Episodes of The Sport Clips Haircuts Hall of Fame Podcast - Haircuts with Heart featuring Lynn Rolf from VFW

Red Banner with HOF Episode

In this episode recorded in September of 2018, we continue our "Haircuts with Heart" series, where we look at a few of the causes and charities that Sport Clips supports. In this episode, we interview Lynn Rolf from the VFW. Since 2013, Sport Clips has been the primary supporter of the VFW’s Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship program, which provides scholarships for service members and veterans for use at post-secondary schools and trade schools. To date, we have awarded more than 1,000 scholarships totaling $4.9 million. To learn more about the VFW's "Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship" program, including details on eligibility, visit: https://www.vfw.org/scholarship/

Lynn and Chad With a Microphone Standing in front of VFW Banner

Episode Air Date Guest Name Guest Title Topic(s)
September 19, 2018 Lynn Rolf Director of Programs The mission of VFW and their partnership with Sport Clips

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Transcription:

Chad Jordan:                Well, hey, everyone. Welcome to another edition of The Sport Clips Hall of Fame podcast. This is Chad Jordan. I'm the director of marketing for digital services at Sport Clips. Today it's going to be a special episode because we're going to be talking about VFW, some of the work that Sport Clips does with one of our favorite organizations.

                                    Speaking of that, can I have my guest introduce himself, please?

Lynn Rolf:                     My name's Lynn Rolf. I'm the director of programs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Chad Jordan:                Lynn, you are with VFW. Is that correct?

Lynn Rolf:                     Yes, sir.

Chad Jordan:                How long you been there? Give me a little background.

Lynn Rolf:                     I got hired on as the national director of programs about four years ago after about ten years coming up the ranks in Kansas.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. It's kind of really where I got introduced to Sport Clips, so when I got offered the opportunity to become the director I jumped all over it.

Chad Jordan:                Right.

Lynn Rolf:                     Because I knew the impact that everything that the VFW does, first of all, but the great specialized programs that we've got.

Chad Jordan:                Let me back up, then. You obviously served in the military. Give me all that. Give me the goodies there, your branch of service, how many years you're in. All that kind of fun stuff.

Lynn Rolf:                     I served ten years as a military police officer.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     Commissioned and got out as a captain. I got out in 2004. I was stationed at Fort Riley.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, so Army.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yes, United States Army.

Chad Jordan:                Is that hoo-ah or hoo-rah?

Lynn Rolf:                     It's hoo-ah

Chad Jordan:                Hoo-ah

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah, it's hoo-ah

Chad Jordan:                Okay. I want to get that one right. Okay. All right.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah, not Semper Fi

Chad Jordan:                Okay. All right. Okay. All right.

Lynn Rolf:                     I've been stationed all over the world. I grew up as a military brat and my dad, a Vietnam veteran, 33 years of service himself.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Lynn Rolf:                     Retired. When I got out, I moved back home. Believe it or not, I hated home when I went in the military, but I missed it.

Chad Jordan:                Yes. That's probably a common story, huh?

Lynn Rolf:                     And I came home. Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     Absolutely amazing. All my high school buddies are like, "You came back?" It's like, you don't know how good you got it.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     I've been all across the world and I've seen the worst. Right before I got out I took a military police taskforce to Iraq during the invasion 2003, 2004.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Lynn Rolf:                     A lot of challenges over there, but a lot of pride that we accomplished what we went over for.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     Chased another opportunity as a defense contractor for ten years after that.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     As I was.

Chad Jordan:                Were you back over in the Middle East again or were you stateside?

Lynn Rolf:                     For a little bit.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     For just a short period I went over to help look at some of the prisons. Just offered lessons learned.

Chad Jordan:                What are the chance a boy from Leavenworth is going to become a military policeman and then a contractor as ... That advises on prisons?

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. Family members and everyone was like, first of all, we can't even believe that you went to college. Yeah, it was very weird, the parallels of coming from a military prison town and then the penitentiary.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     Because I got kind of forced into the role as a military police officer. It definitely is strange parallel.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. You get out, then you're a civilian for ten years.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                What's the involvement? How does the VFW Association start with you? You had a buddy that was doing ... Give me a little bit of that and what [crosstalk 00:03:36].

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. My first Veteran's Day in town a couple of my high school buddies had served also. We wanted ... We called it a thunder run. We wanted to hit all the bars in [Lebonworth 00:03:48] during Veteran's Day and ...

Chad Jordan:                Okay. They were buying veterans drinks?

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. They were. Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     We were taking advantage of it. The last place we hit was the VFW. My grandad and my dad were both members and didn't really know much. Some of the older, old timers, were like, "Hey, we could use some help." I was like, "Well, I'll come down to the first meeting." By the-

Chad Jordan:                Hold on. Describe that to me because on the outside looking in I'm not a veteran, I don't ... Is this a physical building, like a lodge, that the ...

Lynn Rolf:                     Yes.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     Probably half of our VFWs have a brick and mortar place.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     It's not a requisite. Some, like us older VFW posts, that started in a town since the creation of the VFW. Leavenworth being one of the oldest VFWs in the country, we're right downtown. Had that beauty of being right there in military installations.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     We've got a great nexus right there.

Chad Jordan:                I imagine the ones that are brick and mortar have a valid liquor license.

Lynn Rolf:                     Oh, yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     We're not sanctioning that, per se, but, yeah, some have canteens where veterans can go in and enjoy.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, sure. Sure. Unwind, yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     Unwind and ...

Chad Jordan:                Reminisce and all that.

Lynn Rolf:                     Enjoy the camaraderie.

Chad Jordan:                Literally, I mean, that's what you guys were doing.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                You were all together.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yep.

Chad Jordan:                You get to VFW as a group with some of your buddies, and what? It just ...

Lynn Rolf:                     Well, I went to my first meeting and I just ... I didn't like what I saw. I loved the discipline because it was a lot of ritual. I was like, wow, and I'm saluting again, standing at attention. I was like, I kind of miss this.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, right. It's in your DNA at that point.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Especially if you're a military [inaudible 00:05:41] Army brat already.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. I was trying to break free of that.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     I saw some challenges. There was some bickering going on in the meeting. I said, "I'm not going to waste my time." A high school buddy of mine said, "Hey, my dad asked me. They need some help, they need new blood, they need new volunteers. You want to help?" Within the third meeting I ended up taking over the whole VFW there in town.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Lynn Rolf:                     Because we just forced them out. We said, "Hey, if we're going to be involved, we're" ...

Chad Jordan:                We're going to do it the right way.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     We're going to get out and do community service, we're going to get engaged with the city legislature. We're going to schools and teach the Pledge of Allegiance, we're going to teach them the importance of the flag, how to handle it.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. Are these weekly meetings? Monthly? How does ...

Lynn Rolf:                     Monthly. Monthly meetings.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     Some have bimonthly. Just really how ... Each post is allowed to operate what works for them. I caught the bug and really I was at a dark part in my life. I was drinking way too much. I was ... A lot of bad decisions.

Chad Jordan:                Were you chasing something or trying to get away from something?

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. Yeah. I was self medicating very hard.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     Really affected my job and ... The day that I put that hat on that I was in charge I stopped drinking.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Lynn Rolf:                     I have not had a drink in ten years since I ...

Chad Jordan:                Oh my gosh. That's amazing.

Lynn Rolf:                     I tell people all the time, "VFW saved my life."

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     It gave me a structure and a purpose and a mission. Look, now I'm director of programs, right.

Chad Jordan:                Paying it back. Right. Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     Now I get to go out and I run the mental health program for the VFW too now.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, tell me about that.

Lynn Rolf:                     Well, we've got a lot of great partners, just like Sport Clips.

Chad Jordan:                Yep.

Lynn Rolf:                     We have some mental health professionals that a veteran or a service member can call. If they're scared to go to the VA and get help, they can call the 800 number.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     They can talk to a psychiatrist on the phone.

Chad Jordan:                Do you have the 800 number memorized? If not, I'll [crosstalk 00:07:47].

Lynn Rolf:                     I do not.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, so I'm going to link to ... Is it VFW.org, I think?

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. Yeah

Chad Jordan:                I'll make sure in the podcast notes to link to it and add that 800 number.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yep. Yep.

Chad Jordan:                They call, they get walk through, they get help.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yep. They'll automatically, based on where they call in from, they'll get put close to a provider in their area. That is donated. It's called Give An Hour.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     Psychiatrists can sign up for the service and give an hour a month, or give an hour a day or a month.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Lynn Rolf:                     What we're doing with Give An Hour is trying to change the direction of mental health.

Chad Jordan:                Yes.

Lynn Rolf:                     The service that I use every day is called Patients Like Me. It's an online collaboration where I analyze myself.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     I say I'm feeling good, I'm feeling bad, I'm going good, or whatever the ... However I feel.

Chad Jordan:                What do you get, a score or whatever telling you [crosstalk 00:08:36]?

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. Over a year timeframe you can pick out your trends.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Lynn Rolf:                     And you know. For me, there's certain months that I struggle because of the six guys that I lost.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. Okay. Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     I can take a look at that and say, "Okay, I know April's coming up. It's a bad month, so in February I need to start thinking."

Chad Jordan:                Yep.

Lynn Rolf:                     I need to get busy, I need to get back to running. Something to deal with it.

Chad Jordan:                How appropriate. We're at NASCAR race right now

Lynn Rolf:                     Oh, yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Sponsored by the VFW and Sport Clips, by the way. Think about a NASCAR track. Those turns, that's when the drivers, right? They're at their peak.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Their mental ... They're having to think through, even as they get ready to approach that turn what they're going to do and who's around them, and all that kind of stuff.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Then they get on the straightaway, whatever, and maybe they can coast. I don't know. I'm not a NASCAR driver myself, but that kind of seems to be what you're describing in terms of you know when the turns are coming.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. Yep.

Chad Jordan:                Now, because of this ... Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     I got to plan, work on my coping mechanisms, and ...

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, and you have a pit crew.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Or somebody talking in your ear, somebody helping you work through it.

Lynn Rolf:                     This online tool, it's called Patients Like Me, you can collaborate with other veterans that are diagnosed with the same disorder or depression, like I got.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     Say, "Hey, here's what worked for me and here's what didn't work for me."

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     You have all these veterans talking about the good things and then the bad things, especially with some medications worked for others, some don't. Horseback riding, running, Crossfit.

Chad Jordan:                Yep.

Lynn Rolf:                     You can pass those lessons onto other veterans and learn from it.

Chad Jordan:                And just keep ... I imagine if you don't find the right one right away you just keep trying to figure out.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. Yep.

Chad Jordan:                [crosstalk 00:10:28].

Lynn Rolf:                     That's our message is don't give up. There's others out there just like you. Don't be afraid of it. Attack it, just like what we did on the battlefield, and seize it.

Chad Jordan:                Do they have to be members of VFW to get ...

Lynn Rolf:                     No.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     No. Yeah. We help anyone.

Chad Jordan:                I see.

Lynn Rolf:                     We branched out to first responders also. Even I've provided some classes to middle school and high school kids that are getting bullied that can also benefit from a lot of this stuff.

Chad Jordan:                Is there anything on YouTube or you guys have done anything that's been recorded yet?

Lynn Rolf:                     Just talking about the five signs of emotional suffering.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     I can give those, but most of ours, since we're not trained professionals, we [inaudible 00:11:16] Give An Hour.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     Because they're licensed and we don't want that liability that ...

Chad Jordan:                Right.

Lynn Rolf:                     We talk about the five signs.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. I might try to find that on YouTube and link to it, then.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                That's amazing. I didn't realize there was a whole mental health wing to not just VFW, but what you specifically are doing at VFW.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yep. Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                You've been involved with Sport Clips for a while now as ... What's your ... Is it liaison? What exactly is your role with VFW [crosstalk 00:11:46]?

Lynn Rolf:                     [crosstalk 00:11:45] director of programs, the Help a Hero Scholarship falls under my responsibility.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     I have a staff member that is responsible with getting the application from the veterans and then we judge them based on criteria and where they fall on financial need, their service, and how much GI Bill they got left.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     I've got a staff member that does that. Me, being the director, I'm ultimately responsible for, A, building the relationship with Sport Clips.

Chad Jordan:                Yep.

Lynn Rolf:                     Talking about it, getting our VFWs more energized on helping the team leaders raise the funds through the October, November campaign.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. Right.

Lynn Rolf:                     And even throughout the year.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, I know. A lot of them are doing it.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Slow drips throughout the year.

Lynn Rolf:                     That's part of my responsibility is get the message out and explain the relationship, that it's not ... The way we look at Sport Clips, it's not just help a hero. It's we're both community partners.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     There's a lot of stuff that Sport Clips does in communities, especially free haircuts to homeless veterans and ...

Chad Jordan:                Right.

Lynn Rolf:                     We should know where those opportunities exist, then we can work together and mutually support and ...

Chad Jordan:                Imagine when ... As you mentioned, that's a great example, throughout the country there are, this is random, that some team leaders have reached out and they're giving haircuts to homeless veterans.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                But you would like to know that so you can come alongside with some of that mental health help.

Lynn Rolf:                     Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Resourcing and all of that kind of stuff, so ...

Lynn Rolf:                     There's a lot of mutual crossover on everything that ...

Chad Jordan:                You mentioned Help a Hero. Help a Hero is our big annual drive that we do to raise funds for men and women that are discharging, I imagine, from the armed services or ...

Lynn Rolf:                     No, they can still be in.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, they can still be in. Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                And get scholarships for transitioning into the civilian workspace? Is that exactly what we're looking at here or ...

Lynn Rolf:                     Well, it initially that was the impetus of why it started, but it's blended and transformed that our eligibility criteria is [E5 00:14:00] and below.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     A sergeant, junior enlisted trooper's what [Gordon 00:14:05] really wanted to focus on.

Chad Jordan:                Yep. Right.

Lynn Rolf:                     Because, A, they probably have a family.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     Have a lot of bills, may not be able to afford to go to school, and with the new GI Bill they probably transferred their GI Bill to their spouse or their kids before they got out.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     Now, all of a sudden they find themselves, you know what? Maybe I want to become a lawyer or I want to become anything. We're able to lend that helping hand through this incredible scholarship. The beauty is, and our number one talking point now, is that this has become the largest student veteran scholarship in the world.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Lynn Rolf:                     The impact ...

Chad Jordan:                Help a Hero with Sport Clips and VFW together.

Lynn Rolf:                     [crosstalk 00:14:47]. The 1,077 scholarships that we provided for $5 million is the biggest out there. The impact is ... These younger and older vets can benefit. There's no time limit from when they got out.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. I see.

Lynn Rolf:                     They can still be in. The candidate that we just recognized here this weekend.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, Dorothy?

Lynn Rolf:                     Dorothy.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     She's going to go back in the Army. She wants to become an officer.

Chad Jordan:                Really? Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     The only way she can become an officer is by getting a college degree.

Chad Jordan:                Yep, yep.

Lynn Rolf:                     We're going to set that young service member up to go back in and continue serving.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. Right.

Lynn Rolf:                     To hear those stories, especially some of the younger generation, they're chasing STEM careers now because that's where the world's changing. The graduation rate of a veteran, especially someone that's a little more mature going back into school, they're outperforming the peers in colleges now [crosstalk 00:15:49].

Chad Jordan:                Oh, yeah. All the discipline that they have, had from the military and service.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. [crosstalk 00:15:53].

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, exactly. They're blowing their fellow candidates out of the water.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yep. Yep. Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                That's amazing. I love it. By the way, I'm hoping on this very podcast with the episode that we're releasing I'm hoping Dorothy will be on it, so I still need to [crosstalk 00:16:11].

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah, Dorothy [crosstalk 00:16:11]. Oh, by the way, she is the most newest VFW life member. She signed up today when she met her commander in chief.

Chad Jordan:                That's great.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                He'll also be on this podcast.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                All right. Let me ... I know we got to wrap it up because we got other festivities to get to. Give me ... Just give me a last couple thoughts or anything that you want people to know about VFW, about Help a Hero.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. What I want people to know is that we award about 174 scholarships a semester.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     I have about 600 veterans that apply.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Lynn Rolf:                     What I'm asking all of our VFWs is we got to crunch that deficit, so if you're out there in Sport Clips location and you want a VFW, or you're not having an assistance by the VFW, call me.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Lynn Rolf:                     I can apply some pressure.

Chad Jordan:                We'll put your personal cell phone number with this podcast.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah. 913 ... Better yet, I'll give you my email.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     LRoff@VFW.org.

Chad Jordan:                [crosstalk 00:17:12].

Lynn Rolf:                     I would love to get us to awarding 600 scholarships a semester.

Chad Jordan:                Wow. One to one. You want a one to one ratio if you can get to it.

Lynn Rolf:                     That's my number one goal. Yep. Yep. Someone applies, I would love to be able to give a scholarship to them.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Lynn Rolf:                     This year, are you planning? I know you go ... Is it Times Square or you do that whole thing?

Chad Jordan:                Yep.

Lynn Rolf:                     We're going to crash the Times show for I believe [Dana 00:17:39] has been out there. This will be the tenth year Sport Clips has been out there.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Lynn Rolf:                     We're really looking forward to being out there with the signs.

Chad Jordan:                Yep.

Lynn Rolf:                     Hopefully get some on-air time and show the greatness of the scholarship.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. No, it's tremendous, very worthwhile cause. Certainly why Gordon supports it and has dreamt of this.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Then, obviously us a brand coming alongside.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                What a pleasure it is to have you guys as a cherished partner. Thank you for your service.

Lynn Rolf:                     We can't thank you enough.

Chad Jordan:                Hey. No, thank you. What you're doing, especially a man, that mental health angle, that gives me chills. I love that, so thank you, guys, for everything. We'll continue this podcast with another guest next time.

Lynn Rolf:                     Yep.

Chad Jordan:                Thanks again, Lynn.

Lynn Rolf:                     Thank you.