ST. LOUIS, Mo. – As we reflect and honor those no longer with us who served our country, so we can be free, it’s also important to look at those still with us, carrying the torch to honor veterans and their families. 

“We know what we are willing to die for, but what are we willing to live for, we need to live a life worthy of their sacrifice,” said Mike LeBlanc, founder of STL Veteran said.

That’s exactly what he is doing with STL Veteran.

Veteran Mike LeBlanc said he has the honor of carrying the weight to make sure veterans are taken care of as they transition out of active duty. 

“I saw a big need in the veteran community in St. Louis, it’s a bit segmented as most big cities are, it’s the young vs the old, those vs them,” LeBlanc said.

So, he filed the need, by creating STL Veteran.

“It’s a combination of community, small business, with a little veteran spice,” LeBlanc said.

STL Veteran is a wholesome, family-friendly group and an alternative for veterans, without a bar.

“One of the biggest problems that Veterans face is the lack of availability for information that they need to better themselves, sustain a healthy life, and grow after the military,” STLVeteran’s website says. “Not all Veterans need these resources, but that is simply because all Veterans are not the same. Some Veterans have different experiences in the military, before, after, and all of it can equate to a unique situation that leaves many feeling hopeless, alone, and without opportunity for a better future. We will not let this stand, and will spend our focus on addressing this issue, giving Veterans, their communities, and their families and friends the tools and resources to retain healthy relationships and thrive.”

“The goal is to get everybody on the same page and have a centralized reporting and identification and calendar system so everyone knows what’s going on,” LeBlanc added.

The organization is still in the development period, but it is something LeBlanc wishes he had when he got out of active duty in 1974. The group is already growing tremendously, with monthly meetups, family get-togethers and a database of veteran-friendly companies and groups.

One of the businesses involved is Fore Honor Golf and Event Center. 

“STL Veteran is so important because we need more community organizations that have a home,” Andrea Politte, founder and owner of  Fore Honor Golf and Event Center in House Springs.

It’s the first of its kind honor golf course. The only one in the world.

“We honor those who serve by waving their green fees every day and in doing that we want them to come out and get the ecotherapy which is so naturally abundant in this beautiful vista,” Politte said.

She founded Fore Honor, in honor of her son who served.

“Whenever he starting serving his tours of war, I saw the changes in him that come from PTS, and TBI and I could see these changes and I said you know what, we need to honor and respect all the people who put the life on their line and serves,” Politte said.

Now, each business with common goals of honoring and helping those who have served, and their families, have a place to connect through STL Veteran

“One thing we learned in the military if we are all by ourselves, we have no strength, its strength as a unit, strength of people pulling together,” LeBlanc said.