UNITED STATES ARMY
Robert Hess, the founder and CEO of Disabled Veteran Empowerment Network (DVEN) and Rally4Vets, knows the battlefield of the mind all too well.
A Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) survivor, he navigated the turbulent waters of its symptoms for two decades before finding his shore. "I’m fortunate because I came to grips with my experiences. But many veterans aren’t so lucky," he reflects.
Understanding the profound struggle many veterans face with PTSD, Robert channels his passion for motorsports into a therapeutic outlet and a beacon of purpose for those who have served. He recognizes the dual power of the sport: its healing rush that quiets the echoes of the past and its goal-oriented nature that offers direction.
With this in mind, Robert dedicates himself to steering fellow veterans toward a path of recovery and empowerment, fueled by the same camaraderie and adrenaline that helped him reclaim his life post-service.
ROBERT'S STORY IN HIS OWN WORDS
I was commissioned in the US Army upon my graduation from the Virginia Military Institute in June 1967. Like many of my peers at that time, it was off to armor officer basic, then ranger and airborne schools, and my first Vietnam tour of duty in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne, operating out of LZ English.
That tour was followed by the 14th ACR in Germany, flight school, and back to RVN, this time with B Troop, 7/17th Air Cavalry, operating from Camp Holloway in Pleiku. Then more school, back to Germany, followed by several tours in the Pentagon, and finishing my career as a Political-Military Advisor at the State Department.
After retiring from the US Army, I graduated from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA, founded a boutique consulting firm focusing on the community bank sector, and developed the TrakPointe Loan Pipeline Management Software System, named one of the best new technologies for community banks in 2013, by BankNews.
In 2003, I officially became a prostate cancer survivor and created a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, The Prostate Cancer Awareness Project (PCAP), to reduce the prostate cancer death toll through early detection. [I call myself the Accidental Survivor – you can read that story on the PCAP website – www.ThePCAP.org.]
In June 2016, I formed the Cancer Journeys Foundation - also a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity to provide support to the broader cancer survivor community. The PCAP was merged into the Cancer Journeys Foundation at that time. Our prostate cancer early detection system is available – free and anonymous – on the Internet at ProstateTracker.org.
We’ve structured the annual Top Dog Championships® so that everyone can participate on an equal footing: novice and experienced drivers with a daily driver Toyota or a Porsche 911 GT3.
The Top Dog Championships® are all about fun, teamwork, bragging rights, and helping our fellow veterans. It would be great to have you as part of the Rally4Vets Team.
I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn: Robert Warren Hess
“The truth is that you always know the right thing to do. The tough part is doing it.”
General Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. Army
Following my PTSD diagnosis, I created the Disabled Veteran Empowerment Network (DVEN) program - DVEN operates as a program under the CJF umbrella - to help connect veterans with benefits and resources to improve their quality of life. Veteran suicide prevention is one of our key program goals.
DVEN's Rally4Vets program combines my love of motorsports with the opportunity to help veterans cope with PTSD. Our current and future event programs include HPDE, trackcross (time trials / time attack) and we have some very fun road rallies in the planning stages.