Cody Almeida was only 11 years old when he became an advocate and supporter for our nation’s most severely injured Veterans. After watching the movie Saving Private Ryan with his father Gabriel, Cody became interested in the hardships Veterans face. A few days later, driving through the center of their hometown in Taunton, Mass., Cody spotted the HFOT office. He asked his father what it was about, so they decided to stop in.
The visit provided all Cody needed to know about joining the organization’s mission. He began selling HFOT gear every weekend at his family’s restaurant, Daybreak Café in West Bridgewater, Mass. Now 18, Cody has raised more than $10,000 for the organization. The restaurant employees also help spread the word about the organization’s mission by wearing HFOT t-shirts, and every invoice the business issues bears HFOT’s logo.
On a recent morning, a Veteran who dined at Daybreak was so impressed with Cody’s efforts he left a $1,000 tip.
As an added bonus, he also left a message for Cody that says, “You give me hope that my service was not in vain and I know the men and women you help with your cause feel the same.”
Cody, surprised by the gesture, knew without hesitation what he wanted to do with the money – donate it to HFOT. “It uplifted my entire day,” Cody says.
Gabriel says his son’s efforts have all been on his own. “It makes you feel proud as a parent,” he says.
As for his future plans, Cody promises to continue his fundraising efforts for HFOT. He hopes his story will inspire other young Americans. “It’s important Veterans know their job was not in vain,” he says.