Community Hero of the Month | Cole Strange

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AFH Community Hero

Strange uses his foundation as a “salute” to veterans

Cole Strange is no stranger to utilizing his platform to help brighten up others’ days. In 2022, Strange worked with the Athletes for Hope Hospital Heroes program to visit with kids at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital. 

However, the former first-round draft pick did not stop there. His recent work to support military veterans in need makes Cole Strange Athletes for Hope’s November Community Hero of the Month. 

Strange has more often than not stayed out of the spotlight, simply putting his nose down and working hard. The strategy allowed him to thrive as a New England Patriot guard in the NFL after being drafted out of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Yet, once he realized how powerful his position as an athlete was, he knew he had to use it to help others. 

After spending the last year and a half working alongside various military organizations, he created The Cole Strange Foundation in September of this year with an inaugural movie screening with 40 military veterans and their guests. 

The purpose of the Cole Strange Foundation is to honor, support, and show appreciation for the sacrifices of military veterans by impacting the lives of those physically injured or facing mental health challenges.

This culminated in his first annual Evening to Salute Veterans on November 6, where Patriots players, board members, sponsors and supporters all showed up to help fulfill the foundation’s fundraising goals.

There was an auction portion and other fundraising efforts as the event took place at the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium. With teammates in attendance, footballs were signed and auctioned off as well as other items. Proceeds from the evening helped to provide mental health grants to military veterans in need through the foundation. 

Strange knows that as an NFL player, it takes hard work to reach the professional level, but he also understands how much more difficult military service can be. 

“It’s something I have a ton of respect for,” Strange said. “Growing up, it was always one of those things that I thought commanded a lot more respect than people playing in the NFL, even though that was always my dream. I love football, but this is life or death – real-world stuff, and I feel like it’s overlooked a lot.”

Many odds were stacked against Strange during his journey, and he is not one to shy away from adversity, but military service strikes a chord with his emotions. 

Cole Strange may not enjoy the spotlight, but his foundation is a reason for pride. Congratulations to Cole on being named the AFH Community Hero of the Month for November.