First responders risk their physical health to protect us. We need to protect their mental health. Every time you raise a glass of Hero Beer, you’re raising money – because all Hero Beer proceeds provide free trauma counseling for these brave men and women.
Hero beer is a unique partnership between Parkland Cares and 26 Degree Brewing Company, a craft brewery in Pompano Beach that’s producing this limited-time lager. Over the summer, 26 Degrees co-owner Yonathan Ghersi suffered a stroke while at work. His staff called paramedics, who rushed Ghersi to the hospital in under six minutes – and saved his life.
Yonathan is giving back like he knows best: By brewing beer.
“I almost died in my brewery,” Yonathan says, “so it seems only right to use this brewery to give back to those who saved me – and who save so many others.”
Parkland Cares executive director Stacey Udine was moved by Yonathan’s story, so Parkland Cares will fund personalized mental health counseling for any first responder who wants and needs it.
“When we launched Parkland Cares days after the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, we thanked the first responders who rushed to the crime scene and cared for the survivors,” Stacey says. “We later learned that the tragedy took its toll on those first responders, too. They just don’t like to talk about it. Well, we decided to talk about it – and do something about it. They deserve that and more.”
From the beginning, Parkland Cares founder Howard Dvorkin has insisted his nonprofit not only have a unique mission – no one else raises money for such trauma counseling – but also raises money in unique ways. Hero Beer really appeals to him.
“Our mission is a serious one, although we hope the outcomes are happy ones,” says Howard, chairman of Debt.com. “It might seem incongruous to raise money for such a serious cause by having fun, but that’s what life is all about: Triumphing over adversity. When we get together, it’s not to forget those who are suffering, it’s to celebrate our efforts to help them overcome. And I love the idea of helping the people whose career is helping us. It feels really good to return the favor in some small way.”
When: Saturday, Feb. 4, from 2-6 p.m.
Where: 26 Degree Brewing Company, 2600 E Atlantic Blvd, Pompano Beach, FL
Cost: Free entertainment and food trucks available, $6 per draft, $9.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans