INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Russ Chargualaf is proud of his service in the U.S. Army. He served eight years in military intelligence as a first lieutenant, but he retired wanting to do more for his fellow veterans.
“I feel it’s a responsibility to give back and to help not only these men and women, but the families they leave behind,” said Chargualaf.
Few organizations do more for veterans and their families than Wish for Our Heroes. The group’s most public event happened at Lucas Oil Stadium when former Colts punter Pat McAfee not only fulfilled a family wish, but also reunited them with a Hoosier soldier.
For Russ Chargualaf, it was the type of work he wanted to do. He started volunteering with Wish for Our Heroes five years ago after reconnecting with a friend who leads the group in Indiana.
“There’s been so many wishes that I’ve been part of. Each one, they could be small or big, but it’s one of the biggest impacts they’ll have.”
Wish for Our Heroes takes requests for assistance both large and small, be it help with groceries or a broken washer or something major like a mortgage payment. The group takes the requests online and Russ sees each one of them.
“It can be their own request, or it can be a friend who says, they’re hurting, can I request online.”
As a veteran himself, Russ knows the need is great and he knows what it means to the Hoosier families who get what they need.
"It's about giving back to those who need it most.”