GIVING BACK: Operation Hat TrickBlog
February 16, 2023
Each issue, the editorial staff of Military Embedded Systems will highlight a different charitable organization that benefits the military, veterans, and their families. We are honored to cover the technology that protects those who protect us every day.
This issue we are highlighting Operation Hat Trick (OHT), an organization that seeks to generate awareness of and support for the recovery of wounded service members and veterans through the sale of OHT products. The charity was started in 2008 at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) following the combat deaths of two Navy SEALS connected to UNH, Nate Hardy and Mike Koch. Inspired by UNH’s longstanding hockey tradition, founder Dot Sheehan launched OHT, donating hats to Veterans Administration medical centers and selling them locally.
While the organization began by giving hats to service members with head and brain injuries, it expanded in 2012 into selling branded merchandise and products – hats and outdoor gear – and using the proceeds to support the recovery of service members and veterans. The 501(c)3 nonprofit now works with colleges and universities, athletic leagues, companies, and fans across the U.S. to help active-duty military and veterans as it raises money to fund carefully selected – typically smaller – military-support organizations. According to information from OHT, the brand and mission has been used by more than 500 colleges and universities in all 50 states, 130 high schools, 20 National Hockey League teams, 85 Minor League baseball teams, 13 NBA teams, and more than 100 companies. It reports that the organization has donated more than $3.5 million since 2014 to selected military and veteran organizations. It focuses on filling some critical gaps in care for military personnel and veterans, including such things as adaptive equipment for amputees; service dogs; shoes for prosthetic legs; critical care; and emergency rent, heating oil, or car payments.
It also provides a cabin for a veterans’ summer camp; sponsors hunting, fishing, and skiing trips for vets; and endows a bed in a substance-abuse center solely for veterans needing help with substance abuse.
For additional information, please visit https://operationhattrick.org/.