This week I had the privilege of speaking with Derek Reiss of Hampton. Derek volunteers with the Skate for the 22 Foundation, a non-profit helping veterans through hockey!
When I asked Derek why he decided to stay, work, and play in New Hampshire, he said “That’s easy, I love the state! I love our way of life here. The hard part is picking just one, or a couple of reasons. I work here because I’ve become spoiled by it. I have been fortunate to be able to make a great living in New Hampshire. And let’s face it, commuting in our state beats commuting to our neighbors down south. I even have time to stop at Blue Harbor Coffee right in Hampton and enjoy my commute.”
When Derek isn’t working, he is out enjoying all that New Hampshire has to offer from the ocean to the mountains. In the winter you can find him at the hockey rink- coaching, broadcasting or playing or at one of our great mountains snowboarding. In the summer, he and his wife, Jessica, enjoy North Beach, and listen to live music at the Sea Shell Stage and the Casino Ballroom. Some of their favorite spots to grab a beverage and great food are Bogies at Depot Square, The 401 Tavern, and North Beach Bar & Grill.
A few years ago, Derek combined his love for hockey and appreciation for veterans, and joined the Skate for the 22 organization. Derek was recently honored by the organization with the “Locker Room Hero” award, an award voted on by his peers for his passion and efforts.
Things you should know about Skate for the 22:
- They are NOT a hockey organization. They are a suicide prevention organization that uses hockey (and sometimes other avenues) to give veterans a sense of belonging, through being part of a bigger community. Many veterans miss that community once returning home from service.
- Each day 22 U.S Military veterans die by suicide.
- Ice time is provided at no cost to the veteran athletes.
- When the organization’s President and Founder started Skate for the 22, there were eighteen veteran athletes. They now have over 300 throughout New England (and beyond!).
- The organization is open to all skill levels. They have veteran players that have played at high levels in college, players that are just learning how to skate later in life, and those that are picking up their skates and sticks for the first time.
- The Granite State Cannons, Skate for the 22’s NH team, is named for the state’s artillery history.
- Skate for the 22 not only brings veterans together who play hockey, it brings families together, and has created new friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime.
When I asked Derek what advice he would give young professionals looking to give back he said:
Find something that you’re passionate about, something that means something to you. There are many ways that you can give back, and you’ll be at your best if it’s something that you love. It doesn’t always have to be monetary. Your time is valuable. If you’re willing to give some of your time, it will be appreciated by those that you are giving it to.”
There are so many wonderful people and agencies making a difference in our own backyards!