The silent auction had wrapped up, the Drive for Hope golf tournament winners were announced, and the check presentation was the last thing on Forward’s docket at Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia. The final tally was a secret, so HOPE’s CEO and Founder, Robin Kelleher’s jaw dropped seeing the staggering number. “That is literally and physically the largest check we’ve ever seen,” she said. The Forward employees and volunteers didn’t just meet expectations. They soared past them.

Speaking of going above and beyond, Robin spoke about the Volunteer of the Month program at Hope For The Warriors and announced Forward’s Vice President of Talent and Recruiting, Ryan Gilliam, as the honoree for October. “Which Ryan?” He asked with a stunned look on his face.

The reaction says it all. “It’s a surprise because there are so many role players here at Forward that go in and put in so much work to honor our partnership.” Ryan says this recognition isn’t just about him; it reflects the entire Forward team’s passion and commitment to HOPE’s cause.

“We’re so committed and passionate. It’s natural for us.”

Ryan has been with Forward for 12 years and is honored to be part of an organization that works with Hope For The Warriors to help veterans and their families achieve stability, strength, and a sense of community. “There is such a delta between what we do for them [the veterans] and what they do for us. Not only is it a personal goal for me, but it’s cool to be a part of an organization that aligns with my personal goals of wanting to do more.” He emphasizes the immeasurable contributions of veterans to our country and the vast potential for all of us to give back. Hope For The Warriors allows individuals like Ryan and organizations like Forward to make a meaningful impact.

Ryan Gilliam

The Drive For Hope event has grown exponentially in a few short years, and Ryan has played a pivotal role in that growth. He already has his sights set on 2024 and the potential for an even bigger turnout and a larger check at the end of the day. “Immediately my head goes to how many people that’ll support, how many veterans will be impacted, and how do we raise the bar next year,” he says. “We are ecstatic about the future of this event.”

Get Connected

At Hope For The Warriors, we understand that volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. They send a powerful message to our military community – that the entire nation stands firmly behind them. If stories like Ryan’s inspire you and want to bring your talents, skills, and desire to serve our nation’s heroes to HOPE, we invite you to reach out. Connect with us at or click here for more information.