2023 GRANT RECIPIENTS
We are proud to announce the recipients of the first ever Sienna Hicks Gold Star Sibling Grant! Each recipient was awarded a $1,000 Grant to assist with tuition along with a Certificate.
The recipients are:
Lauren Williams honoring her brother Phillip Ryan Watson - U.S. Army National Guard
Harley Franson honoring her brother Trenton Franson - U.S. Marine Corps
Angela Hernandez honoring her brother Jason John Hernandez - U.S. Army
Rubi Galarza honoring her brother Vilmar Galarza Hernandez - U.S. Army
David Griffith honoring his brother Samuel Mark Griffith - U.S. Marine Corps
Delana Obenauer honoring her brother Ethan Lee Gander - U.S. Air Force
Jim Levulis honoring his brother John Joseph Levulis - U.S. Army
I was touched by each and every one of their stories in one way or another. I am so proud of what I have created and where these Gold Star Siblings are going with their journeys of life while grieving as well. Each of the recipients would like you to also get to know them a little. Down below are their "about me" sections in their own words along with some pictures to give you a glimpse of their stories.
THANK YOU BIG DAN
A special thank you to Big Dan of American Legion Post 574 in Hudson Falls NY!
Big Dan did a Gold Star Sibling Beard Challenge for me which raised and donated over $6,000 by challenging him to color his beard gold and add 22 gold stars for a month if he raised his goal of $5000. He exceeded that goal. He also helped me personally give out one of the Grants to our local recipient, Jim.
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT
Thank you so much to all who have helped make this dream a possibility. Each donation, small or big, allowed us to help these 7 individual Gold Star Siblings with tuition assistance. Thank you to the Legions, Legion Riders, Big Dan, and all the other organizations and individuals who helped make this dream a reality.
Thank you to my parents for pushing me to create this Grant and helping me stay on top of it. Without you both, I literally would not be here today or have made it this far.
Thank you to my Big Bro Macoy for always pushing me to better myself and keep fighting the good fight. Even though you're no longer here physically, you're still taking care of me and watching over me spiritually through my journey of life and grief. I miss you so much and it has been so difficult to keep going without you but I'm carrying on your legacy of helping others and that helps make each day a little lighter, even on the heaviest ones. I love you.
Our Vice President and Co-Founder had the amazing opportunity to share HicksStrong Inc.'s mission to save military lives and about the Broadalbin American Legion Post 337 Legion Riders annual charity ride this Saturday (Rain or Shine) Registration opens at 10AM Kickstands up at Noon.
Link to the interview:
Address: 19 North Main Street, Broadalbin, NY 12025
Come out and show your support for our troops as well as our mission to save military lives.
Proceeds will support mental health therapy for the nearly 70 service members in care.
Thank you WTEN !!
It can seem that every Christmas commercial showcases the perfect family having the perfect Christmas with smiling faces and fancy houses and presents in abundance. Meanwhile the commercial of our own lives often includes the arguments and frustration, the one family member that tends to start drama, the struggle to maintain a budget and the Turkey that is still frozen. The reality doesn’t sell products. So how do you cope? How do you find joy in the chaos?
Here’s a few simple tips that might help keep the merry in your holidays or at least keep the grinch at a distance.
1. Set reasonable expectations. Don’t pressure yourself to have the best of everything and that everything goes exactly according to your plan. Instead have a general idea of what will happen specific to what you will do and be okay with that. Others will do what they do - you can’t control that.
2. Plan what you can ahead of time. Last minute shopping and cooking and wrapping quickly can become overwhelming and frustrating. If you pace as many things as possible out over days and weeks those last few days won’t seem as stressful.
3. Create a budget and stick too it. Be honest with yourself about what you can afford and hold yourself accountable. Your stress will be lower when you are not worried about debt.
4. Focus on traditions and add new ones. Your children will likely not remember that toy under the tree but they will remember you reading a Christmas story as you snuggle under a blanket drinking cocoa. They will remember leaving cookies for Santa. They will remember times shared with you. Your love is the greatest gift.
5. Take breaks from the festivities - a walk, some flag football, or just a few moments of silence staring at the tree can calm the nerves.
6. Finally remember the meaning and focus on the love. In the end it is all that really matters.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and happy holiday season
The mental health team at HicksStrong
Are you interested in knowing how to “hack” Thanksgiving? Well you have come to the right
place! Holidays are time consuming and for many are very stressful! Here are some simple tips
on how to make the big day a breeze.
Hack it, How to:
1. Set the table the day before. This is always something my family did and it made life so
2. Prep your vegetables ahead of time. Slice, dice and chop away. Storing each in a container
so you can heat, dump and go.
- Need to turn it up a notch? Make them the day before but leave them a little firmer so when
you reheat them they are perfectly cooked.
3. Crock pots are a beautiful thing. You can make everything including the turkey in one of
4. Skip the potato peeler. Yes, potato skin of all potato varieties is perfectly edible and is a
great source of fiber. Just be sure to give them a scrub before you boil them. Smashed red
skinned garlic mash anyone? YUM.
5. If your friends and family are like mine, they are always asking what they can bring. A
great tip is to give everyone a dish to prepare. You take care of the bird and literally the rest
comes to you.
6. Make sure you bird is defrosted in time. Set alarm reminders on your phone to make sure
you put that bad boy in the refrigerator in time! The USDA recommend one day for every 4-5lbs
of weight. So if your turkey is 24lbs it will take about 6days to thaw. Now that’s a lot of turkey!!
Michael Hicks - Co-Founder HicksStrong Inc.
I had no idea what to expect this Veterans day weekend. All I knew was we had built a relationship with the NY Giants over this last year and we had secured a Hug Mug party with players and staff on Veterans day. We had 13 Volunteers of which 4 are veterans with us to help us set up and run the event. It was amazing to see the support in action. Everyone around us was getting the room set up it was like that scene in Fantasia where Mickey gets the whole room cleaning then it gets out of control... Well minus the out-of-control part. We have built a very well-oiled team of supporters to help keep our mission moving forward and we are so grateful.
Then out of the corner of my eye, I see Coach Brian Daboll and I realized ok this is happening. Before I knew it we were in full HicksStrong Hug Mug swing. Players were asking questions about what we do while they took time to paint a Hug Mug for a service member to receive just two days away from game day.
Shane Lemieux - OL, Daniel Jones - QB, Justin "Jelly" Ellis -DL, Ryder Anderson - DL, Stirling Shepard - WR and so many staff members painted HicksStrong Hug Mugs for our service members to remind them they are not alone.
Comments from Allison Stangeby: