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Archive for the ‘Veterans’ Category

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, Partners Host Veterans’ Fishing Event to Celebrate Dedication of New Griffin Reservoir Fishing Pier

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

Scranton, Penn. — U.S. Armed Forces veterans were honored with a fishing event Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018 at Griffin Reservoir near Scranton to celebrate the dedication of a new public fishing pier that gives community members of all ages and physical abilities improved access to the popular impoundment.

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), Pennsylvania American Water, American Water Charitable Foundation (AWCF) and a consortium of local labor unions hosted the event. Union volunteers assisted the veterans, each of whom received a free rod, reel and tackle courtesy of Pure Fishing, plus additional items courtesy of Carhartt. Prior to the dedication ceremony, a catered lunch was provided to all veterans and other participants.

The dedication recognized USA volunteers from Pennsylvania American Water, Utility Workers Local 537, Electrical Workers Local 81 and Carpenters Local 445 who donated more than 400 hours—a labor value of nearly $15,000—to clear the site and construct the 18 ft. x 25 ft. handicap-accessible pier.

The project was one of three funded by a $60,000 grant from the AWCF to the USA and organized through the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) conservation program.

AWCF and Pennsylvania American Water provided additional support to complete the driveway and parking lot, further improving access to Griffin Reservoir. The project also received funds allocated from the USA’s United Mine Workers of America Conservation Dinner in Fairmont, West Virginia.

Located in Lackawanna County, the 110-acre Pennsylvania American Water reservoir is flush with a variety of gamefish, including above-average populations of largemouth bass, bluegills and black crappies. The reservoir was opened to public shore-fishing 2011, but access was limited until the new pier was completed.

“This project is the culmination of a unique partnership that benefits our community,” said Pennsylvania American Water President Jeffrey McIntyre. “Working with both our Charitable Foundation and USA, we brought a team of volunteers together to create this beautiful spot that we are now able to share with every member of our community. Pennsylvania American Water is proud to continue its commitment to our communities and our neighbors.”

“The American Water Charitable Foundation was proud to support the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance with funding for this outstanding project, which will enable greater interaction with and appreciation for our water resources among the local community served by Pennsylvania American Water,” added Aldie Warnock, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the American Water Charitable Foundation.

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Richard Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder were also on hand. “We’re just so proud to be part of a movement that helps our skilled union workers give back their time, energy and talents to make everyone’s lives better by being able to come out and enjoy this beautiful reservoir,” said Bloomingdale.

“We are honored to work with Pennsylvania American Water, American Water Charitable Foundation and our many hardworking union volunteers, who joined forces through the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s Work Boots on the Ground program to complete the new fishing pier,” added USA Director of Conservation and Community Outreach Forrest Parker. “This project will benefit the local community for many years to come.”

While the veterans enjoyed their lakeside meal and fall fishing trip, they were also eager to return to the new pier on future fishing adventures. “This is great,” said Clifford Davies, a retired Navy veteran with 20 years of service. “I look forward to coming back here again next summer.”


Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Many of you may know my long-time friend Mel Terkla. He and his wife Rena have started a new company called PocketUp, specializing in load carriage.

They started out with various pockets for organizing larger packs but they are introducing the Park Pack, a simple daypack design.

Everything is reasonably priced and made by them. Be sure to check them out at

Korean War Veteran Receives Eagle Scout Rank

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

After nearly 70 years of waiting, Ed Soria finally received his Eagle Scout Award.

According to the Boy Scouts of America, Ed served in the US Army during the Korean War. Shortly before leaving for duty, Ed submitted his paperwork to earn the rank of Eagle Scout but never received his award, until last week.

During the war, Ed and 700 others were captured and taken as prisoners of war. Only 296 of those POWs survived (known as the Tiger Survivors for the Tiger Death March) and Ed was fortunate enough to be one of them. To this day, Ed feels strongly that his experience as a Boy Scout directly contributed to his survival.

“My Eagle Scout training helped me tremendously to survive in a very harsh environment,” Soria said.

While he believes that the award may have been given to his mother while he was gone, it never surfaced when he returned home from the war. He then went on to serve again in Vietnam years later.

68 years after submitting his final paperwork, Ed finally received his Eagle Scout award at his home in Lake Shastina, California. “Only in America, such a free country, a beautiful country that we have, can a man accomplish his dreams – as far as you can go – and it’s all up to you,” Soria says.

Soria says he still keeps in contact with the remaining Tiger Survivors. He plans to hang his Eagle Scout medals with his other military medal accomplishments in his home.

From Army Veteran to Transportation Leader, Pittsburgh Man Wins Taxicab Operator of the Year Award

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

Star Transportation and VETaxi Founder to Be Honored at National Convention in Las Vegas

(ROCKVILLE, Md.)—After returning home from Vietnam, Army veteran Robert DeLucia Sr. learned the cab business in Pittsburgh from the ground up, starting as a driver.

But one thing was different about DeLucia. Starting on his first day of driving, he found out what his clients preferred to drink, such as coffee or tea, and would have it ready for them when he picked them up—and he always dressed in a shirt and tie, of course.

“I’m a veteran. I’ve always dressed well, maintained my vehicles well,” DeLucia said. “That’s how I grew my business, with those service standards. And I maintain them.”

Now, his dedication to excellence will be recognized on the national stage, when DeLucia is named the Taxicab Operator of the Year by the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA), the oldest and largest trade association of its kind in the world.

Starting with one vehicle, a limousine, in 1982, DeLucia’s company flourished over the years by offering consistent service, embracing innovation and, most importantly, continuing to diversify. He incorporated as Star Limousine, and later founded Cranberry Taxi in 1989 and Classy Cab in 2005. DeLucia also offers paratransit, ambulatory and nonambulatory services to veterans, in American-made vehicles driven by veterans, a service called VETaxi.

“Bob embodies that notion of making a good first impression,” said Alfred LaGasse, CEO of the TLPA. “Always impeccably dressed and focused on what he needs to accomplish, he brings that sense of style and focus to his companies every day.”

DeLucia will accept his award in front of hundreds of industry peers at the TLPA’s 100th Annual Convention & Trade Show on Oct. 28 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Attention Military Retirees – FEDVIP Plan Details Now Available

Friday, October 12th, 2018

The military retiree dental plan will go away at the end of this year. If you want to continue coverage, you must enroll in one of the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) plans. The upside is that we will now have vision insurance as well as dental.

The 2019 FEDVIP plans and premiums are now available. I’ve reviewed several of the plans and there are multiple options, and almost all of them are less expensive than the old dental plan. In fact, depending on what you need, it may be less expensive for you to have both dental and vision insurance than it was to just carry dental insurance under the old military provided plan.

You can compare both dental and vision plans at

MODTAC Antenna Keeper Now Available

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Created by a pair of SF NCOs, the Antenna Keeper allows one-handed adjustment of VHF whip antenna length. No more rubber bags and folding.

The device is inexpensive and causes the antenna to roll rather than crease, increasing the lifespan of the antenna and avoiding a break while out on patrol.

Black Rifle Coffee Company Opens Tennessee Roasting Facility

Friday, August 24th, 2018

For Immediate Release – SAN ANTONIO – Veteran-owned and operated Black Rifle Coffee Company is proud to announce the opening of its Manchester, Tennessee, roasting facility as part of the company’s $6 million investment in that state. Combined with their Utah facility, the Tennessee plant will ensure that consumers all over America receive the freshest coffee available, roasted to order and delivered right to their door.

“As our company grows, so does our need to be close to our customers,” said Evan Hafer, the CEO and founder of Black Rifle Coffee Company. “Opening the roasting facility in Tennessee gives us the ability to deliver the highest-quality product to the entire eastern half of the United States in the most cost-efficient and timely manner possible.”

The Manchester facility is expected to create 52 jobs over the next five years, and since Black Rifle Coffee Company is committed to hiring 10,000 veterans as the business expands, qualified veterans living in Tennessee will have first consideration for any open positions. As a further commitment to former service members, the company will give preference to veteran-owned businesses as they bring on new vendors and suppliers.

“Our commitment to veterans is one of the cornerstones this company was built on,” said Mat Best, the vice president of Black Rifle Coffee Company. “Whether it’s supporting veteran and first responder causes, funding the Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program, or giving veterans and veteran-owned companies priority in our hiring process and vendor programs, our company will always stand with those who protect our country and the communities we live in.”

Black Rifle Coffee Company is hosting a grand opening event on August 22 from noon to 3 p.m. at the new facility located at 621 Park Tower Road in Manchester. This event is open to the public and will include a ribbon cutting with words from Evan Hafer, Mat Best, and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe; a tour, food, entertainment, and lots of fresh-roasted coffee will follow!

President George W Bush Takes On New Role As The Global War On Terror Memorial Foundation’s Honorary Chairman

Monday, August 20th, 2018

The non-profit foundation welcomes new board members, staff, advisors, ambassadors and architectural partner with expertise in government, defense, investment, foundation, retail industries as well as building and plans.

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 13, 2018 – The Global War on Terror (GWOT) Memorial Foundation, the congressionally-designated non-profit foundation tasked with organizing, fundraising and coordinating efforts to build a new memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., today announced new board of directors, staff, advisory board members, ambassadors and architectural partner, including naming former President George W. Bush as its Honorary Chairman.

“I’m honored to join my friend, President and CEO Michael “Rod” Rodriguez, and the Members of the Board as Honorary Chairman of the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation,” said President George W. Bush. “The highest honor of the presidency was serving as Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces. And my most solemn duty was to support them and honor them. Laura and I are pleased that this memorial on the National Mall will help Americans remember the brave men and women who selflessly served our nation in the name of freedom.”

Since leaving office, President Bush has championed efforts to support GWOT veterans and their families through the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. They work to help post-9/11 veterans and their families make successful transitions to civilian life, specifically by addressing the challenges of employment and overcoming the invisible wounds of war. Core programs of the Military Service Initiative include a partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the Veteran Employment Transition Roadmap and the Warrior Wellness Alliance, which connects peer-to-peer veteran networks with best-in-class health care providers. Annual Team 43 sporting events, such as the Bush Institute Warrior Open golf tournament and W100K mountain bike ride, draw attention to the strength, sacrifice and resilience of post-9/11 warriors and their families.

“We’re humbled and honored to welcome President Bush to the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation,” said Michael “Rod” Rodriguez, CEO of the GWOT Memorial Foundation. “Having served under President Bush when I wore the uniform and then working on his Military Service Initiative Advisory Council after my time on active duty, I’ve witnessed firsthand the dedication, compassion and true servant leadership the former President displays at all times. I am blessed to welcome him to the GWOT Memorial Foundation team not only as our Honorary Chairman but as a friend.”

“Our new Board Members, Staff, Advisors and Ambassadors bring a wealth of experience and expertise as well as share in the President’s passion and commitment to build a national memorial that honors GWOT veterans, their families and the American people. We’re confident that their leadership and experience will strengthen the organization and inspire others to support our sacred duty to build a national memorial on America’s front yard as our GWOT Memorial Foundation team continues to grow,” continued Rod.

Over the months ahead, the GWOT Memorial Foundation is focused on advocating for land within the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To prepare for this next step toward successful accomplishment of the mission, the organization is welcoming several new board of directors, advisory board members and ambassadors as the organization continues its growth. The full list of new members is as follows:

The GWOT Memorial Foundation welcomes the following new members:

New Board of Director Members:

• Kenneth A. Hersh, President and Chief Executive Officer, George W. Bush Presidential Center

• Joseph M. DePinto, President and Chief Executive Officer, 7-Eleven, Inc.

• Colonel Michael Lacey, USA, Retired. GWOT Veteran, Special Counsel to the U.S. Army General Counsel and Blue Star Father

New Director of Operations:

• Kelly L. Rodriguez, USA, Retired. GWOT Veteran, Blue Star Mother

New Board of Advisor Members:

• General Peter Pace, USMC, Retired. 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

• The Honorable Martha E. Newton, Founder, Heath Strategies

• Command Sergeant Major Isaia Vimoto, USA, Retired. GWOT Veteran, Gold Star and Blue Star Father

• Colonel Miguel Howe, USA, Retired. GWOT Veteran, April and Jay Graham Fellow of the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute

• John “JJ” Pinter, GWOT Veteran, Executive Director of Team RWB

• James Fisher, Executive Director of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation

• Kevin Sullivan, Founder of Kevin Sullivan Communications, Inc. and Sr. Advisor, External Affairs at George W. Bush Presidential Center

New Ambassadors:

• Flo Groberg, Captain, Retired. GWOT Veteran, Medal of Honor Recipient

• Jane Horton, Gold Star Spouse, Senior Advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense

• Maggie Duskin, Gold Star Spouse and Blue Star Mother, Duskin Stephens Executive Board

• Bryon Vincent, USA, Retired. GWOT Veteran, Blue Star Spouse

• Brendan Dignan, GWOT Veteran and attorney with Baker Botts LLP, counsel to the foundation

Architectural Partner:

• Winstanley Architects and Planners

To learn more about the GWOT Memorial Foundation or to donate, visit or follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

(photo credit Grant Miller Photography)