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Veterans Support Council, Inc.

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Hoosier Heroes Appreciation Day, Inc. (HHAD) is an Indiana Non-Profit Corporattion

Domain Names: HoosierHeroesAppreciationDay.com & HoosierHoroes.net

This page is updated as our event comes together.  Last updated 23Jan23 at 1255.

Hoosier Heroes Appreciation Day

(Formally the Mayors' Veterans Appreciation Day for 9 Years)

Saturday the 16th of September 2023 at White River State Park

Honoring our Veterans, Military & First Responders

Our First Responders include, but are not limited to our;
Police, Sheriffs, Firefighters, EMS, Doctors, Nurses, Care Givers

A Day to Show our Appreciation for their Heroic Service
and Commitment to Community and Country.

For 9 Years, the Mayors’ Veterans Appreciation Day has honored our Veterans and our Military with an Appreciation Day event with their families.  In 2023 our new format will be held on Saturday the 16th of September 2023 at the White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis.  In 2023, our 10th Annual event (after three years off), honoring our Veterans and Military, will also honor Indiana’s First Responders.  We are also expanding our reach from just Marion County to all of Central Indiana.

We are now looking for Volunteers, Vendors, Suppliers, and Sponsors.  We will need help to pull it all together to produce a great event honoring our Veterans, Military & First Responders, and their families.  If you are interested in being on the Organizing Committee for this event, please complete one of our “Sign-Up” forms.

      Mayor Joe Hogsett, Don Hawkins, Dennis Wimer, Matt Hall & Gordon Smith Ponytail's cars at Garfield Park General Umbarger, Don Hawkins & General Goodwin Bounce House ate Garfield Park Mobile Vet Van Custom Car Show at 2019 Mayors Event Don Hawkins opening speaker at the Mayors' Veterans Appreciation Day event Motorcycle at 2019 Mayors' Event Jill Fewell & WWII Veteran  
Don Hawkins Accepting Certification of Appreciation from Mayor Hogsett Heather Harvey, Don Hawkins, Karlee Macer, Gordon Smith & Dave Bechtel Brianna Holt & Don Hawkins 85 Vendors in the Marion County Fairgrounds 4-H Building

Proposal for a 16th September 2023 Event
Hoosier Heroes Appreciation Day
To Show Thanks to our Veterans, Military & First Responders
to be held at the White River State Park

Dear Veteran, Military & First responder Supporter:

Hello, my name is Don Hawkins, and I am the Co-Chairman of The Mayors’ Advisory Council for Veterans (MACV) and the President of Veterans Support Council, Inc. (VSC).  Our group has promoted the Mayors’ Veterans Appreciation Day event for nine (9) years in a row, starting in 2011.  MACV-VSC did not have an event in 2020-2021 & 2022 because of the COVID-19 virus.  Beginning in 2023, we are changing the event’s name to “Hoosier Heroes Appreciation Day” (HHAD), which will include the acknowledgment and appreciation for our First Responders for apparent reasons.

This information aims to inform you and your organization of the below proposal.  At this time, no one has agreed to do anything in writing. This information is just a fact-finding proposal to find out who is interested or who is not interested in working with VSC on this project.  We are also looking for your suggestions or criticism of this proposal.

This Hoosier Heroes Appreciation Day event would celebrate all of Indiana’s Veterans, Active-Duty Military, and First Responders such as; Police Officers, Sheriffs, Firefighters & EMS personnel, Doctors, Nurses, Care Givers, etc.  It would be a FREE event for all our Hoosier Heroes and their families.  In our opinion, the men and women who work for these organizations are the true Heroes in our Hoosier State that must be acknowledged and celebrated annually to let them know we appreciate them. 

This project will take an enormous effort, with several groups working together to recognize and support our Hoosier Heroes and their families.  With all the resources within the Indianapolis area, it should be no problem if we have the desire to show our Hoosier Heroes our support and appreciation.

Date: Saturday the 16th of September in 2023 – Personally, I would like to see the third Saturday of each September be an Official Day for our Hoosier Heroes Appreciation Event. 

Place: White River State Park because of its existing facilities and central location.  Plus, it would be an excellent opportunity to spotlight Indiana’s great new facility in Downtown Indy..

Times: From 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM 

What areas of the State should we invite: All

Who is welcome to attend: Everyone will be welcome to attend.  Different color Arm bands will be issued to our Military, Veterans and First Responders at the check-in area to identify those that are entitled for their FREE food, entertainment, drawings, etc.   

Proposed Supporters & Sponsors:

1)  Veterans Support Council & MACV

2)  State of Indiana

3)  City of Indianapolis

4)  IN Department of Veterans Affairs

5)  IN Department of Workforce Development

6)  Marion County Sheriff’s Department

7)  Indianapolis Police Department

8)  Indianapolis Fire Department

9)  Indianapolis EMS

10) Veteran Support Groups – American Legion, DAV, VFW, National Guard, etc.

11) Branches of Military Service

12) Indy Sports Teams

Still looking for Suggestions on this topic

We would invite all:

1)  Components of our Active/ Guard and Reserve Military Services (City, State & Federal)

  • Veterans Organizations
  • Veterans Service Organizations
  • Veterans Service Providers

2)  Components of our Fire Departments

  • Firefighters
  • Firefighters Service Providers

3)  Components of our Police Departments

  • City & County Police Officers
  • Sheriffs
  • State Police
  • Police Service Providers

4)  Components of our EMS

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Caregivers
  • Ambulance services
  • EMS Service Providers

Proposed Events for the Day:

Instead of putting all these events on from scratch, we would try to get existing shows and events to change their booking dates to our event date if possible.  For events like the motorcycle ride, car show, concerts & gun show they use to bring in money, we would negotiate some type of income sharing if necessary.  Still open to suggestions here.

1)  A program celebrating our Hoosier Heroes (Speakers, Acknowledgments, Accomplishments, Awards, etc.)

2)  FREE lunch for the Heroes and their Families before & during the program 

3)  Other food vendors with other food and drinks for sale would also be available

4)  Vendors and Service Providers that offer goods, services, benefits, and ???

5)  Workshops on learning what others are doing

6)  Free Concert (big name, country-patriot) in the evening or late afternoon

7)  A couple of local bands playing throughout the day

8)  Job / Career Fair

9)  Gun & Knife show ???

10) Playground & games for the kids on the Washington St bridge on the way to the Zoo

11) Car, Truck & Motorcycle Show

12) Motorcycle Ride

13) Competitive activities

14) Sports Celebrities, Cheerleaders & Mascots (football, baseball, hockey, soccer, etc.) for the kids

15) Entertainment and events for the kids (games, bounce houses, sports, etc.)

16) POW/MIA Program

17) Door Prizes all-day

18) We will be developing Hoosier Heroes Appreciation Awards for each group

19) We are asking national groups that help Veterans and first Responders like tunnel 4 Towers, Wonunded Wariers, Folds of Honor, etc. to participate in our event

Who is on our Email List:

Eric Holcomb, Governor of the State of Indiana (via Samuel Frain)
Joe Hogsett, Mayor of the City of Indianapolis
Vop Islip, President, Indianapolis City Council
Sheena Linville, City of Indianapolis, Director of Veterans Affairs
Dennis Weimer, Director of the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs
Jake Oakman, President, White River State Park
Laura Dowling, White River State Park, Director of Outdoor Events
Dennis Buckley, Mayor of Beech Grove
Steve Collier, Mayor of Lawrence
Jim Cooney, Mayor of Southport
Grant Kleinhenz, Town Manager of Speedway
Stewart Goodwin, Executive Director, IN Memorials Commission
Stephen Cox, Executive Director, Indiana Homeland Security
Randall Taylor, Chief, Indianapolis Police Department (IMPD)
Jerry Martin, Chief, Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD)
Dan O’Donnell, M.D., Chief of Indianapolis Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Will should also include Hospital Staff members (Doctors, Nurses, etc.)
Kerry Forestal, Sheriff of Marion County
John Dieter, Marion County Sheriff, Community Outreach
Richard Leier, IN State Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars
Hugh Dagley, Adjutant, American Legion
Kevin Coley, State Adjutant, Disabled American Veterans
R. Dale Lyles, Adjutant General, Indiana National Guard
Mike Stern, Executive Director, National Guard Association
Gonzales Callaway, Commander, AMVETS
Bob Lee, Commandant, Marine Corps League
Larry Shaw, President, Vietnam Veterans of America
Jill Fewell, President of Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans
Buzz Smith, Easterseals Crossroads
Jeffrey Harrison, President & CEO, Citizens Energy
Rafael Sanchez, WRTV

All Officers & Directors of VSC
All Executive Committee Members of MACV 

Volunteers of VSC-MACV that help with Special Projects

We will be adding additional names as our progress progresses

Vendor’s Tables (will be available for a minimum table & chair fee):

Any organizations that offer benefits, goods, services, support,& benefits to our Hoosier Heroes and their families will be invited to participate if they want to share their resources and information at our event.

1)  Government – Federal, State & Local

2)  For Profit business

3)  Non-Profit organizations

Corporate Sponsors & Donors (we would put out a book/program with sponsors ads like the American Legion does every year):

1)  Banks

2)  Utilities

3)  TV & Radio Stations

4)  Auto Dealers

5)  Supermarkets

6)  Pharmaceutical

7)  Beer & Wine Distributors

8)  Building Supply Companies

9)  Soft Drink Distributors

Still looking for Suggestions on this topic

As we hear from the above organizations, we will add more information on any suggestions or ideas they/you may want to add. 

For additional information on MACV, please visit https://www.veterans.ooo/macv.html 

For additional information on VSC, please visit https://www.veterans.ooo/vsc.html 

For additional information on Hoosier Heroes Appreciation Day, please visit www.HoosierHeroesAppreciationDay.com or www.HoosierHeroes.net 

We have incorporated the name “Hoosier Heroes Appreciation Day, Inc.” (HHAD) as a non-profit Indiana Corporation.  It is 100% owned by Vetereans Support Council, Inc. (VSC), the organization responsible for raising the monies for the Mayors’ Veterans Appreciation Day event for the last five (5) years. 

We have also secured the web addresss www.HoosierHeroesAppreciationDay.com & www.HoosierHeroes.net which is currently directed to a separate page on our website.  As this project develops, we will post that information on that web page.  

Please call me at 317-632-0500 or email me at Hawkins@Veterans.ooo with any ideas or suggestions you may have. 


Don Hawkins
President of VSC & CoChair of MACV

For Medical or Physical Emergencies:

  • New - dial 988 - By dialing 988 your call will be immediately routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
    • The current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) is always available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched nationally.,
  • If you or someone you are helping is hurt or in imminent danger, please get to a phone and dial 9-1-1 for immediate help.
  • If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or facing a crisis, dial 2-1-1 in Indy or 1-(866) 211-9966 for immediate help.
  • If you are a victim of domestic violence, dial 1-(800) 332-7385 in Indy for help.

For Non-Emergencies:

  • If you are a Veteran, or a family member of a Veteran, in search of information on how to get goods or services you/they may need, you can dial 2-1-1 or contact one of the Service Providers or Veterans Organizations listed on our "Resources" page.
  • Cellphone users in Marion County may now dial 3-1-1 to reach the non-emergency line for IMPD and other Marion County dispatchers. The non-emergency phone number for callers using landlines is (317) 327-3811.

Please Note:

  • VSC & MACV are not providers of any financial assistance or direct services other than Information and Referrals on where to get goods, services, programs, and benefits for Veterans, the Military, and their families.


  • This is a private website and is NOT affiliated with any U.S. government or U.S. Armed Forces agencies.
  • We reserve the right to monitor the content of this website and regret that some suggested or recommended resources may not be accepted for one reason or another.
  • The information and organizations listed on this website do not necessarily mean that we endorse their information, data, or their resources.  We have done our best to include information and resources that benefit our Veterans, the Military Community, and their Families.

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