The War’s Not Over When The Fighting Stops: ABC Member, Army Veteran hosts fundraiser for U.S. Veterans

    There have been over 66,000 combat casualties since September 11, 2001. In that same period, 144,000 Veterans died by suicide who are struggling with PTSD. This outrageous stat drove Army Ranger Veteran and ABC Member Pieter Winne to answer the call
    to help.
    Whenever you see Pieter, at the beginning of any exchange, he will always share how blessed he is. Winne never has a complaint because according to him, he has it all. A job he loves, a wonderful family and a purpose to help people be better than the day before.
    “I know deep inside me I am doing what I was put on this earth to do. Every day in my career (as an EOS Implementer) I help professionals grow. Three years ago, I wanted to know what I could do to help my brothers and sisters who have served this great country and come home with severe PTSD. So, I started hosting what is now an annual fundraiser,” Winne said.
    Since the inaugural event in 2022, Winne mentioned that the profits raised have exponentially increased. This year the amount almost doubled from 2023
    to 2024.
    In his welcoming speech at this year’s fundraiser, Winne polled the room asking how many have been affected by suicide. In a silent, chilling moment, almost every hand went up.
    “So here’s the deal,” Winne continued. “This (fundraiser) saves lives. If you know someone, anyone who is suffering, ask them. Life is so short, pour love into them, show them that you care and get them help. We’ve lost too many people.”
    Bob Sebastian, the president of Helping Out Our American Heroes (HOOAH) attended the event to spread the word about his organization’s mission, which is to lend support to veterans with a high level of understanding, compassion and empathy.
    “For some reason, us people in the military have it engrained in our hearts that we have to continue to drive on and complete the mission. We can do this on our own, and if we need help, we’re the worst to ask for it.” Sebastian said at the event. “In almost 20 years, the Veterans who die by suicide has increased dramatically. We’ve got something that can help them and I just want to say thank you to everyone in this room. You all are responsible for helping save lives.”
    Winne served in the U.S. Army from 1981 to 1987. He was honorably discharged and returned home to his wife and kids. He himself struggled with the return to normal life in Michigan, but with the help from people who care about him and give purpose to his life, he has turned to helping others.
    “This is what it means to be ABC. We represent the construction industry and fight to protect it, but we also fight to protect America. Pieter is the embodiment of who our membership is and what we value, and we are blessed to have him as a part of our chapter,” said ABC SEMI president and CEO Keith Ledbetter.
    The event was hosted at Winne Acres in Cottrellville, Michigan on May 17. In total, the night raised $33,443 to help U.S. Army Ranger Veterans get help when they come home. To learn more about HOOAH or to support their mission, visit