A Few Good Men began as a student movement at Hillsdale College. As a Resident Assistant of Galloway Residence Hall, Ben Holscher challenged the men of his dorm to a volunteer competition to promote service and sacrifice and to build bridges to the community. They did so by completing manual labor projects such as raking leaves, painting a shed, or moving heavy objects. Requests for aid began to flow steadily in as the men of Galloway began to advertise their desire to serve the community.
As the semester-long competition drew to a close, Holscher wondered what would become of those people who would no longer have a group of caring men to spring into action. Most of the people we served would have nowhere else to turn.
During this time, Ben worked at a local food pantry. He realized that the people he served appreciated a smile and a listening ear more than their bag of groceries. What they needed most was to know that someone loved them and would not let them slip through the cracks of an increasingly impersonal society.
One man in particular left a lasting impression. Broken and weary, he had checked himself into a local hospital because he was starving to death. He lived in a tiny trailer without electricity in the middle of a corn field. Somehow he had not qualified for aid from the government, and he had no family willing to care for him. Eventually, even the hospital told him they would not be able to help him further. Desperate for help, the man came to the pantry. Moved by the man’s story, Ben offered his phone number. The man took out a pen and a small pad and wrote it down. Above the number, he wrote, “emergency friend.”
Ben never forgot the man and how much it had meant to him to know that he was not alone. In 2012, Ben turned the dorm competition into an organization calling men to action and leadership in defense of the weak. Soon women began to support the mission as well, and Edmund Burke’s quote “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” inspired the name, A Few Good Men.
Starting in 2013, A Few Good Men grew from a college volunteer program into a community movement. With ten crews deploying every week, we were able to complete hundreds of projects throughout Hillsdale County. The influence of this activity, combined with our partnership with high school students, churches, and businesses, has inspired the community to adopt our mission as its own.