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Newsletter - September 2016 #2

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I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Gary Ray and Lt. Col. Bill Forbes on the American Heroes Network Radio show.  The American Heroes Network Radio airs weekly, featuring true stories of our American Heroes, as well as some of the great grass roots non-profit organizations that make a difference in the lives of our servicemembers, veterans and their families. If you would like to listen to the interview online, you can do so here.

Best regards,

Debbie Gregory, CEO


Armed Forces Vacation Club


Explore vacations from $349/wk

Armed Forces Vacation Club is proud to offer 7 night resort stays to the military starting at just $349*. Choose from destinations worldwide including Lake Tahoe, Branson, Orlando, the Bahamas, Las Vegas, the Dominican Republic & more. Search now!

Armed Forces Vacation Club is a free membership club open to active duty, guard, reserve, and retired members of the Armed Forces as well as civilian employees of the DOD. 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! Join today – membership is free!


Runners: Mark Your Calendars


Run/Walk to Benefit Rebuilding America’s Warriors

Altavita, a not-for-profit retirement community, provides the best in housing, dining, amenities and wellness. With an expanded focus on holistic wellness that will help you live better and longer, Altavita provides the highest quality retirement living at an outstanding value. This November, Altavita will host its second annual 5K Run Walk, benefitting Rebuilding America’s Warriors. Sponsorship opportunities are available, and raffle donations are welcome. To learn more, visit


Only the Best For Baby


No Out-of-Pocket Breast Pump Expense for Tricare Members

As a Tricare provider, the Breastfeeding Shop provides top-of-the-line breast pumps to eligible moms with no out-of-pocket cost. Their goal is to provide high quality breast feeding products that allow infants to receive the best nutrition and antibodies, found only in breast milk. The Breastfeeding Shop also carries a wide range of postpartum and prenatal support products, including nursing pillows, nursing bras, milk storage, nursing cover-ups, and so much more. They will also provide assistance to help moms make educated decisions on which products best suit their needs. Friendly and knowledgeable associates are ready to answer any questions at 800-644-5387, Tues - Sat. 10-4 Eastern. To shop online, read interesting blog articles, or view their specials, visit them online or on their Facebook page


Country Club Lifestyle

Country Club Lifestyle

The Place Patriots Call Home

Indian River Colony Club is an active adult, private country club community. Residents enjoy a generous maintenance program (inside and outside), 24-hour gated security and a full complement of country club amenities, including an 18-hole, par 72 golf course. IRCC offers individually owned single-family, two- to four- bedroom homes, nestled on a lush 453 acres with 28 lakes, most golf and water view, minutes from Space Coast beaches and only an hour from Orlando International airport. Ideally located, the community is close to Patrick Air Force Base, shopping, Viera medical facilities, King Center for Performing Arts, Port Canaveral, and Eastern Florida State College. Home to over 600 military veterans, the community takes pride in accommodating all those who served and those devoted to the traditions of the U.S. Armed Forces. Check them out on Facebook too!


Nursing Degree

Nursing Degree

Let Your Military Training Experience Work for You

Roseman University of Health Sciences has been rethinking education since its inception in 1999. Using the Six-Point Mastery Learning Model, the University trains a different kind of student to thrive and practice in today’s complex world of medicine and patient care. The Veteran to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) pathway is designed for prior service/veteran or reservists in the United States military. The VBSN pathway provides an opportunity for military students to earn credit in identified prerequisites and applicable nursing coursework. It is available at the Henderson, NV campus in the 18-month Bachelor of Science in Nursing and 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs. Roseman University’s nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). For more information about the VBSN program, email [email protected].


Going the Extra Mile


D’Youville College-Award Winning Yellow Ribbon School

D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY, a recipient of the Military Connection “Veteran School Salute” is a Yellow Ribbon School that has shown a dedicated commitment to their Veteran and military students. D’Youville is consistently developing innovative ways to serve those who have served. The Veteran School Salute recognizes Veteran-friendly colleges, universities and vocational schools that go above and beyond in their efforts to provide premium education services for their Military, Veteran and military-dependent students.


Check Out Your Benefits!

GI Bill

The Post 9/11 GI Bill

Did you know that has an entire section devoted to educational resources? If you’re looking for a college, university, trade or technical college or university, you’ll want to check out the Virtual School Directory. If you want to calculate your housing benefits while you’re in school, we have the BAH Housing Calculator.


Sullivan University

Yellow Ribbion

A Proud Yellow Ribbon Tradition

Louisville-based Sullivan University System can proudly state that educating military members and their families is one of their top priorities. In addition to receiving the Military Connection Veteran School Salute, this Yellow Ribbon school has been included on the 2015 Military Friendly School List. Easing the transition for military and veteran students, Sullivan offers a single-point-of-contact for military admissions, a VA Certifying Official on campus, and a chapter of Student Veterans of America on campus. Additionally, Sullivan transfers military experience into college credit, awards military grants, and offers special active duty military tuition rates. All GI Bill benefits are welcome. If you have served in the United States Armed Forces, take advantage of the educational benefits offered to you. If you know of someone who has served, encourage him or her to go to college and use the benefits available to them.


D.C. VIP Tickets


Chris Stapleton Concert to Benefit Give An Hour

Congratulations to Chris Stapleton on his FIVE Country Music Association Award nominations! This year Give an Hour’s Celebration of Service will conclude with a benefit concert by Stapleton. While all general admission tickets for the October 9th concert at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. sold out in just nine minutes, Stapleton’s fans have options… a limited number of VIP tickets for the concert, benefiting Give an Hour and the Campaign to Change Direction, are still available:


The Great Outdoors


For Injured Servicemembers

The mission of Freedom Fighter Outdoors is to show gratitude to our nations injured service veterans and their families for their sacrifices. The non-profit raises awareness and seeks public aid for needs, services and activities for injured service veterans. Special emphasis is put on providing outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities and forging bonds of collaboration through teamwork. For more information, visit them online.


Good Read

Good Read

Benefiting the Disabled Veterans Business Alliance

In We Got Mojo!, author Raul Deju and 35 of his best friends are sharing their life stories. Each of them defined success in personal terms, and each of them attained their own success. But it didn’t come easily to any of them. They all had challenges, whether it was fighting national oppression in their native countries, fighting for our country, fighting poverty, or fighting various forms of discrimination. But they all survived and thrived, bettering themselves and the world. This is a great read, and while not everyone’s story has a happy ending, they are all inspiring. Deju is generously donating all proceeds from the sale of the book to the Disabled Veterans Business Alliance. We Got Mojo!, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other internet sellers.


August 1, 1953 through December 31, 1987

Camp Lejeune

Did You Serve at Camp Lejeune?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has proposed regulations to establish presumptions for the service connection of eight diseases affecting military members exposed to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The presumptive illnesses apply to active duty, reserve and National Guard members who served at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987, and are diagnosed with the following conditions: adult leukemia, aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and Parkinson's disease. The 30-day public comment period on the proposed rule is open until Oct.10, 2016.


Survey-For Veterans Only

Your Voice Matters

Your Voice Matters

Veterans must have a voice in determining when and where they receive their health care.  The VFW has conducted several surveys and used the data collected from these surveys to advocate for veteran-centric reforms based on veterans’ needs, preferences and expectations when receiving health care. Now it’s your turn. If you want to assist the VFW in holding the VA and Congress accountable for fulfilling their mission to veterans, please take a short survey regarding your health care preferences here.


Military Hospitals

Drug Take-Back Program

Drug Take-Back Program

Military families, troops and retirees now can return unused medication to pharmacies at military treatment facilities as part of a new drug take-back effort. The program helps beneficiaries properly dispose of their prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.  Military treatment facility pharmacies are required to have drug disposal bins or mail-in envelopes available to customers. Those items are then sent to a contracted collection site and destroyed. Military family advocates say the change gives military users an easy way to get rid of unwanted medication or controlled substances so that they can't be abused or potentially harm the environment. For more information, click here.


D.C. Theater Performance

Quentin Tarantino Songbook, Vol 1

One Night Only- October 27th, 2016

The Howard Theater in Washington, DC will be the setting for the October 27th performance of the Quentin Tarantino Songbook, Vol 1:, featuring the music from Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown. Performers include: Victoria Cook (Into The Woods, The Theory of Everything); Scott Coulter (PBS’ A Christmas Carol); Blaine Krauss (The Lion King, In The Heights); Mike Schwitter (Pippin, Book Of Mormon); Christal Rheames (Les Miserables, performer & vocal coach for CAMMO Voices of Service and CAMMO kids);  Victoria Golding (vocalist with CAMMO’s Voices of Service, vocal coach, arranger and choir master for the American Military Spouses Choir, 2006 winner of Military Idol); and last but not least, the Hateful Eight Orchestra.  For more information on CAMMO visit


Operation Gratitude

OP Gratitude

A Good Way to Say “Thank You for Your Service”

On  September 11th, 1,332 volunteers showed up at Operation Gratitude to assemble 11,280 Care Kits for First Responders. This brings the year-to-date care package and kits for military and first responders count to 167,122! But with requests to ship an additional 20,000 Care Packages each month through the end of December product inventory levels have dropped too low to fill all the upcoming Holiday Care Packages. Therefore, there is an urgent request from the non-profit for help. You can view their Wish List, or host a Collection Drive for Wish List items so your family, friends and colleagues can help too. We hope you will help this great non-profit keep the goodwill going!


Mission Redefined

VA Awards Adaptive Sports Grants

VA Awards Adaptive Sports Grants

Disabled Veterans of all ages and abilities report better health, new friendships and a better quality of life when participating in adaptive sports. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded $7.8 million in grants for adaptive sports programs for disabled veterans and disabled servicemembers. The grant recipients may use these funds for planning, developing, managing and implementing these adaptive sports programs. The grants will support activities ranging from rowing, cycling, skiing, equestrian sports and Tai Chi. Information about the awardees and details of the program are available on the VA Adaptive Sports Program website.


Shameful Elder Abuse

Helping Right a Wrong

Helping Right a Wrong

Staff Sgt. Dennis Ferk is a 95 year old WWII veteran who is a victim of fraud.  His previous caregivers embezzled over $110,000 from VA service and Social Security benefits. This brave soldier, who earned three purple hearts during battles in Guadalcanal and Bougainville fell victim to these culprits who not only stole his money but also robbed him of his dignity and self-respect.  SSgt. Ferk currently resides with his handicapped daughter. A GoFundMe page has been set up for him, with oversight by his parish church friends.


Tune In Online

Improve Veteran Lives

Working to Save and Improve Veteran Lives

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The Veterans Suicide Prevention Channel has been created to try to save the lives of America’s veterans, and promote good health and understanding to their family members and supporters. The  channel works towards these goals by producing and broadcasting shows that contain healing subject matters and information, educating, entertaining and providing resource information that will benefit America’s veterans, their family members and supporters. Currently, the channel is raising funds to create a powerful new show, “COOKING FOR VETERANS MENTAL & PHYSICAL HEALTH SHOW”. This show is being created with the intention of changing veterans lives in a positive and powerful way by demonstrating to them the healing powers inherent in certain foods and spices. To make a donation, click here.


San Ramon, CA

Supporting Veteran Owned Businesses

Supporting Veteran Owned Businesses

All Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOBs) and Veteran Businesses are invited to attend the Elite SDVOB Networks outreach in Northern California. The October 18th event will take place in San Ramon, CA, and is free to attend. Attendees will connect with prime and large corporations who see the value in working with them. This event is focused on smaller acquisition buys and programs. Be ready to network and learn from the experts on how to work with corporations that want to work with you. Space is limited, so you are encouraged to register as early as possible.


Tune In 24/7

Entertainment for your Downtime

Entertainment for your Downtime

Since 2007, Live from Daryl's House (simply known as Daryl's House, and often abbreviated as LFDH) has provided an alternative to live concerts and studio sessions for an eclectic group of popular artists. The one thing they all have in common is the founder and host, Daryl Hall. What began almost nine years ago with the idea of “playing with my friends and putting it up on the Internet,” the show is still going strong. Past episodes have featured well-known performers such as  Smokey Robinson, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, Daughtry, Nick Lowe, K.T. Tunstall, Todd Rundgren, Travis McCoy, Patrick Stump, and many, many more.




Buddy-to-Buddy is a Michigan-based peer-to-peer program that uses trained veteran peers to provide outreach, support, and linkage to resources for Reserve Component service members and community veterans. Volunteers are all veterans themselves, leveraging the veteran-to-veteran connection to build credibility and decrease the stigma around asking for help. They are trained to provide assistance with issues including finances, benefits, legal issues, education, and health, family, and emotional concerns. The program creates local-level partnerships with existing veteran support organizations to increase access and referral support, often increasing referrals to those organizations. The program is free and confidential. Michigan service member and veterans who might benefit from being matched with a volunteer can call 1-888-82-BUDDY( 8339). Only Michigan service members or veterans are eligible for the program, but anyone can make a referral. For more information, visit


Improving Veteran Care

Improving Veteran Care

Audiology and Optometry Direct Scheduling

Veterans receiving care at Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Medical Centers can now schedule routine ear and eye appointments at local VA Audiology and Optometry clinics without a primary care referral. The new process, the Audiology and Optometry Direct Scheduling Initiative, is expected to be fully operational within all VA Medical Centers by the end of 2016, and will  eliminate the need for Veterans to see their primary care physician for a referral for a routine clinic consult visit, and then wait for a clinic representative to contact them to set up the consult appointment.


Helping Veterans

Helping Veterans

One Flight at a Time

Veteran medical facilities are often times wide spread and too far for a veteran to commute to. Depending on the treatment,  an hours long commute to get to the facility is not unheard of. And of course, then they need to get back home. For some veterans, the pain of sitting that long in traffic is too much. That’s where Vet Air in Holyoke, Massachusetts comes in.  The non-profit provides air transportation to veterans that need transportation to medical appointments or for compassionate reasons. The service is provided free of charge. The organization has flown patients to destinations as far away as Florida. Vet Air is a veteran founded and operated organization. For more information, visit the Vet Air website.


For Mil/Vet Homebuyers

For Mil/Vet Homebuyers

App Helps Determine VA Loan Eligibility

Helping veterans get the benefits they are entitled to is the idea behind a new app created by Marine Corps veteran Jimmy Vercellino. The VA Loan App is a free tool that can help all veterans and active military learn within minutes whether they qualify for a VA loan. Vercellino hopes the app will lead to an uptick in veterans seeking out the money-saving benefits they are entitled to. "That's the mission, to help these vets get into VA loans so they can take advantage of this amazing benefit that they have defended this great nation for," he said. The app is free and available for both Android and Apple.


Attention: Employers

Tax Credits for Hiring Veterans

Tax Credits for Hiring Veterans

Hiring Veterans is not only good for your business and bottom line, it’s the right thing to do. And now there is good news: the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), a federal tax credit available to employers for hiring veterans, has been renewed through August 31, 2018! There is no limit on the number of individuals an employer can hire to qualify to claim the tax credit. To read more about the credits, click here.


The Go To Site

Advertise With Us

Advertise With Us, the Go To Site, is your online connection to military service members, veterans and their supporters. If you are a corporation or educational institution looking to reach out to this audience, let us assist you with a customized advertising program. We work with hundreds of non-profits serving the military and veteran communities, and can facilitate win/win partnerships and help brand you as “Military-Veteran Friendly.”  For more information, contact us by email at [email protected] or call us at (800) 817-3777.


Center for Women Veterans

Center for Women Veterans

Because They Also Served

In order to ensure women Veterans would be treated equitably, the Center for Women Veterans was created to promote the use of VA benefits by women Veterans, who traditionally were less likely to self-identify as Veterans or be aware of their eligibility. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently revamped its Center for Women Veterans website. The website now includes a list of news stories updated every business day, resources, a list of relevant upcoming events, and information about ongoing and published research. Women are also highlighted when they are featured as VA's #VeteranOfTheDay.


Complimentary Membership

Corporate Sponsorship VAMBOA

Interested in Corporate Sponsorship?

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. Free to join, VAMBOA serves the needs of the Veteran and military business communities.  For companies interested in corporate sponsorship, there is a limited time opportunity to receive the benefits of two years of sponsorship for the cost of one year. This opportunity is also available to current corporate sponsors who renew. For more informat


A Day to Change Direction

Change Direction

AFRH Service Project, Washington D.C.

On Saturday, 8 October, Give an Hour, as the lead organization for Change Direction, is teaming up with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) on a local service project in Washington, D.C. From 10:30am-2:30pm, volunteers will assist with outside cleanup (weeding, garden clean-up, and glass cleaning) at the Armed Forces Retirement Home.  Volunteers are also needed to engage and connect with some of the 500 residents. Give an Hour’s Founder & President, Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen and leadership from the VFW and its Auxiliary will be speaking. Dress in comfortable clothing and footwear. Please bring gardening gloves AND a government issued photo identification card.  Service project T-shirts, food, and water will be provided. Sorry, no children under the age of 16. Pre-register here.


Scholarships for Military Families


ThanksUSA Launches $100 Million Strong Campaign

ThanksUSA kicked off this past summer by launching $100 Million Strong, a campaign to grant more than 25,000 scholarships to military spouses and children in need over the next 10 years. To lead the campaign, ThanksUSA announced that the former executive director and founder of Hiring Our Heroes, retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Schmiegel, has assumed the role of president. “The need to close the financial gap for military families seeking higher education is clear and compelling, and the $100 Million Strong campaign will help to do just that,” said Schmiegel. “While the post-9/11 G.I. Bill has supported many, it simply isn't enough for the hundreds of thousands of families serving on active duty with multiple children and only one source of income.”

Visit to learn more and donate


Over 589,000 Combined Followers and Growing!

Between Military Connection followers and VAMBOA followers on Twitter, we now have over 504,000 followers on Twitter and over 85,000 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!