About Best Defense Foundation

Founded in 2018 by former NFL Linebacker, Donnie Edwards, the Best Defense Foundation honors and celebrates our veterans from past conflicts, including, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and those who have recently retired. This Foundation is driven by volunteers–people who are passionate about supporting military veterans and their families.  Team members hail from all parts of the U.S. and Europe, but are united by one simple goal: Taking Care of the Ones Who Took Care of Us.

What began as a simple conversation during a chance meeting with a WWII veteran has turned into Donnie’s life mission. Inspired by stories from his grandfather, a Pearl Harbor survivor, Donnie has worked tirelessly to take WWII veterans back to the battlefields where they served.

To date, the Foundation has taken over 100 WWII veterans on Battlefield Return Programs to remember their fallen comrades and gain closure of a time in their life that had an impact on the world. Through our Battlefield Return Programs, WWII veterans travel all over the world including to Normandy, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, Guam, Saipan, and Tinian for commemorations.

Additionally the Foundation created a Stronghold Transition Program to help retired Special Forces operators return to civilian life and connect with the community around them.  Utilizing Donnie’s NFL network, we bring the professional athlete world together with special forces to help each other grow.

Finally, the last mission of the Best Defense Foundation is to educate future generations about the heroism and sacrifices of those who have served through the preservation of their stories. To date, we have interviewed over 200 WWII veterans with a video archive of more than 2000 hours of first hand accounts of the history that is taught today.  Our Education Initiative curates a curriculum from this media content and uses it to preserve the legacy of those who sacrificed for us.

The Best Defense Foundation strives to create personal relationships with veterans to ensure they know they will always be cared for and remembered. We invite you to join in our mission of “taking care of the ones who took care of us.”

“Thank you, Donnie… you’ve given me so much, this is the highlight of my life.”

—Harry “Pete” Shaw, 283rd Field Artillery Battalion
Upon his return to Normandy for the 75th anniversary with BDF (2019)

Donnie Edwards

President and Founder

Kathryn Edwards

Co-Founder

EXECUTIVE TEAM

Amanda Thompson

Executive Director

Austin Bishop

Director of Media

Mike Malone

Director of Veterans Affairs

Misty Zelk

Medical Director 

Sarah Bishop

Director of Administration

STAFF

Anna Becker

Björn Clement

Gwenael Jacob

Joe Conway

Nicola Wales-Wong

Magali Desquesne

Ralph Peeters

Ronald Stassen

Justin Nahama

Drew McCauley

Israel Flores

Mayo Strauss

Cori Russell

Paul Russell

In Dedication

Maximino Razo

(Donnie’s Apache Nation Grandfather)

Maximino Razo was born in 1918 as a first generation U.S. citizen. He enlisted in the US Army on August 4, 1941 and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division as a mechanic.

On December 7, 1941, Razo was stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Razo continued his service in the Pacific until he was honorably discharged in 1945.

For his service he was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal. American Defense Service Medal and the WWII Victory Medal.

TAKING CARE OF THE ONES WHO TOOK CARE OF US

Please join our ranks. Help the Best Defense Foundation expand its impact by donating- this can only happen with support from individuals & organizations.