The Foundation is focused on keeping each local Gold Star Family community engaged through sponsoring and hosting outreach programs and events.
Events include 5K runs and walks, motorcycle runs from monument to monument, riverboat gatherings, school speeches, as well as events like the Gold Star Families Day at the Ball Park. The Foundation provides a structured process for each type of event and works with the local Foundation committees to organize the volunteers and resources needed.
The Foundation has begun to engage in additional efforts to serve and support Gold Star Families through strategic partnerships with other nonprofit and service organizations. The intent is to provide a clearinghouse of services for Gold Star Families and effectively guide them to organizations that can fulfill their needs.
The Traveling Gold Star Families Memorial Monument (TGSFMM), is a 1:1 scale replica of our standard monument. For many who may not have access to an established Gold Star Families Memorial Monument location, this traveling tribute offers a similar experience by encouraging communities to honor, recognize, and serve.
The TGSFMM brings with it the stories and histories of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and their Gold Star Families. Accompanied by a kiosk, the TGSFMM’s digital components provide a way to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while also offering educational information to visitors.
Gold Star Families Day at the Ball Park is unique program developed by the Woody Williams Foundation and the Louisville Bats which hosts over 200 Gold Star Family members for a day of baseball, food, community, and fun. As a part of this special day Gold Star Family members participate by throwing out the first pitch as well as singing our National Anthem. In addition to these activities, Louisville Bats baseball gives special recognition to Gold Star Families and honor their Loved Ones throughout the day. Gold Star Family Day at the Ball Park offers an opportunity to strengthen relationships within the community and demonstrate to Gold Star Families that we will never forget the sacrifice of their Loved One.
Operation H.R.S. (Horse) brings equine athletes and equestrians together to compete in honor of Gold Star Families and their Loved Ones who have paid to ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Through our partnership with the North Carolina State Championship Horse Show and United Professional Horsemen’s Chapter 12, this annual event welcomes Gold Star Families from around the country to be a part of this special event. Gold Star Families in attendance are given VIP access to spectate the event and are honored throughout each performance.
“The Cause is Greater Than I...” Motorcycle Ride is annual event held in Louisville, KY. The ride hosts motorcycle riders and riding enthusiasts for an escorted ride through the heart of the Bluegrass. Each participant rides in honor of one of those who has paid the ultimate sacrifice. Gold Star Families are hosted by the Woody Williams Foundation to take part in the ride as well as a memorial ceremony.
Operation Caretaker is intended to beautify and care for installed GSFMMs through local engagement and community partnership. This effort ensures that the beauty and integrity of each GSFMM site is maintained in a consistent, effective, and thoughtful manner. This program not only helps to maintain each site, but it also provides service and engagement opportunities in perpetuity for all within the community.
This program has been inspired by our co-founder, Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams, who considers himself the “Caretaker” of the Medal of Honor. He believes that the Medal of Honor does not belong to him, rather it belongs to those who did not get to come home. In much the same way, each community is the “Caretaker” of the GSFMM, as it belongs to Gold Star Families and their Loved Ones who will never return home.
The Woody Williams Foundation would not be able to successfully pursue our mission without our nonprofit partners. Throughout the year, the WWF participates and supports partner events across the U.S. with the goal of improving services to Gold Star Families and raising awareness about the price of freedom.