Outside The Huddle: Lettermen of the USA
By WVUA-23 Sports Reporter Jason Williams
On April 27, 2011, three tornadoes rampaged through the city of Tuscaloosa causing significant damage to areas near the University of Alabama campus.
Former Alabama linebacker Darryl Fuhrman felt called to action, wanting to help in relief efforts. But he needed a plan.
Fuhrman’s friend, former UAB football player Byron De’Vinner, suggested a charity basketball game involving former Alabama, Auburn, and UAB players.
“LOL Byron. We’re football players. Let’s play a football game,” Fuhrman responded.
The game, the Alumni Day Flag Football Game, raised $150,000 for the Governors Emergency Relief Fund.
That experience inspired Fuhrman’s new mission. He founded Lettermen of the USA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping military veterans.
In 2022, the Lettermen of the USA has six programs to assist veterans:
-Autographs for Heroes
-Utilities for Heroes
-Labtops for Heroes
-Homes for Heroes
-Interiors for Heroes
-Wheels for Heroes
-Taking Care of our Own
There’s a common theme – five of the six programs contain the word ‘heroes’. Fuhrman says that is by design.
“That came about from working in Alberta City with military veterans who had just gotten home from Afganastan,” Fuhrman said. “I’ll never forget what (one of the veterans) said to me that day – as we were getting to know each other – he says, ‘Mr. Fuhrman, you’re my hero. You wore the Crimson and White’.
“I said, ‘you’re my hero. You wore the Red, White, and Blue. What are you talking about’.
“That’s when it dawned on me, this is what we need to be doing.”
Since 2012, the Letterman of the USA has given out 450 autographed footballs to military veterans, through its Autographs for Heroes program. The program has helped a veteran in all 50 states.
More recently, the Lettermen of the USA has begun furnishing apartments for military veterans through it’s Interiors for Heroes program, which Fuhrman says gives his group the opportunity to helps the vets that need our help the most.
“(The program) takes the heroes that have been homeless. They have been vetted,” Fuhrman said. “They have their DD-214 which means that they’ve been honorably discharged.
“And then once they get through this program (through the VA and the Salvation Army) to hopefully allow them to not become homeless anymore, we get them and they get an apartment that usually has nothing in it — and we come and we outfit it with everything that they need.”
The Lettermen of the USA has completed 16 “Interiors for Heroes” projects, and Fuhrman says there are 16 more “on the books” to complete in the near future.
For more information on the Lettermen of the USA, and ways to volunteer and donate, visit their website: www.lotusa.org