Helping Hands for Freedom & the Microsoft Store Collaborate by Lynette Carrington Helping Hands for Freedom and the Microsoft Store Collaborate for Special Event Helping Hands for Freedom is a locally based nonprofit organization that serves families of veterans that do not return from conflict. Recently, the Microsoft Store in Scottsdale was made aware of the nonprofit and the two connected at a special event.Community Development Specialist at the Microsoft Store in Scottsdale, Susan Ratliff explains, “The Microsoft Store is always connecting with local organizations to be part of the fabric of the community. Helping Hands for Freedom was a guest speaker at a recent event hosted at the Microsoft Store honoring veteran business owners and we were also involved with the organization’s The Route for The Brave effort.” The Route for the Brave – Walk Across America began April 28, 2016 in Atlantic City and will arrive in San Francisco August 26, 2016.Back on April 16, the Microsoft Store hosted a special kickoff event for Helping Hands for Freedom’s The Route for the Brave. That event included a walk through Scottsdale Fashion Square with the Helping Hands for Freedom team. “Following the walk, participants visited the store for a ceremony thanking local veterans, including some Microsoft employees,” Ratliff says. “The event featured a Skype interview with the Route for the Brave walkers David Roth and Kevin Winton and meet-and-greet with Darin Fishburn, CEO of Helping Hands for Freedom, who shared his personal experience on the Route for the Brave. Additionally, other Microsoft Stores have also hosted similar events with the organization as part of our commitment to the local community. We are delighted to work with organizations like Helping Hands for Freedom and hope to continue the relationship and work with them in the future.Ratliff continues, “We were fortunate to have veterans from local Microsoft offices participate in the mall walk event and were recognized. Each Veteran was given a special set of dog tags as a thank you for their military service from Helping Hands for Freedom.”Microsoft veterans who participated in the event: Jake Chapman – US Air Force Edgar Sanchez – US Army Darin Travis Brian Loeffler – US Marine Corps Paul Baird – US Army Carla Stanley – US Air Force “The Microsoft Store in Scottsdale was thrilled with the opportunity to work with Helping Hands for Freedom during National Small Business Week for a special networking and workshop event for veteran business owners,” says Ratliff. “We are dedicated to supporting local community efforts that benefit great charities like HHFF and look forward to additional opportunities to connect. “Microsoft Stores are committed to being part of the fabric of the communities in which we operate,” explains Ratliff. “Microsoft Stores regularly host community organizations in the theater space and Microsoft Store employees are out in the community supporting local causes on an ongoing basis. Additionally, every Microsoft Store has a Community Development Specialist who is dedicated to working with local organizations to arrange in-store events and activities in order to help drive awareness of their cause within the community and the opportunity to learn new technology skills.” About Helping Hands for FreedomHelping Hands for Freedom has a primary mission of supporting the surviving spouse and children of a veteran who doesn’t return from the conflict. It can take months for a family to receive the death benefit and often this also results in relocation from base housing. HHFF steps in to help with basic expenses during their time of transition. We assist those severely wounded who need equipment or housing modifications as they adjust to new life circumstances. We also help the children with life enrichment programs, mentorship and counseling. For additional information about Helping Hands for Freedom, visit www.helpinghandsforfreedom.org.