Herocare Introduces Discount Program for Local Public Servants

Herocare, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the financial circumstances of the nation's essential service workers, has introduced a new program to help its members save money on normal living expenses.

The Herocare Rewards Program offers substantial discounts from a wide variety of local merchants to "local heroes," public servants who put their professional calling ahead of financial gain. The program is open to active and retired teachers, police officers, firefighters, soldiers, health care providers, and government workers, relates Tom Wardrope, Program Director for Herocare in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The Northern California Herocare office is co-located with Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. in the business park in Suite 120, 4301 Hacienda Drive.

Herocare was founded in Florida in 2005 by Lane Houk, a financial services professional and veteran of the U.S. Army Medical Corps. As part of a family that includes police officers, a nurse, a teacher, soldiers, and a firefighter, Houk wanted to start a nonprofit organization to benefit the people who provide essential community services but have to live on salaries that are less generous than in the private sector. Herocare later expanded nationally and began in Alameda and Contra Costa counties in 2007.

The program initially assisted local heroes with locating and purchasing affordable housing, obtaining insurance, and learning about financial planning. Much of that vision has been realized through Herocare University, which offers online instructional videos and self-paced courses in all aspects of personal financial management.

The rewards card is the next step in helping members build a secure financial future. The first program debuted in Fort Myers, Fla., in early 2009. Wardrope started laying the groundwork for the local Herocare Rewards card about four months ago.

Available at no charge to registered public servants, the Herocare Rewards card can be used to obtain discounts at hundreds of established businesses throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The discounts vary depending on the participating business but generally average 10 to 20 percent off normal prices, Wardrope says. Products and services available range from restaurant meals and clothing to electronics, home maintenance, travel, and auto repair.

"Many of our teachers, police officers, firefighters, vets, and other public servants have a hard time making ends meet, especially in tough economic times like we are experiencing today," Wardrope observes. "These local heroes can save $100 to $200 per month in normal, everyday living expenses, just by using the Herocare Rewards card at participating businesses."

Public servants who want to learn more about the organization's free services or businesses interested in participating in the Herocare Rewards program can call 877-HERO-411 (877-437-6411) or visit www.herocare.org .

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