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At Warrior Foundation Freedom Station, we’re inspired every single day by the military heroes we serve. Meet Mike Spivey, a retired Marine Sergeant turned Paralympian, who shows us what it means to be unstoppable. Mike was among the first warriors to live at Freedom Station I. Today, he is happily married, a proud homeowner, and successful competitive snowboarder. Read our interview with Mike below and learn how you can help him reach his dream of competing in the 2022 Winter Paralympics!

WFFS: You were one of the first residents to move into Freedom Station in 2011, shortly after being injured in Afghanistan. What is your favorite memory about living there?

Mike: Whether it was having barbeques outside or getting together in someone’s cottage, we had dinner together almost every night. Many of the residents at the time were from the same unit. We fed off each other’s energy and pushed each other to do more – get in the gym, go golfing, get out of the house and enjoy nature. We were also able to talk to each other about the difficult things we’d all just experienced. The more you talk about it, the more you bring it to the surface, so you can process it and deal with it. That camaraderie was so important.

WFFS: You discovered snowboarding during a trip to Colorado and it quickly became a passion of yours. What is it about the sport that you love so much?

Mike: Being on a snowboard feels like freedom. When I’m around big crowds, it’s sensory overload. There are so many variables, and you can’t control what’s happening or what’s going to happen. On the mountain, everything else goes away. Even though I’m still aware of the periphery, I know what I can control and fully focus on my task. I also loved having the competition aspect back in my life. Snowboarding is like getting ready for a mission – there are guys right next to you who give you something to strive for – shave off a second here, make a faster turn, have a cleaner run, or reach a certain ranking. Unlike surfing or golfing, which I do to slow down and relax, I love the speed and adrenaline of snowboarding

WFFS: You’ve just launched a fundraising campaign toward your goal of competing in the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing. What would it mean to you to make it there?

Mike: It would mean everything to me. If I was 20, I would pursue snowboarding for another 20 years, with dreams of making it to the Paralympics five or six times. That is the goal for this sport, and being able to live a life that you love is one everyone hopes to achieve one day. But with me being 39, it would be the pinnacle of my career and represent my retirement as well. All of the hard work and effort I put in for the past 5-6 years has really led up to this moment. It would also be a turning point. I’ll be done with competitive snowboarding after this, especially with all the other things I want to accomplish career-wise. I would be shifting gears to work toward supporting the next generation of adaptive athletes.

WFFS: What’s next for you? What are your future goals?

Mike: In between race seasons, I’ve been taking CNC machining classes at a vocational school. My goal is to become a machinist in the automotive industry, working either in San Diego or Colorado. I have my basic certification and will be working on my advanced certification next, which has been slightly delayed due to the pandemic. I hope to complete my robotics certification by 2022. My dream is to operate the robotic arms in manufacturing plants. I’m missing a hand, so I love the idea of working with giant robotic arms!

On the personal side, I’m committed to nurturing the next generation of up-and-coming adaptive athletes and preserving the sport of snowboarding. I’d love to create something similar to Freedom Station up in Colorado for adaptive athletes. The racing season costs about $40,000 a year. Housing will cost you $15,000 if you have a roommate, or $20,000 - $24,000 on your own. If you’re a young Paralympian or hopeful, it’s really tough to come up with that kind of money. If we could open up a housing residence, we could cut that cost in half. Athletes wouldn’t have to rent expensive houses or apartments during peak season.

WFFS: You’re an inspiration to many people, having endured a lot of hardship to get to where you are today. What gave you the strength to persevere, even when times were tough? Do you have any advice for people who are chasing their dreams?

Mike: The support of all the friends I’ve made over the years gave me the strength I needed. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this. There were people who were always there, whom I could always count on. They shared so many nuggets of wisdom and knowledge with me. The programs put in place by nonprofits like Warrior Foundation Freedom Station, and their support, were also important in helping me reach my goals.

Mindset matters. If you look for a problem, you’re going to find one. If you look for a solution, you’re going to find that too - it just might not be as obvious or easy to see and do. There will always be things that initially hold you back, whether it’s money, physical abilities or pure self-doubt. Be stubborn. Don’t give up. Remember the reason that you started your dream is to have fun and enjoy life while doing something that you’re passionate about.

To donate to Mike’s campaign and help him reach the 2022 Winter Paralympics, visit




Employee matching gifts are donations an employer makes to match its employees' charitable contributions to eligible nonprofit organizations.  Employee matching gifts often are dollar-for-dollar, but some companies will double or even triple the size of your original donation.

Please contact your human resources or community giving department to find out if your employer has a matching gift program and how to participate. Typically, employers will have matching gift forms, online applications or a phone system in place to process the matching gift. You may include this form with your check or mail it after the gift has been made.

Your employer will validate that the donation was submitted and will send a check of the same value (or higher, depending on the program) to Warrior Foundation Freedom Station.



A bequest to Warrior Foundation Freedom Station in your will or living trust is a gift toward the future of those who fought for our nation’s freedoms. Your bequest will translate your values into action for many generations of veterans and ensure that programs important to you will thrive for years to come. Simple language of just a few sentences or less can be included to establish a bequest when you prepare a new will or add a codicil to an existing one.

There are many different types of bequests you can use in your will or living trust, personalized to your needs. For assistance planning your gift, please consult with your financial, legal or tax advisor to develop a bequest provision that will best carry out your expressed wishes to help injured warriors in need. Remember, you can alter your gift or change your will at any time and for any reason, in the event that life circumstances change.

Please let us know if you have named us in your trust or will.  We’d like to thank you while we still can.


Warrior Foundation Freedom Station., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, located at 1223 ½ 28th St., Suite A, San Diego, California 92102.

Federal Income Tax ID: 20-0067633



It’s easy to put your retirement funds, insurance plans, bank accounts and brokerage accounts to work in immeasurable ways, creating better lives for the ill and injured warriors who have served and sacrificed for our country.

Gifts by beneficiary designation offer tremendous simplicity and flexibility, allowing donors to name Warrior Foundation Freedom Station as a beneficiary of assets including:

  • IRAs and retirement funds
  • Checking or savings bank accounts
  • Certificate of deposit (CD)
  • Brokerage accounts
  • Life insurance policies
  • Commercial annuities

Please consult with your financial, legal or tax advisor prior to making any gifts.

How to Designate Warrior Foundation Freedom Station as a Beneficiary

  1. Contact your retirement plan administrator, insurance company, bank or financial institution for a change-of-beneficiary form. You may also be able to do this by logging into your account online.
  2. Determine what percentage (1 to 100) you would like us to receive and designate Warrior Foundation Freedom Station as a full or partial beneficiary on the change-of-beneficiary form. Include our Federal Income Tax ID: 20-0067633.
  3. Return the completed form to your plan administrator, insurance company, bank or financial institution.
  4. Notify Warrior Foundation Freedom Station of your gift.

Sandy Lehmkuhler, CEO
Warrior Foundation Freedom Station
(619) 993-1737

Judy Sexton, COO
Warrior Foundation Freedom Station
(619) 322-1968



This popular gift option enables individuals age 72 and older to give any amount, up to $100,000, from your traditional IRA directly to a qualified charity such as Warrior Foundation Freedom Station - without having to pay income taxes on the distribution.

A qualified charitable distribution (QCD) is an otherwise taxable distribution from a traditional individual retirement account (IRA), owned by an individual age 72 or over. Your qualified charitable distributions can satisfy all or part of the amount of your required minimum distribution from your IRA.

Example: If your 2018 required minimum distribution was $10,000, and you made a $5,000 qualified charitable distribution to Warrior Foundation Freedom Station, you would have had to withdraw another $5,000 to satisfy your required minimum distribution. If you made a $10,000 qualified charitable distribution to Warrior Foundation Freedom Station, that gift would have satisfied the full amount of your required minimum distribution.

 QCDs are popular and advantageous way to give for many reasons:

  • Your dollars will be put to work today, funding vital programs that are changing the lives of our nation’s injured warriors.
  • You pay no income taxes on the gift. The transfer generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so you benefit even if you do not itemize your deductions.
  • If you are at least 72 years old and have not yet taken your required minimum distribution for the year, your gift can satisfy all or part of that requirement.
  • Since the gift doesn’t count as income, it can reduce your annual income level. This may help lower your Medicare premiums and decrease the amount of Social Security that is subject to tax.

 Please consult with your financial, legal or tax advisor prior to making any gifts.

How to Make a IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution in Three Easy Steps

1) Inform us of your plans to make an IRA rollover gift by providing the following information:

  • Your full legal name.
  • Amount of gift.
  • Name of your IRA administrator.
  • Gift designation (purpose). IRA gifts will be directed to our general fund unless we receive other instructions.

 2) Contact your IRA Administrator to initiate the gift. Request that your gift be sent to:

Judy Sexton, COO
Warrior Foundation Freedom Station
(619) 322-1968

Please instruct your IRA administrator to add your name to the reference field.

3) Please send information about your gift to:

Sandy Lehmkuhler,CEO
Warrior Foundation Freedom Station
(619) 993-1737

Judy Sexton, COO
Warrior Foundation Freedom Station
(619) 322-1968

Richard S. Carlquist, AIF® CFP®
Financial Advisor, Warrior Foundation Freedom Station
(619) 294-9727 Ext. 102

 Thank you for your donation. We will be in touch with you once your gift is received.




If you own highly appreciated stock and would like to join Warrior Foundation Freedom Station in assisting our nation’s ill and injured military heroes, donating stock is both a powerful charitable contribution and a smart tax planning move.

Gifts of highly appreciated securities - including stock, bonds, and mutual funds - provide financial support for the foundation and favorable tax benefits for the donor. Compared with donating cash, or selling your appreciated securities and contributing the after-tax proceeds, you may be able to automatically increase your gift and your tax deduction. When you donate stock that has been held for more than one year and increased in value, you’ll generally take a tax deduction for the full fair market value. 

Please consult with your financial, legal or tax advisor prior to making any gifts.

Donating Highly Appreciated Securities is as Easy as 1-2-3!

1. Instruct your brokerage firm to transfer the desired number of shares/name of securities to Warrior Foundation Freedom Station.

Warrior Foundation Freedom Station – Development Account
Cetera Advisor Networks LLC
Attn: Richard Carlquist
DTC #0443
Account#: 06H-434075

2. Notify Warrior Foundation Freedom Station via phone or email of your intended gift.

Sandy Lehmkuhler, CEO
Warrior Foundation Freedom Station
(619) 993-1737

Judy Sexton, COO
Warrior Foundation Freedom Station
(619) 322-1968

Richard S. Carlquist, AIF® CFP®
Financial Advisor, Warrior Foundation Freedom Station
(619) 294-9727 Ext. 102

3. Depending on the delivering brokerage firm and how the securities are held, the transfer can be completed in as little as two business days of providing your broker the required notification. Warrior Foundation Freedom Station will provide pertinent valuation information regarding your charitable contribution once the transfer is complete.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Delivery times can be extended at year end.


Lunch and Laughter at the Clairemont Comedy Club

8878 Clairemont Mesa Blcd
San Diego, CA 82123

For tickets and Info call: 858-272-1821

IMG 1375 Edited

Deck the Halls: Recommended Items for Volunteers to Bring

November 30, 2019


Deck the Halls is Warrior Foundation Freedom Station’s largest event of the year. To make it as successful as possible, we would greatly appreciate the assistance of our volunteers in bringing some of the following items with you on the day of the event.


  • Push pins (for use with garlands only, not on walls)

  • Gardening/work gloves

  • Pliers

  • Small personal hammer (marked with your name) to help tap in push pins.

  • Small step ladder (marked with your name & phone # in case it gets left behind).

  • Large garbage bags


Gifts for Warriors

These items will be sorted and distributed in the warriors’ rooms.

  • Cookies and candies (if homemade, please divide into Ziploc bags)

  • Packages of nuts and trail mix

  • Granola bars and cereal bars

  • Microwavable popcorn

  • Cases of water and Gatorade

  • Gift cards to Petco or PetSmart for the service dogs of injured warriors

*Please do not bring large packages that need to be divided, i.e. gift baskets or boxes.*


Holiday Decorations

  • Green wired garland (non-lighted)

  • Navy or Marine decorations

  • Small American flags

  • Red, white and blue ornaments

  • Red, white and blue ribbons and bows

  • Large, colorful handmade holiday signs and banners (8-foot banners are ideal) made by children, youth groups, volunteer groups, and businesses.

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