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From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

Heartware Stories - A Puppy Named Freedom

Winner in Branded Series


Heartware Stories is Ace’s mini documentary series showing the world why we are the helpful place. At Ace, we exist to help others. We show how family run hardware stores are helping their community. Adam an Ace Hardware owner gave a military veteran, Matthew, a puppy to provide companionship through battles of PTSD. Once Adam saw how it changed Matthew, his purpose began. Adam then started Warrior Freedom Service Dog program. Training and gifting veterans with support dogs.

Strategy and Execution

Ace’s best performing social media content was showing a photo and how a store was helping their community. We decided to create videos of these helpful moments. The project began in 2019. We set the goal to find 100 stories of helpful by 2024, Ace’s 100th anniversary. We also wanted to show the world that helpful is wherever you go, so we set an additional goal of a story for every state. Our biggest challenge was finding a story for every state. We followed every Ace Hardware store on social media to catch their act. Checked Google news alerts for blurbs about good deeds. We even read yelp reviews to find out their above and beyond good deeds. Our store owners are incredibly humble. Filming their story made them feel like they were bragging or taking away from their act. What made the retailers change their mind? We told them, we want to spread good news to this world that has seen such pain and disconnection. Once they saw how their story could motivate a neighbor or bring light to a charity that has no marketing support, the store owners quickly agreed to participate.


The comments we have received on YouTube have exceeded our expectations. Viewers are seeing small family run businesses that are consumed with day to day operations, a pandemic, hiring woes, take the time to make a difference in their community. For the story we submitted, we received the comment “Oh my goodness. What care. Taking the time to understand Complex PTSD. I want to come live in your community and work in your store. And walk beside those with trauma. God bless your kind heart.” We have been invigorated by constant comments of support a couple Heartware Stories into the Sundance Film festival for 2024 and 2025 consideration. We believe our message that “we exist to help others” can only help our fellow neighbor believe they can do the same.


Video for Heartware Stories - A Puppy Named Freedom

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Ace Hardware


Entry Credits