MANNFORD, Okla. - Support and Honor Our Uniform Troops (SHOUT). That is the mission of Shout for America, Inc. in Mannford. Since October 2011, the non-profit organization has worked to provide assistance for military both domestic and overseas, active duty and veterans.
Along with sending care packages to those stationed abroad, SHOUT also takes care of local military families, while their loved ones are deployed.
Through its thrift store, located at 3632 S. Hwy 48, and donations from the community, the group is able to fund its efforts.
"This is not our business, it is our fundraiser," SHOUT vice-president Dixie Lee said. "It's not that we are here to sell everything; we are just here to help whoever needs help. "
When the wildfires hit the Mannford area last August, it left a lot of people without homes looking for help. In the midst of the devastation, SHOUT was also impacted. Their entire thrift store was lost in the fire – donations, military addresses, everything.
But that did not stop the organization from continuing its mission.
"We always help the community," said SHOUT president Ron Jones. "Our first priority is our military then our community."
SHOUT continued to take in donations for not only military families and veterans, but also wildfire victims and displaced resident. Members moved their cars out of their garages, while others rearranged space in their homes and businesses to hold the donations.
"A lot of people got burned out," Jones said. "Our main goal has always been to help anyone we can. We were just one of many trying to do our part."
While SHOUT was working to help the community, the community was working to give back to SHOUT. In December, the non-profit received two anonymous donations totaling $10,000.
In April, SHOUT was able to open its doors once again
The new building is about 100 square feet smaller than the last.
"Before the fires in August, our store was about four times larger than it is now," Jones said.
But that has not slowed them down.
"We started right were we back where we were before, doing the same things, and actually times more than what we were doing before. Through the kindness and goodness of the community our business has doubled since we have been open in April."
And members say, as people continue to recover from last August's fires, the need is greater than ever.
"It's really changed a lot of people's lives," Jones said. "I think a lot of people are starting to get caught up."
It is because of that need that SHOUT continues to reach out to the Mannford community and surrounding areas.
"Because everything in this facility is donated by the community and surrounding communities we feel an obligation to help take care of them also, because they are trying to help us take care of the military and in turn we help take care of them also," Jones said.
SHOUT continues to help its veterans and military families, like Darian Varnell.
No matter what the situation, SHOUT has found a way to support and honor those in need."
"It's amazing the kindness and the good heart the people in Oklahoma and in this area have."