Helping Hands for Freedom is a 501c3 dedicated to supporting the families of the fallen, wounded and deployed.

Helping Hands for Freedom gives youth a look at military boot-camp

Posted October 19, 2015 by Jaclyn Clark

GREENWOOD, IN – For the third consecutive year, Helping Hands for Freedom gave children from Central Indiana an inside look at what goes into making a military service member during its annual boot camp for children.

The event, which was held at Knotts Farm in Greenwood, provided children the opportunity to provide in various activities, including: rope climbing, obstacle course, wall climb, firearms training and military crawl.

This year’s event featured 26 kids, including Shelby country resident, Cody Beal, who earned the Top Gun distinction and was All-Around Champion.  Cody Beal is the surviving son of the late Indiana State Trooper, Jason Beal, who died in the line of duty. 

Over the last three years, a total of 146 children have gone through the camp.  Helping Hands for Freedom CEO, Darin Fishburn, said the boot camp provides an interesting opportunity for children and their parents.  “The reason we do boot camp is that these children want to talk to their parents and be like them and see what they went through.  When they don’t make it home, they don’t get that opportunity, so we throw a mini boot camp so the children can walk in their parents’ shoes.  They will also inherit weapons and we don’t want them to have an accident.  We can educate them on gun safety and instructions so they will be prepared when old enough.”  Fishburn said.

Helping Hands for Freedom was created by co-founder, Patrick Shannon, a Shelby county resident, who earned his Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service in both the U.S. Marine Corp and U.S. Army.  The mission of Helping Hands for Freedom, a non-profit, is to help military families dealing with death, loss, and deployment.  Helping Hands for Freedom helps with basic expenses during the families’ times of transition, including assisting those severely wounded in need of equipment or housing modifications.  HHFF offers life enrichment programs, mentorship, and counseling for children. 

Helping Hands for Freedom is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports military children & families facing injury, loss, and multiple deployments. You can learn more about us at


*** Picture Information: Waldron resident, Cody Beal, left, earned the Top Gun honor and the All-Around champion distinction during Saturday’s Helping Hands for Freedom boot camp for children.  Joining Beal is Helping Hands for Freedom co-founder, Patrick Shannon, who lives in Shelby County. ***