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Newsletter - January 2014 #2

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once posed the question, “What are you doing for others?” Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities. The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. I invite you to do something, however small, to improve the life of others, including active duty military, Veterans, first responders, law enforcement and their families.

Also, I am once again urging your support of OTT13367, the Vow to Hire Heroes Extension Act of 2013. This bipartisan bill extends the work opportunity tax credit for hiring veterans through December 31, 2016. Please join me in contacting your elected officials at and and urge their support. For a one page analysis of this bill, click here.

Best regards,

Debbie Gregory, CEO


Use Your VA Benefits


Waiting for the Right Time to Buy?

NOW is a great time to buy a home! Home values are on the rise, and while mortgage rates have started to rise as well, rates are still very good. There are different lending programs to choose from, and you need to make an informed decision about which one will best suit your financial needs. VA eligible? You can buy a home with ZERO down, and in many cases, at no cost! At VetsCanSave, we offer FHA, VA, and Conventional mortgages nationwide, and our clients benefit from an additional mortgage management program called ArcLoan®. Automatic Rate Cut (ARC). This program allows Veterans to take advantage of interest rate cycles by lowering their mortgages for little to no cost when rates fall. This results in increased savings and reduced debt. For more information with no obligation, or to get pre-approved, click here. VetsCanSave passionately serves Veterans and their families.


Featured School
Yellow Ribbon Program

James Simmons

Military Students Recommend Clarkson College for Health Care Education

James Simmons, M.S.N., R.N., served in the U.S. Army from 1981–2010 and is now a current graduate student in the Master of Science in Nursing program at Clarkson College, a top-ranked, private health care college in Omaha, Neb. A fellow Army Nurse Corps officer of Simmons’ graduated from Clarkson College and recommended the school to him for advancing his career to become a family nurse practitioner. The flexibility of the program and expertise level of the faculty, in comparison to other colleges, stood out to James. On top of a high-quality, accredited education, Simmons is thankful for the tuition and fees benefits package he receives for his education. “My post 9-11 GI Bill, along with the Yellow Ribbon (YR) program, pays for of my tuition and fees. For that, I am grateful.” Read more about Simmons’ educational experience and tuition and fees benefits at Clarkson College.


Benefits You Earned

Check out your benefits!

Your Post 9/11 GI Bill covers

Check out our Education Area including our Veteran School Directory You can also read about accredited universities for military distance learning here.

Jobs & More Jobs

Job Board

Register Today!

Visit our Job Area - Check out our Job Board with thousands of jobs in many occupational areas. Register as a Job Seeker and upload your resume so that Employers can find you. You should also check out our Virtual Job Fair of top jobs, and all the valuable employment resources we provide.


Recognizing Gwinnett County Government

Veteran Employer Salute

Featured Employer and Inaugural Award Winner

Because we value employers who make a conscience effort to hire those who have served, has created the “Veteran Friendly Employer Salute”. This award recognizes Veteran-friendly companies that go the extra mile to repay the debt owed to our nation’s Veterans. The first Veteran Friendly Employer Salute is awarded to Gwinnett County Government in Gwinnett County, GA. Gwinnett views Veterans as logical, preferred hires for staffing their county. Approximately 790 of Gwinnett County’s employees are either Veterans, active duty military or serving in the Reserve. Gwinnett County Government exemplifies the dedication to the Military and Veteran community that all employers should strive for.


For The Families

Gary Sinise

Gary Sinise Does it Again

If you don’t think Gary Sinise is a national treasure, we invite you to view the pictures from last month’s Snowball Express. The 8th annual Snowball Express event in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas kicked off on December 12th. The Snowball Express event recognizes the families of the fallen American military heroes who will never return home, and gives them the opportunity to connect with others who have suffered a similar loss. Gary and the Lt. Dan Band once again treated the nearly 1,800 children and surviving spouses to a private concert. If you would like to learn more about Snowball Express, please visit them on the web. For more information on the great work that Gary does, click here.


Weeklong Resort Stays For $349


You Deserve Some R&R!

Armed Forces Vacation Club is a FREE membership club open to active duty, guard, reserve, veteran and retired members of the Armed Forces. AFVC provides access to Space-A resort rentals worldwide for $349 per week – that’s per unit which sleeps 2-8! Forget cramped quarters. Spread out in family-sized resort accommodations, many of which include on-site recreational facilities, living rooms, full kitchen, washer and dryer, kids activities and on-site pools! Destinations include Orlando, Branson, Las Vegas, Williamsburg and many more. Start your search today, you’ve earned it! Learn more here.


Special Discounts

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Your Company Featured on

Reach Active Duty Military, Guard and Reservists, Veterans and Military Spouses with jobs, educational opportunities, and excellent products and services. For more information, click here.


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Families of the Fallen

Hands on Flag

TAPS Supports Military Family Bereavement Study

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) proudly supports the National Military Family Bereavement Study. Managed by the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the Military Family Bereavement Study is the first professional examination of the long-term impact of grief and loss on families losing a loved one who served in the Armed Forces. Tina Saari, a long-time TAPS staff member, will be leaving TAPS to join the study. A military spouse, Saari has devoted the last ten years of her professional life to assisting families of fallen troops through TAPS. If you are interested in participating in the study, visit them on the web.


January 22nd Colloquium at USC

Combat and Family

PTSD and its Impact on Military Families

The Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families is proud to present “Combat and Family: Post Traumatic Stress and the Impact on Military Families.” You are invited to join the USC School of Social Work for a colloquium with Canadian Senator and retired Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, who commanded the United Nations forces during the Rwandan genocide. Dallaire will discuss his personal story and the impact post-traumatic stress has on military families. To register for the event on January 22nd, click here.


Save the Date

Give an Hour

Three Days of Service, Education and Celebration

Mark your calendar to participate in Give an Hour’s “A Celebration of Service” April 6th-8th, 2014. The three day event in Washington, DC will feature a community service project, a conference to discuss educating the next generation of mental health professionals, a VIP reception and a performance of Water by the Spoonful, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Quiara Alegria Hudes. For more information, visit them on the web.


Healing Through Meditation

Operation Warrior Welness

Town Hall Forum

The David Lynch Foundation Center for Leadership Performance is proudly sponsoring the New York Town Hall Meditation, a forum for leaders on the research and applications of the evidence-based Transcendental Meditation technique for promoting creativity, enhancing performance, and overcoming stress and stress-related disorders. The event will take place on February 11th , and features Bridgewater Associates Founder Ray Dalio, Dr. Oz, Chef Mario Batali, and CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin. Proceeds from ticket sales will be used to teach at-risk youth and Veterans in New York City to meditate. For more information, click here.


A History of Service

Black Veterans Summit

CalVet to Co-Host California Black Veterans Summit

Throughout American history, Black veterans and Black military personnel have played a vital role in the development, economic vitality and security of our state and our Nation. To honor that legacy, on February 24th, CalVet will co-host the first California Black Veterans Summit. The event, taking place at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, seeks to develop lines of communication between the Black veterans’ community, Black military history organizations and CalVet. Dynamic speakers will offer key insights on issues that are germane to Black veterans and their environments. Panelists will discuss current data and trends to bridge the information gap that exists for Black veterans regarding the education, employment, housing, health and other benefits they have earned through military service. Additionally, experts will be on hand to help with navigating the benefits claims process more efficiently. For more information, call 916-653-1402 or click here to register.


The Habitat Hearts for Heroes Builders Ball

Habitat Builders Ball 2014

Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys

Join more than 350 community and business leaders, caring corporations and dedicated individuals who, for one night, trade in a tool belt and hard hat for a little glitz and glamour! The Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV Builder’s Ball raises funds to build Enriched Neighborhoods™ for low-income veteran families, while honoring community leaders who help make that dream a reality. This year, Habitat will honor the Home Depot Foundation and “The Santa Clarita 7”. (The number 7 represents the 7% of the Santa Clarita population that is made up of Veterans). The evening is also a unique opportunity to hear from and celebrate the Veteran families who will be moving in soon! This year’s event is Friday, February 21, 2014 at 6 pm at the Universal Sheraton. To purchase tickets or to inquire about sponsorships, click here. Military Connection is a proud supporter of Habitat for Heroes and serves on their Advisory Board.


Complimentary Membership


Veteran Business Owners

VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association working to ensure the development, growth and prosperity of Veteran Owned Businesses, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Businesses of all sizes. VAMBOA serves the needs of the Veteran and military business communities by uniting Veteran and military business owners for collaboration, connections and contracts with both private corporations and government agencies. Join today and take the survey to let us know what issues are important to you. Membership is Free! You have honorably served our nation. VAMBOA is here to serve you and be your voice.


Tell Us Your Passion

Writers Circle

Join Our Writers’ Circle Today!

Do you have something you’re passionate about, or want to let others know about your program or how you are making a difference? If you love to write, we invite you to participate in the Writers’ Circle. The Writers’ Circle features guest writers who want to share their thoughts, deeds and ideas with our audience. To be included, your article must be 300-600 words of original content, not copy written, and non-political. We will put articles in the Writers’ Circle on our web site, as well as featuring some of them in upcoming newsletters. For admission consideration, email your article to


Missing in Action

A Solemn Promise

Fulfilling a Promise

The family stories of MIAs are touching and heartbreaking. Many have no understanding of why their loved ones never came home from war, some waiting over sixty years without closure. Storyteller Original Films is in pre-production on “A Solemn Promise”, a documentary about our nation's many thousands of MIAs. Ongoing searches for missing servicemen lost from our many conflicts take place in old battlefields, in order to fulfill the promise of “no one left behind”. The producers are seeking a Veteran's non-profit organization to form an alliance to permit fund raising, donation and tax credit opportunities. A ten-minute trailer for the film, containing interviews with families who have lost loved ones from WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam, is available for screening here.


In the News Now

MC Blog

Check Out Our Blog - Latest and Greatest

The blog tackles some of the stories that are in the forefront of military news. With the top stories found on our homepage, the blog gives you the opportunity to state your opinion and interact with other users. We hope you will feel that the blog is provided as a service to our users, and participate by commenting on the stories you feel strongly about.


Help for Supporters

Everyone Serves Book

Complimentary Handbook Available

While most service members spend their entire careers training for deployments, their families and friends usually do not. Typically, family, friends, and even supportive community members and service providers are not trained to handle the emotional challenges of the deployment experience. “Everyone Serves” is a handbook to help families and friends of service members during pre-deployment, deployment and transition. The complimentary guide helps you strengthen your relationships, learn coping skills, and build resilience to help you through tough times. You can view the e-book online, read in a web browser, or download it in a pdf. The website has other valuable tools, including worksheets and checklists. To get your copy, click here.


Learn What’s Available to Help You

Caregivers VA

Caregivers Partnering With the VA

For Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), having nightmares or flashbacks can be a daily occurrence, often leaving them feeling emotionally cut off from others. They may have a hard time relating to spouses and family members, causing them to pull away from other people and become isolated. Living with a Veteran who has PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury isn’t easy. There are also tremendous challenges for caregivers attending to loved ones who have lost limbs.. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has set up a web site specifically for the families of Veterans who have needs and challenges. Providing care for a family member in need is an age-old act of kindness, love, and loyalty, but is probably not a role that was anticipated or trained for. You’re there to support your Veteran, the Department of Veterans Affairs is there to support you. For more information, visit them on the web.


Help is Available

The Soldiers Project

Free Psychological Services

Through their network of 400+ licensed mental health professionals, The Soldiers Project (TSP) offers free psychotherapy to any military service member/Veteran who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan. TSP also offers therapy to their loved ones at no cost – boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, children, parents and grandparents. There is no red tape, there are no fees, and there is no arbitrary limit on the number of sessions provided. Each of us, in our own way, can show our military families that we will stand with them as they come “all the way home”. If you'd like more information on how you can support TSP, please visit them on the web.


Two Versions Available

License Plates Honoring Veterans

Display Your Veteran Pride

The previously available VETERAN license plates were discontinued, substituted with HONORING VETERANS specialty license plates. Due to demand, the VETERAN plates are coming back, but with a hitch- CalVet must secure 7,500 pre-paid VETERAN license plate reservation applications before the DMV will produce the plate. Once the 7,500-plate application threshold has been reached, CalVet will forward the paid applications to DMV for processing. Available to all California motorists, these VETERAN and HONORING VETERANS specialty license plates may be ordered with the armed forces or Veterans’ service organization logo/emblem of your choice. For more information, visit them on the web.


A Place to Call Home

Our Home Transitional

Helping Female Veterans

Our Home Transitional is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that assists female veterans. The organization’s goal is to provide transitional housing to single homeless female veterans in need of support. Many female veterans are reluctant to ask for assistance, according to founder Carrie Miller. “These women are afraid to ask for help. It might be their pride, or if they have kids they might be worried they will be taken away.” So Ms. Miller’s current focus is buying a Flint house to be that transitional home for female veterans. Carrie needs help to buy this house, and needs to raise a portion of the funds before she can apply for grant funding. Anyone wishing to help Carrie give Flint-area female veterans a home can do so here.


Ready to Compete?

ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt

Ninth Annual ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt

The ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt (TH9) is open and ready to play! Presented by ESA Foundation, the annual hunt is a free, fully interactive digital trivia game about U.S. history, culture and values. This year’s hunt spotlights the United States Bill of Rights. Now through May 31st 2014, a new chapter is being introduced on the first of each month until all six chapters are released. The hunt is available online ( and via mobile application. Four randomly selected players who correctly answer each chapter’s questions will receive a $250 Walmart gift certificate. One lucky player who answers all six chapters correctly will win the grand prize – a $500 Walmart gift certificate. The hunt serves to generate attention and donations for ThanksUSA’s scholarship fund, benefitting the children and spouses of active-duty military personnel. Go to the Hunt today!


Share Your Story

Memorial Day Concert

Memorial Day Concert Seeks D-Day and Afghan Vets:

On May 25, 2014, Gary Sinese and Joe Mantegna will host the Memorial Day Concert on the Mall, featuring Gen. Colin Powell. In honor of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, and the ending of the war in Afghanistan, event producers are looking for first person stories to share at the concert. If you are a World War II veteran who participated in the Normandy Invasion and are willing to share your story, click here. Those who are able to attend will be honored on stage. Additionally, if you were wounded in action in Afghanistan and are willing to share your story of combat and transition home, click here. Selected stories will be reenacted by well-known actors. The Memorial Day Concert will take place on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol, and will be broadcasted on PBS.


Ready to Join Up?

Mission Continues Platoon

Happenings from The Mission Continues

Veterans are invited to enlist in one of The Mission Continues’ 30 service platoons forming nationwide over the next year. Platoon members will work in partnership with other Veterans, community organizations, local companies and area volunteers to have a positive and lasting impact in their city. Each platoon will select a mission based on the specific needs and challenges of their community. Missions might include tackling hunger or obesity, mentoring troubled youth, improving the environment, or the local homeless population with needed resources. Platoons are now forming and need leaders like you to join the ranks. In return, you will have the opportunity to network and serve with other veterans, active duty service members, reservists and guardsmen in your area. Join a new unit today, and put your skills to work where they are needed the most. For more information, click here.


Over 246,000 Combined Followers and Growing!

Between Military Connection followers and VAMBOA followers on Twitter, we now have over 246,000 followers on Twitter and over 38,000 on Facebook! So if you want to keep current in-between newsletters or find out the latest on news that affects Veteran Business Owners, "Like" us on Facebook and join Military Connection and VAMBOA on Twitter!