The Northern Colorado area has long been familiar with Vets4Life, an organization that was known for empowering local veterans and their families through a variety of community-based programs.

Now, the non-profit has rebranded to become Health4Heroes. Despite a new name, the mission of the organization remains the same — except that it now includes first responders.

"We used to be Vets4Life, serving only veterans and their families," said Mary Scott, co-founder and vice-chairman of Health4Heroes, in our "Tuned In to NoCo" interview. "And that was a mission that we were very dedicated to, but we decided to kind of step up to an even greater responsibility, in light of some recent decisions and observations out in the community and in our country, to really support the veterans, but also the first responder community and their families."

Scott started Health4Heroes with Nick Dunagan, an OEF U.S. Army combat veteran who served in Afghanistan. Along with the addition of first responders, the pair is also adding a variety of new programs to the organization.

These include recreational and fitness activities, community events, community services projects, daytime educational workshops, overnight integrative retreats, and more.

The programs, especially the retreats, are imperative to the wellbeing of first responders and veterans like Johnathon Philpott, a local veteran who has found a greater sense of community since joining the non-profit.

"Health4Heroes is a way for me to connect with other veterans and kind of share in that camaraderie that I used to have when I was active," said Philpott. "Now that I'm out, it's really helpful to have other vets around to share stories with....that's something that most people that just work 9 to 5 don't really understand."

While Philpott considers himself lucky to be able to rely on his family, other veterans and first responders are not as fortunate when it comes to dealing with the struggles of serving in a high-risk environment. In fact, Scott noted that suicide rates are increasing in both communities.

However, she made it clear that Health4Heroes does not consider these communities to be broken. Rather, the non-profit aims to encourage them to take command of their own health, in order to foster the strength that they already possess.

Get involved with Health4Heroes, or help the organization continue its mission with a donation, here. 

Learn more about Health4Heroes by listening to the full "Tuned In to NoCo" interview with Mary Scott and Johnathan Philpott below.

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