds, burns, swelling, and bandages. From this simple question Operation Hat Trick, an organization dedicated to helping veterans suffering from the visible and invisible wounds of war was born. Something so simple — I knew I had to do something.
OHT sprang to life in 2008, when tragedy hit my University of New Hampshire community. Nate Hardy and Mike Koch, two Navy SEALs trained together, fought together, and died together on Feb 4, 2008. Nate is the son of UNH professor Dr. Steve Hardy and his wife Donna. Nate and Mike are buried side-by-side in Arlington National Cemetery.
Inspired by UNH’s rich tradition in hockey, Operation Hat Trick was launched, initially donating hats to Veterans Administration Medical Centers and selling them very locally.
But things changed dramatically in 2012 when Operation Hat Trick was ready to launch onto the national scene, and the rest is history.
Operation Hat Trick’s brand and mission are now embraced by more than 500 colleges and universities in all 50 states, 130 high schools, 20 National Hockey League teams, 85 Minor League baseball teams, 13 NBA teams, and over 100 companies.
I’m thrilled to say Operation Hat Trick has donated over $2.3 million since 2014!
Operation Hat Trick generates awareness, support and funding for the recovery of America’s wounded service members and veterans. OHT pursues these goals through the sale of OHT branded merchandise, proceeds of which are distributed to selected organizations supporting the OHT mission.
OHT looks for partners who align with its mission and who are passionate about supporting wounded and recovering veterans as they struggle to become fully independent and free from the visible and invisible wounds of war. OHT found early on that Recreational Therapy helps with both and brings connection and resilience to its veterans through a variety of programs.
OHT is extremely proud of what they have accomplished and know that Nate and Mike would be too!
Stay tuned for some upcoming OHT/WQW cobranded hats! They’ll be terrific!