All Star President Ken Bernstein Embraces Community Spirit
This Veterans Day weekend, you’ll find All Star Healthcare Solutions President Ken Bernstein tackling the four-mile beach course in the sixth annual Ryan Owens Memorial Run. Although he enjoys the physical challenge, Bernstein’s motivation is all about showing up for the veterans’ community, a commitment he fulfills through many efforts. In fact, Bernstein positively impacts numerous people in South Florida and beyond through his involvement with the following organizations:
Wounded Veterans Relief Fund
The Wounded Veterans Relief Fund (WVRF), based in North Palm Beach, Florida, is a non-profit organization that delivers various support programs to qualified veterans living in the Sunshine State, including emergency financial aid and dental services. For the past couple of years, Bernstein has participated in several WVRF fundraising events, such as the recent Devil Dog 5K/10K Race/Walk in Boca Raton, Florida.
“I have a lot of friends and family members who are veterans, and I’ve become very close with several of the WVRF members over the years, not to mention that we have veterans in our All Star family. It’s amazing to see them band together to support each other. The issues veterans face are tremendous and charities like the Wounded Veterans Relief Fund help so much. It’s pretty magnificent,” says Bernstein.
Not only did he run in the past two Devil Dog races, but Bernstein petitioned the All Star Cares Committee, which determines the company’s philanthropic commitments, to sponsor this year’s event. He also inspired other All Stars to race with him.
“Last year, I ran the race alone. But once I experienced the spirit of the event, I thought, ‘We have to get All Star involved.’ This year, an amazing crew showed up to support the cause and cheer each other on,” he said. “Now that I see how many people came out and how much they enjoyed the day, I want it to be even bigger next year.”
Ryan Owens Memorial Run
As noted, Bernstein also champions the Ryan Owens Memorial Run, which is sponsored by the Naked Warrior Project, based in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The run’s namesake was a Navy SEAL who lost his life in the line of duty, and the non-profit organization’s mission is to honor Owens, his fellow Navy SEALS who have fallen, and their families. It also assists veterans facing challenges back home.
“I was introduced to the run by WVRF members, but immediately saw that this was an All Star thing, too. A bunch of people from All Star had entered that year as well,” says Bernstein. “I hope this year also has a good turnout. We’d like to get as many people to participate as we can.”
“Ken pushes himself to raise funds and encourages others to get involved for the vets because their service to our country oftentimes comes with a heavy cost,” says Lee Kennedy, chief operating officer for All Star.
Eileen’s Home for the Holidays
Bernstein’s philanthropic spirit extends beyond the veteran community. For years, he and his family have supported Eileen’s Home for the Holidays, a non-profit established by a personal friend to honor the life of his mother Eileen Connolly, who passed away from cancer. The organization is based in Sayville, New York. Every Christmas, volunteers set up a “pop-up restaurant” in a local church to serve the homeless and families in need. Each person is treated to a fine dining experience, complete with host/hostess and menu, with most food donated by local eateries. Attendees are welcomed to select from the donated clothing, toys, and other necessities.
“To have that experience, which is different from other meal programs, is pretty special,” says Bernstein, who has both volunteered at the event as well as fundraised for it.
Additionally, the All Star Cares Committee will sponsor the program again this year.
“All Star is all about giving back to communities, like my hometown in New York. Everyone is beyond caring and giving, especially when kids are involved, like making sure they have a happy holiday,” says Bernstein.
The Jorge Nation Foundation
Indeed, creating special memories for children facing terminal or serious health conditions inspired Bernstein to join All Star’s CEO Keith Shattuck in serving on the Jorge Nation Foundation (JNF) board of directors. As treasurer, Bernstein implements the Boca Raton-based charity’s financial strategy, management, and regulatory compliance and reporting.
Every year, JNF selects children from South Florida dealing with the heart-wrenching circumstances of life-threatening or life-changing illness to partake in a “Dream Trip” to a destination of their choice. Past trips have been on cruises, to California, and even to Costa Rica. It partners with leading local pediatric hospitals, including Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
“Nothing compares with the children’s responses when they learn they and their family have been selected to go on a ‘Dream Trip.’ It’s a humbling experience to witness, and Ken’s involvement will ensure JNF can continue delivering its incredible and heartwarming mission of creating extra-special memories for these kids and their families,” says Shattuck.
“Ken has a heart of gold and truly cares for the people around him and does so much to give back,” adds Kennedy. “It’s an honor to have All Star and our people follow his example.”