Doing More in Cumming, Ga.

SPP Pumps founded Heroes First Foundation to help veterans and first-responders suffering from PTSD.

On an otherwise beautiful day at Stone Mountain Golf Club, a young man sits quietly with his back against a wall. He looks the picture of a military hero. Yet, as the crowd grows at the post-tournament dinner, he seems withdrawn. He focuses on the trained service dog that rests her head in his lap, offering reassurance. This soldier is one of the reasons nearly 300 golfers are assembled to raise money for a charity, the Heroes First Foundation. He and other soldiers like him suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

John Kahren, president and CEO of SPP Pumps, founded the Heroes First Foundation in 2009 to raise as much money as possible with a yearly golf outing to help support groups that provide services to first-responder and military families. “I have guys at work who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who, fortunately, came back relatively well. They told a lot of stories about their buddies who were not getting the support they needed back home. So, I decided to serve my country in a different way, by providing people with the resources they need,” Kahren explained. All the proceeds from the event go to the chosen charities. What’s more, employees from SPP Pumps volunteer at the event.

For the past three years, Paws4Vets has been the recipient of the proceeds. The organization provides therapy dogs to help vets with PTSD cope with their symptoms and rejoin the world. In 2013, the golf tournament raised $75,000 to contribute to this cause. Regions has been a sponsor of the tournament since it began. As John Kahren’s business banker, Rob Keith has been working to expand Regions’ role in Kahren’s business (including a real estate refinance loan and a line of credit for SPP Pumps) and is looking to help even more with the Heroes First Foundation.

“I’m happy to be able to say that Regions was a sponsor for the 2014 event (held on May 8),” Keith said.

“You can see a direct positive impact that is made for these veterans right at the tournament,” Kahren added. “I’m a small business owner, and I can’t do a lot, but I think about how much could be done if every small business did something.”

Clockwise from left: John Kahren, Rob Keith, veteran Jeff Mitchell and Tazie.