Rodger Wheeler, president of Zeros4Heroes, received an additional $100 community grant from Aurora's Youth Empowerment Project Director Kim McCully-Mobley this summer to continue the efforts to support area veterans and their families.

The organization received a $150 YEP grant earlier in the year and earned the additional money during the summer "in order to be able to continue to meet the local needs of our heroes," explained McCully-Mobley, an Aurora High School educator. The focus of YEP is to help empower young people to make positive impacts and build connections and relationships in the communities served.

Zeros4Heroes started out six years ago as an idea from Patrick Wheeler, a graduate of Aurora High School and former baseball player. He wanted to figure out a way for the team and the community to combine forces to help veterans and local veterans organizations.

Thus, Zeros4Heroes was born as a non-profit foundation focused on helping veterans, their families and those who help and support veterans and their families. The group has hosted giveaways, drawings, dinners and fundraisers to support the cause.

Past proceeds have been used to support the efforts of the Veterans Memorial at Maple Park Cemetery, Veterans Drug Court of Lawrence County, the Missouri Veterans Home in Mt. Vernon, Kids of Our Heroes Camp in Barry County, the wheelchair fund for Honor Flight recipients and annual scholarships for Aurora High School graduates.

Wheeler is the group's president, while additional board members include Michele Evans Mowris, Shannon Walker, McCully-Mobley, Chris Rackley and Stephen McKay. Those wanting to support the efforts of Zeros4Heroes may send checks or donations in care of Shannon Walker at the local Chamber of Commerce office, which is housed at the Missouri Pacific Depot in downtown Aurora.