Halloween season is one of our favorite times of the year. Seeing all of the scary decorations, children in fun homemade costumes, and giant bags of guilt-free candy staring you in the face when you walk into any store brings us back to when we were kids ourselves. To make this ghoulish holiday even more entertaining, we wanted to put on a very special (and partially terrifying) Valor Adventure to go above and beyond for our Gold Star families and their veteran mentor counterparts. We knew it was going to take the help from a lot of willing people coming together for one amazing cause.

To host this kind of event, we needed a unique location that convinced the kids (but not random spectators) that a zombie outbreak was actually happening! With a more than generous contribution, the city of Carlsbad donated the use of their Safety Training Center, where their S.W.A.T. and Fire Departments train. This multi-faceted, state-of-the-art training facility was the perfect location. With a four story commercial building, a two story residential building and indoor shooting ranges, we were ready to put on an adventure to remember. First comes location, then comes creating a zombie-infestation. Our teams were going to be challenged on multiple fronts to complete their mission of saving the city from the infected.

We wanted to put the power in the hands of our Gold Star kid and Veteran mentor teams. Each one of our Veterans and Gold Star kids were armed with their very own custom Active Valor Nerf guns. It was their job to defend themselves from the zombie threats that stood between them and the successful completion of their mission. This was our biggest adventure yet, nearly doubling in size from our previous adventures. Outfitting 48 people with Nerf guns was going to take a lot of assistance. Thanks to Safari Club International (San Diego Chapter) and their sponsorship, we were able to arm our teams with the proper equipment. Each Gold Star Child and Veteran Mentor received their very own custom designed Active Valor Nerf Gun, specifically chosen for them—with drop pouches and JUST enough ammo to get them to the resupply stations throughout the course. Each team had to be cognizant of their ammo output, strategy in moving throughout the buildings and had to work together as a team to make it through the zombie hoards.

Who were all these zombies we’ve been talking about? We are very pleased to say that we had 75 incredible volunteers come to role-play and put on their very best Walking Dead impersonations. To make our adventure as hyper-realistic as possible, we had each zombie go through professional makeup sessions with the incredibly talented KBZ FX team. With the extremely generous donation from KBZ FX, who specialize in injury simulation for combat and medical training, they came and donated not just their time, but their special effects make up and prosthetics to transform our volunteers into something straight out of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. He surely would have been proud.

We want to give a big thank you to Hometown Realty for providing lunch for everyone in the afternoon and giving all of our staff and volunteers something other than brains to snack on! We also wanted to thank Jersey Mike’s Subs for providing a fun shared dinner with everyone (person and zombie alike) after our event came to an end. After sharing a meal with all of the zombies, they warmed up to the idea of not immediately shooting them on sight!

We wanted to give Batta Fulkerson Law Group a special shout-out for sponsoring our Valor Adventures T-shirts for the event, as well as bringing our families special Cravory treats for all the kids. It has been such a pleasure to grow with this incredible Law Firm from the very beginning, and we couldn’t be any more grateful for their ongoing support and generosity.

Let us not forget all of the special Gold Star spouses that continuously put their faith and trust in us to put on life lasting memorable experiences for their children. While their kids were off saving the city from the undead, all of our spouses were able to sit back, relax and enjoy their fall themed spread of snacks, appetizers and beverages. What else would make the night better than to enjoy some gourmet candy apples provided graciously by Katie’s Caramel Apples? We almost regret having them, since a few of us (myself included) have developed a bit of an addiction to them. Katie has a way of transforming a regular fruit into a gourmet masterpiece, with chocolate and caramel as her medium. Since San Diego weather wasn’t quite “fall” cooperative just yet, we thought we would indulge our senses in a little Apple Cider to get the feeling just right. Each Gold Star Spouse was gifted their very own Corkcicle Tumbler to keep their beverages piping hot the whole night. Corkcicle has also been an incredible supporter of Active Valor from the very beginning, personally packaging each shipment to make sure our families are taken care of.

Our Zombie Hunt was truly a night to remember for everyone. It was such a blessing for us to have so many people from different walks, backgrounds and organizations, come together to make a special night for some very deserving people. We can’t express the amount of gratitude we have for every single person that made it all possible. Thank you again to ALL of our amazing volunteers who spent over 10 hours with us to put smiles on all of our kid’s faces, and to all of our amazing sponsors who continue to show their love for the community and for our organization. Thank you again to the Carlsbad Safety Training Center, Carlsbad Police Department, KBZ FX, SCI San Diego, Batta Fulkerson Law Group, Hometown Realty, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Katie’s Caramel Apples and Corkcicle. Also a very special thank you to Bill Rowland, Jason Kennedy, Lara Ryan, Casey Lamaku and 1st LT Lamaku, for all the time and hard work put into making this day happen. We are so very grateful to have you all as a part of Active Valor.


October 20th, 2018


Carlsbad Safety Training Center

  • Carlsbad Police Department
  • Carlsbad S.W.A.T.
  • Carlsbad Safety Training Center
  • City of Carlsbad
  • Blackheart Building
  • SCI San Diego Chapter
  • Batta Fulkerson
  • KBZ FX
  • Hometown Realty
  • Jersey Mike's Subs
  • Katie's Caramel Apples
  • Corkcicle