Our Founders, Shelby and LaAdrian Waddle on why they chose to give back to First Responders/Veterans/Active Duty Military Members through Waddle’s Warriors Foundation
We have always had immense appreciation for our military and first responders. We know that it is because of them that we are able to live the life that we do. It is because of them that I (LaAdrian) am able to live out my lifelong dream of playing professional football in the NFL, and for me (Shelby) to be next to him for every step of the way.
Whether it be the men and women who put on their uniforms every day to go our and put their lives on line protecting our cities here in the United States as Police Officers, the EMTs who save lives every single day, or our brothers and sisters of the military who are overseas away from their families for months at a time to protect or nation and our freedoms, we owe it all to them, and we created Waddle’s Warriors Foundation to give back to them and show our appreciation to them, and the veterans who fought to protect us before them.
We often get the question of “why have two groups that you give back to through your foundation? Usually people choose just one group.” Well, we’re not like most foundations! We chose the two things that we are most passionate about, and the other group that we have a passion for, is children. Children are so pure, full of love, and to see them go through what we ourselves had to endure is something that we will do everything in our power to avoid.
LaAdrian grew up in a single parent home, where he was given things that he absolutely needed, but nothing beyond that. He grew up in a small town where a majority of the people who grew up there, stayed there for the rest of their lives, and never go out to spread their wings in the world. He explains, “When we began this foundation, I wanted to help kids like me, in my situation, and give them a chance, a real chance, to get out of that town, follow their dreams, and make a name for themselves.
Shelby grew up with an alcoholic mother, constantly having the cops called to the home, and just simply a horrible environment for anyone, let alone a child to be in. She explains, “I was exposed to emotional and verbal abuse pretty much my whole childhood, and brainwashed beyond comprehension. I only began to see how bad it was when I was removed from the situation for a short time and began to realize that when someone is constantly telling you to keep things a secret from all other adults, or that, “what happens here, stays here”, its a very unhealthy way to live.” She explains, that it wasn’t all mental abuse, “I also was sexually abused from the age of six for two years by someone much older than me. And we created this foundation to be that support for children who have had to endure the same sick abuse that I had to go through."