Black Sheep Veterans Association going above & beyond to help vets in need

A veteran saw a need to help fellow vets and launched Black Sheep Veterans Association to make sure no veteran is forgotten.
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 6:27 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A veteran saw a need to help fellow vets and launched Black Sheep Veterans Association to make sure no veteran is forgotten.

Earl Willis always knew he wanted to be a soldier.

“I started in high school,” recalls Willis. “I went to basic in between my junior and senior year and then went to AIT once I graduated. Did a few years doing that and then went active duty.”

Once active, he spent time in Iraq, but after an injury to his eye, he was sent to Hawaii, where a unique assignment sent him all over the world.

“Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, everywhere, Papua New Guinea, we would go across the world, find the remains, bring them home, repatriate them and send them to their families,” Willis explains of the assignment.

But unfortunately for Willis, his career didn’t end on the sandy beaches of Hawaii. Instead, it ended a few years later in the sand some 7,000 away.

“In Afghanistan on June 2, 2013, my vehicle was hit by a 240-pound IED,” says Willis. “It crushed my legs, broke my neck, tore my shoulder apart, tore both optical nerves, blew out both eardrums, fractured my back and a host of other things so that pretty much ended.”

After an amazing recovery, Willis struggled with what to do with the rest of his life.

“When I got out, I was really good at my job. I was a combat engineer. I was a combat specialist,” says Willis. “And I was one of the best in my unit. And when I got back from Afghanistan, so many people heard my story of who I was and what I did. It was almost like being famous within my little local group. And then when I lost that, I felt like I lost purpose.”

That was until he found it.

“My purpose now is helping other veterans,” Willis says. “So, I am constantly talking to other organizations and other veterans with what we can do to help veterans at the local level.”

That’s how Black Sheep Veterans Association was founded, and Willis says they do whatever it takes to help.

“We do all the little things that get missed on the national level,” he explains. “So, if you’re an elder veteran or a disabled veteran or a veteran that’s off work or a first responder and you can’t cut your grass this week, and you’re like, ‘Hey, I need my grass cut, but I am out of work and can’t afford to pay,’ We will send someone to cut their grass. We do veteran cemetery cleanups. I’ve done several jobs myself where I go do plumbing or electrical work. Or if it is something outside our scope, we can find other businesses, hopefully, veteran-owned, that can go in and help that person out.”

Willis says the best way you can help the organization is to let them know of any veterans who need help, so Black Sheep can make sure they get it.

You can contact Black Sheep Veterans Association by calling 859-802-1369 or email

They also have a Facebook page, which can be found here: Black Sheep Veterans Association

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