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Archive for the ‘Veterans’ Category

Viral Filmmaker Honors Life of America’s Most Deployed Soldier Killed in Action

Monday, November 11th, 2019

HERE AM I, SEND ME

On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, one of YouTube’s most popular filmmakers, Devin Super Tramp, traveled to Normandy with a team of Special Forces soldiers, veterans and Gold Star Mother Scoti Domeij, to document as they jumped from a WWII aircraft to honor the life of Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer Domeij. Domeij was the most deployed U.S. soldier (14 deployments) to have been killed in action (Oct. 22, 2011).

The film will debut on YouTube on Veterans Day, 11/11, and will be sent to film festivals worldwide. We’d be honored if you’d consider covering this moving piece on service and memorializing someone who gave all to our country this Veterans Day.

FROM THOSE WHO WERE THERE:

“Participation in the 75th Anniversary of D-Day was a lifetime experience of lifetime experiences,” said Matthew Griffin, former Army Ranger and Co-founder of Combat Flip Flops. “A team of Rangers, Green Berets, pilots and filmmakers came together to honor a legend, Army Ranger Kris Domeij. We did this to memorialize his character, provide perspective, and honor the sacrifice of the thousands that lost their lives on D-Day to ensure freedom for the oppressed.”

“We took on this project not knowing exactly what we were going to capture or even how, but we knew it was the opportunity of a lifetime and that we had to be a part of it,” said Devin Graham, Director/DP at Devin Super Tramp. “It ended up being a more meaningful experience than we could have imagined. Due to the subject matter, historical locations, and the personal stories shared, each day after filming there was an immense emotional weight. It genuinely opened our eyes and changed our perspectives on sacrifice, family and gratitude.”

“While we by no means want to compare ourselves to the veterans we had the privilege to work with there, we chose Here Am I, Send Me for the title of the documentary feeling it not only represented so many of these soldiers but also fell right in line with how we felt when this project was first presented to us. Filming these veterans, and a Gold Star mother, and sharing with them this experience in Normandy, was an intimidating and overwhelming responsibility but we essentially raised our hands and said “we’ll do it, send us!” and we are forever grateful that we did.”

A Veterans Day Message From SSD

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Our message on this 100th anniversary of Veterans Day is pretty simple and like Remembrance Day, it goes for our brothers and sisters both here in the United States as well as our allies.

Thank you for your service, and please keep it up.

For those of us who aren’t serving, support those that do.

Metisentry Acquires ScholarVets

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

AKRON, OH (Nov. 8, 2019) Metisentry, LLC, based in Akron, OH, has announced the acquisition of ScholarVets as of Nov. 1, 2019.

ScholarVets is based in Silver Spring, MD, and works to connect military veterans with academic partner schools more efficiently. Through the use of its patent-pending web platform and mobile application, ScholarVets is arming veterans with a powerful communication channel.

This, in turn, is increasing veteran graduation rates post-military service. 

“Our vision has always been one where our platform would help 100% of military-connected students graduate and obtain meaningful employment post-military service,” stated John Lunardi, President of ScholarVets. “This acquisition will not only further our original vision but because of Metisentry’s strong ties to the military via MilitaryHire.com and Willco Technologies, will take ScholarVets to new heights.”

The acquisition of ScholarVets is happening on the heels of Metisentry’s recent acquisition of MilitaryHire, which works to connect veterans with employers seeking their unique skills.   

According to Metisentry CEO, Marling Engle, “We see ScholarVets as a fantastic complement to our other military-related portfolio companies. These organizations are working to connect and help veterans realize their goals post-military service directly. We’re very proud and excited to be a part of that process for them.”

The acquisition was finalized on Nov. 1, 2019, and the ScholarVets staff will remain on— and grow. Metisentry will be acquiring the business through an investment from SaaS Factory, the related portfolio company.

Leupold & Stevens, Black Rifle Coffee Company Partner with Twitch Streamers to Raise $72,000 for Boot Campaign

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Leupold & Stevens, Inc., and Black Rifle Coffee Company have partnered to donate over $72,000 to the Boot Campaign, a non-profit organization that tirelessly works to support military veterans across the country. The funds were raised in conjunction with a group of personalities on the multimedia streaming platform, Twitch.tv. Popular Twitch personalities Eli_doubletap, Tweak, Klean, Matbest11x, Baddie, KiiNGS, Alex_Zedra, DonutOperator, and Drdemolitionmatt, streamed through the night on Saturday, Nov. 2, applying all crowd-sourced donations directly to the Boot Campaign. Leupold-sponsored product giveaways were a highlight of the special event, which ultimately raised $72,643.30.

“Leupold and Black Rifle Coffee Company conceived of the fundraiser, but it was the strength of community and dedication to the mission that made it as wildly successful as it was,” said Shane Meisel, Director of Marketing for Leupold & Stevens, Inc. “The Boot Campaign is one of the most dedicated veteran support programs in the country, and everyone – from the streamers to their fans on Twitch – showed up and backed the cause.”

Founded in 2009, the Boot Campaign has given more than $12 million in financial aid to service members, veterans, and their families. The organization’s programs assist with housing needs, career and education costs, PTSD/TBI treatment, and health and wellness programs. Funds are raised through general donations, corporate sponsorships, and the retail sale of combat boots and branded merchandise.

“Our mission, from the beginning, has been to support health and wellness, restore families, restart careers, reduce suicides, and reinforce communities,” said John Hughes, Board Member and Treasurer of the Boot Campaign. “We couldn’t do what we do for service members and veterans without the support of companies like Leupold and Black Rifle Coffee Company.”

For more information on Leupold® products, please visit us at Leupold.com.

XGO Holding Veterans/Military Appreciation Photo Contest

Monday, November 4th, 2019

Here at XGO, our garments are inspired by all of the branches of the United States Military. This November we would like to say thank you and recognize all our vets as well as active military. In honor of Veteran’s Day we will be giving away a $500 (MSRP) shopping spree on our website (proxgo.com). Simply head over to the link, bit.ly/31WRiX6, like our Facebook page, upload your favorite military photo while serving and your email address.  You can also head enter via Instagram by simply adding a photo and hashtagging #XGOMilitaryPhotoContest to win. Winner must provide proof of service.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Announces Finalists for 9th Annual Hiring Our Heroes Awards Recognizing Employers and Individuals that Have Gone Above and Beyond to Hire, Retain, and Empower Our Nation’s Veterans and Military Spouses

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today announced the finalists for the 9th annual Hiring Our Heroes awards. These 24 finalists have demonstrated leadership in addressing the challenges faced by veterans, transitioning service members, military spouses, and military caregivers in their search for meaningful employment.

“This year’s award finalists are recognized for their tremendous impact on the military community by leading innovative employment programs and initiatives for military-connected talent,” said Eric Eversole, a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and president of Hiring Our Heroes. “They have demonstrated leadership in creating long-term economic opportunities for transitioning service members, veterans, military spouses, and caregivers.” The Hiring Our Heroes awards are presented in six categories: Veteran and Military Spouse Employment; Military Community Nonprofit Leadership; Post-9/11 Veteran Employment; Wounded Veteran and Military Caregiver Employment; Military Spouse Employment and Mentoring; and Individual Leadership. This year’s finalists are:

Lee Anderson Veteran and Military Spouse Employment Award, for overall excellence in hiring and retaining veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses: Accenture; DaVita; Prudential Financial; and Walmart.

Military Community Nonprofit Leadership Award, for demonstrated commitment to supporting veteran and military spouse employment and economic opportunity: PenFed Foundation; PsychArmor; NextOp; and Operation Gratitude.

Steve Robinson Post-9/11 Veteran Employment Award, for effective and sustained efforts to enhance the ability of post-9/11 veterans and transitioning service members to find meaningful employment: Cushman & Wakefield; LinkedIn; Salesforce; and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Wounded Veteran and Military Caregiver Employment Award, for demonstrated leadership in addressing the unique challenges and demands for wounded, ill, and injured veterans as well as military caregivers in their search for meaningful employment: AARP; Amazon; Hilton Hotels; and Wounded Warrior Project.

Military Spouse Employment and Mentoring Award, for demonstrated hiring, mentorship, and support of military spouses in their search for meaningful employment: B.E.A.T. LLC; Lockheed Martin;  Board of Veterans’ Appeals; and Walmart.

Colonel Michael Endres Leadership Award for Individual Excellence in Veteran Employment, for an individual who has gone above and beyond to make a difference in employment opportunities for veterans, transitioning service members, and spouses: Jim Beamesderfer, Prudential Financial; Danny Chung, Microsoft; Al Hanley, Troops Into Transportation; and Melissa Stirling, Hilton Worldwide. 

The winner in each category will be announced during the 9th Annual Lee Anderson Hiring Our Heroes Awards Gala presented by Toyota at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on November 13, 2019. The Hiring Our Heroes Awards Committee will select the winners.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative launched in March 2011 as a nationwide effort to connect veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses with meaningful employment opportunities. Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vast network of state and local chambers and strategic partners from the public, private, and non-profit sectors, the goal of Hiring Our Heroes is to create a movement across America in hundreds of communities where veterans and military families return every day.

Early on, the organization adopted two strategies: (1) grassroots engagement and (2) public-private partnerships. Through its commitment-based engagement of the business community, more than 1,200 job fairs held across the country and on military installations overseas, and a suite of free online career tools, we’ve worked with our partners to help hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses find jobs.

Scientists Find a Direct Link Between Individual’s Immune System and Sensitivity to PTSD; Seeking Finding and Volunteers to Further Research Efforts

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

October 18, 2019: Huntsville, AL: Little Orange Fish, a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to furthering community mental health, announced the launch of its Inner Defense Research Initiative, which is a collaborative effort aimed at identifying markers in the immune system that indicate and possibly predict sensitivity to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). This initiative, a collaboration including iXpressGenes Inc., Paragon Research Corporation, the University of Alabama at Huntsville and individual contributors is based on a breakthrough study reporting a strong correlation between the immune system and stress affliction.  The analysis, which is based on a simple blood draw, might guide clinical approaches to PTSD diagnosis and treatment, possibly bringing a revolutionary solution to a crippling problem for many people.

The Inner Defense Research Initiative focuses on developing the diagnostic screen to inform solutions for prevention and treatment, to provide education and outreach and to influence policy change.

For Dr. Joe Ng, founder, and president of iXpressGenes, this mission is personal.  Having survived the mass shooting at UAH in 2011, this research was born from the struggles and firsthand observations of the carnage- caused traumatic stress.  “In honor of those who did not survive and those who did, but suffer terribly,” Dr. Ng said, “I want to find a path to resiliency. The immune system might be that path.”

Dr. Ng’s company, iXpressGenes,  (iXG) is a synthetic biology company located at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, specializing in solutions based on molecular protein structures. iXG has conducted preliminary studies of T-cell receptor transcriptome sequences that offer an unprecedented analysis of linking an immune repertoire to sensitivity or resilience to PTSD, demonstrating that certain immune conditions are more common in people with PTSD. This knowledge opens up a wealth of preventative measures one can take as well as directed treatment options for long-term health.

“Approaching PTSD from the perspective of the immune system changes everything,” said Peggy Sammon, Director, iXG. “The neural-immune axis brings a new set of tools to those who are seeking solutions for PTSD and other debilitating stress conditions.”

While the preliminary findings are encouraging and provide strong support for the proposed study;  the next step is to expand the size of their participant pool and validate the findings in a bigger study. The goal is to collect immune repertoire data for a thousand or more soldiers and first responders who have been exposed to trauma to help establish a secure and intelligent database for analyses and data mining in the search for predictive markers.  Once the markers have been identified and verified, intervention strategies can be recommended.  The team is seeking funding to perform a larger study.

“There is such promise in the science we’ve seen,” John Schmitt, Iraq war veteran and collaborating microbiologist added, “we have built a powerful team of technical experts and innovators in the field, but we will need the support from the wider community to accelerate this work and really make a difference in lives.” 

To learn more about the Inner Defense Research Initiative, participate in the study or to donate, please visit www.innerdefense.org.

Free Tool Boxes For Veterans

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

We’ve got a lot of veterans in my family. Not only is my father a veteran, but he’s also a retired Air Force maintenance guy. He recently ran across an announcement for “free tool boxes for veterans” and suggested that I share it with my readership. I thought it was a good idea, so here it is?:

REAch program has shipped more than 8,000 toolboxes to Veterans

In 1994, U.S. Army Air Corps WWII Veteran and former POW Clarence Robert “Bud” Shepherd opened a small warehouse in Burlington, North Carolina, to assist 501 (c) (3) non-profit organizations, like schools, churches and daycares.

Shepherd refocused his attention on Post-9/11 combat wounded Veterans in 2012 by creating the Veteran Toolbox Program. He provided them with free toolboxes to assist with their transition into civilian life. Although Post-9/11 Purple Heart Veterans are priority for the program, all Veterans can apply.

“I always wanted to do something for Veterans, and I came up with the toolbox program,” said Shepherd. “We talked to some tool companies, and they were interested in getting involved. We talked to Stanley and Black and Decker about what we wanted to do and they came back with one word – absolutely! APEX tools, Wooster paint brushes, and Johnson & Johnson are also great supporters.”

The REAch Veteran Toolbox Program has shipped more than 8,000 toolboxes to Veterans, which contains about $600 worth of tools.

“This is the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done in my lifetime,” said the 94-year-old.

Shepherd works six days a week, gets up at 5 a.m., and leaves work at 6 p.m. most days. But he’s no stranger to hard work.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943, when he was 18 years old. He served in the 8th Air Force in England as a tail-gunner on a B-17. Enemy forces shot down his plane six months before the end of WWII. Shepherd was captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp near Berth, Germany.

“Once we got settled down, things went along fairly smooth because there was 9,000 of us, all Air Force people,” Shepherd recalled. “About 7,500 Americans and a few Brits. We were liberated by the Russians and I made my way back home.”

“We hear from a lot of these guys and their families,” Shepherd said. “Last week we got an e-mail saying ‘You saved my husband’s life. He hasn’t been out of the house in three months but ever since he got his toolbox he’s been out in the garage or the backyard working on something.’”

REAch operates in Graham, North Carolina, but ships the toolboxes across the country.

“I go to the VA hospital in Durham, North Carolina, for yearly physicals, but my health is excellent,” he said. “These people down there that I deal with at the VA hospital, they are just good people… In my lifetime, I’ve been blessed, and I enjoy every minute of it.

Learn more about the Veteran Toolbox Program at: reainc.org

This article was written by Tim Hudak and published via blogs.va.gov.

Author Tim Hudak joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.