One Last Time for Our Veterans

We got your six, Jim.

After 12 years in the United States Army and 11 years advocating for the northeast Indiana veteran community, SGT Jim Garigen (Army, Medically Ret.) has finally decided to take some time to himself. His heart has always been focused on serving his country and his community, but now his health, both physical and mental, requires him to rest, reflect and recuperate. His parting wish is to succeed in one final fundraiser—securing $11,000 for the local organizations that he has worked so hard to grow and support: Invisible Vets, Race for the Warrior, Freedom Riders of Indiana Chapter 1, FW22, and Huntington County Council on Aging.

‘Got your six’ is a combat term for following a battle buddy, protecting them from behind, as if watching the 6 o’clock position in back. If we could all give $6 or more to the “One Last Time for Our Veterans” fundraiser on Facebook, we would only need 1,790 people to donate (we have already raised $265). This would be a great way to usher in a new era of Sergeant Garigen’s life, and continue his legacy of helping military veterans heal from the invisible wounds of war.

All money stays in Allen and Huntington counties. To donate, please visit

Here’s a little bit about each of the organizations:

Invisible Vets care package
A care package from Invisible Vets sits on the doorstep of a veteran in need of food and toiletries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Invisible Vets has been offering contact-free delivery. Photo contributed.

Invisible Vets

Invisible Vets is a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving homeless heroes, families touched by veteran suicide and general veteran needs. Invisible Vets helps provide basic life necessities for those who wore our nation’s uniform and now find themselves in less than satisfactory situations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization collected and distributed face shields, food and toiletry packages, Kroger gift cards, and other items. Find them on Facebook at

Race for the Warrior
Race for the Warrior is an annual Walk/Run event that takes place on the runway of the Fort Wayne International Airport. Proceeds benefit the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council’s Military Support Fund. Photo contributed.

Race for the Warrior

This 5k/10k run/walk/ruck/roll traverses the runway at Fort Wayne International Airport. The event is the main annual fundraiser for the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council, with proceeds benefiting the organization’s Military Support Fund, a program that awards grants to military families experiencing financial emergencies. The pandemic and its respective shutdown will have lasting effects for our military community, making the need for this fundraiser greater now more than ever. The race date for 2020 is Aug. 1. Safety precautions are in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. To sign up, sponsor, volunteer or donate, visit

Fort Wayne 22
The main event for Fort Wayne 22 is the annual Benefit and Awareness Hike. This year’s event is scheduled for October 3, 2020. Photo contributed.


Fort Wayne 22, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organized to facilitate community involvement in the support and assistance of veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) while simultaneously educating on suicide prevention and mental illness. The organization was established in June 2014 by two area Marines, Jarred White and Tyler Egbert, in response to the veteran suicide epidemic. Both men felt compelled to take action and promote change within their local communities by creating an annual event representing the 22-plus veterans that take their own lives every day due to unresolved mental health ailments. For more information, visit If you’re a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, there are caring, qualified responders standing by to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, anonymous, confidential resource that’s available to anyone. Call (800) 273-8255.

Freedom Riders
The Freedom Riders of Indiana Chapter 1 gather for a fundraiser at Texas Roadhouse in Fort Wayne. Photo contributed.

Freedom Riders of Indiana Chapter 1

The Freedom Riders are a patriotic group of motorcyclists founded on the principles of true friendship, selfless giving and the chance to honor those who have sacrificed so much for America. According to the group’s website, “Good deeds breed opportunity to, not only enjoy the freedom of riding, but also to help defend those same freedoms by helping the military personnel who fight for those freedoms.” All rides and events are open to the public. To learn more, visit

Huntington County Council on Aging

Established in 1973, Huntington County Council on Aging has been serving the needs of senior residents and persons with disabilities in Huntington County, Indiana, aged 60 and over. Services include homemaking, foot care, education, transportation and a variety of social activities. The Council on Aging strives to offer services and resources that allow seniors to live independently and safely in their own homes. Visit for more information.

“When community comes together, great things get done.” — Jim Garigen

Published by Gwen Clayton

Gwen Clayton is a freelance writer living in Ashland, Kentucky. She is the former editor of the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly, and has written for numerous other publications since 1986. Her first book, the paranormal thriller "Fermata Cellars," was published in 2016, and her Bible-inspired short story, "Purr: A story of love, lions and a Hebrew named Daniel," was released in 2019. She recently finished writing, "Zinfandel’s Grimoire," which is the sequel to 'Fermata;' that book is in the editing and design phase of publication. Her current works in progress include the third book in the Rivervine Trilogy, tentatively titled, "Comatis Unveiled," and the nonfiction, "Dragon's Poker Table: A rocker chick's breast cancer journey." Her books are independently published under the imprint, Rivervine LLC. In addition to writing books, Clayton contracts as a copywriter for local, small businesses.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: