Warrior Bonfire Program provides opportunities that improve the lives of enemy combat-wounded veterans-Purple Heart recipients-on their lifelong journey of recovery and healing. We create activity-based, small group retreats that foster healing, build support communities, and transform lives. We place warriors, wounded in combat with others of a similar experience, in a stress free, safe and secure settings designed to help our Purple Hearts become better individuals, discover their post service purpose, and encourage building strong family and community relationships. We conclude each retreat with an official American Flag Retirement Ceremony which helps our veterans to move past the stage of survivors' guilt by giving them the opportunity to name, honor and memorialize their fallen brothers and sisters. Ashes from each Bonfire are collected and combined with the next Bonfire. Fallen heroes never forgotten.
The vision of the Warrior Bonfire Program began to form in the mind of our founder, Dan Fordice, as he often looked for ways to serve and help his fellow veterans who suffered from injuries physically, mentally and emotionally. Dan served for a total of 13 years between the U.S. Army and the Mississippi National Guard and it is truly his passion to find resources and connections to relieve any possible obstacle. Dan found himself in a conversation with SFC (RET. USA) Charles Gregory Williams, who sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury when a Rocket Propelled Grenade struck and exploded a 50 Cal ammunition box two feet from his head and was later medically retired in November 2011 for wounds received while in combat. Greg commented that he could spend a full day with a PhD certified counselor and not come close to the therapeutic value of sitting around a bonfire with five or six guys who were there. Dan quickly responded, "We will provide the bonfire!" Finding this new purpose to fulfill his passion, Dan with the help of his brother Hunter Fordice, also a Veteran, began putting in place the structure to build environments that would be most beneficial to our Purple Heart recipients. On the eve of December 30, 2012, Dan organized a small event with family and friends on the bank of the Mississippi River, announced his plans, and performed an official American Flag Retirement ceremony. Among those were the first volunteers and donors and it was then that the Warrior Bonfire Program was ignited. From here the primary mission formed to build retreats from donated resources and the program discovered there was a natural secondary mission. Bridging the gap between the military and civilian worlds did not only help the Purple Hearts but offered a way for civilians to serve and gain a better understanding of the need.
"The Bonfire saved my life. Not only has it kept me alive, but it has shown me that my life has purpose and magnitude. WBP has made my life worth living again, showing me and my family a humbling amount of love, care and understanding." ~
Marcus M., Purple heart Recipient
"This was a no-bull, care about the individual type program. It wasn't designed for some media stunt but actually understood to gather likeminded veterans doing things together in the outdoors. It took my mind off the want to drink heavily and surround me with other hardened dudes that went through and continue to go through the same experiences as myself. I'd recommend to all vets who legitimately struggle with the changes of after service life." ~
Undisclosed Purple Heart Recipient
"This has been the best therapy based organizations out there today. Beats a civilian shrink, when surrounded by seasoned vets." - Jesse C., Purple Heart Warrior