What Meeting Fred Gutierrez Meant to Me?

One day out of nowhere, Michelle Richards, OneNation Foundation President, reached out to me to discuss a collaboration effort to help a Veteran. I didn’t need much more than just that message to be all in. There is no convincing necessary when it comes to helping a Veteran. I had no idea who it was or the situation, but when called, I was there, especially for a Veteran. I felt another door open was another opportunity to serve someone who gave so much to me. Who knew where it would lead me, but I did have a feeling of being thankful.

Michelle briefly described the effort OneNation Foundation was building for Fred Gutierrez and how I could help. Honestly, it didn’t matter to me who or what the situation was, but I could help a Veteran and give back. I didn’t even know or think about ever meeting Fred. My thinking was simple, and my focus was evident, as it usually is when it comes to helping people. I am not doing it for thanks or anything in return. RJ’s Mission Foundation is about giving back and serving others, especially Veterans.

Fred had been in a tragic car accident, and at the time, he was in recovery from massive injuries.


What I did not know about Fred was his past and situation up to that point in time. I knew Fred needed prayers and financial help. Michelle asked if I would help, and there was no question.

I finally met Fred, a moment of emotions I could not describe. I drove to Fred’s house without expectations or thoughts about how it would go. I always try to keep an open mind when meeting someone I can help.

Michelle and I walked in, and when I first saw Fred, I felt an emotion of awe. Fred has paralysis on his left side, and I was speechless when I saw that, knowing how bad his car accident was. I didn’t know the back story, but I felt a presence of determination, motivation, hope, and life. I sat down and listened to Fred tell me his story and what had happened, only to realize he had inspired me. Collaborating with OneNation Foundation opened a door for our mission to serve and support the HERO Golf Therapy Program.

From then on, I was invited to support the HERO Golf Therapy Program held monthly in Charleston. Hearing Fred’s story and seeing him at the golf clinic gave me even more time to serve and support other Veterans and First Responders. The call to help was a blessing that opened more chances to help our Veterans and beyond.

“I leave inspired and feeling in awe of all of them.”

Every month I go and hear their stories like Fred’s, and I leave inspired and feeling in awe of all of them. Meeting Fred Gutierrez has given me more drive and determination to be inspired. Fred is an inspiration, and anyone who knows him knows it too. He plays golf one-handed, and that is only the beginning. Fred’s friend, Rich O’Brien, and he have written a book about their experiences. And yes, I recommend reading their book because it will only encourage you to have hope.