Police Officer and Veteran to Receive Service Dogs from Paws of War

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lorida chapter of Paws of War is pairing two American heroes with rescue dogs

A U.S. Air Force veteran and a Flagler County Sheriff’s Officer will be uniting with service dogs through the Paws of War program. The nonprofit organization rescues dogs, gives them the necessary training, and then pairs them with veterans in need of service pets. The official introduction of the dogs with their caregiver will take place on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at the Beach Front Grill, located at 2444 S. Ocean Shore Blvd. in Flagler Beach, Fla. The two will receive their service dogs, free of charge, at a special ceremony that will take place beginning at 11 a.m.

“We are thrilled every time we have a special day like this, where we can pair service dogs with those in need,” explains Lauren Driscoll, the person who trained the dogs and program director of the Paws of War Florida chapter. “These two men have given so much to our country, and we are happy to help give something back to them that may help make their lives more enjoyable.”

One of the dogs that will be given to the two men was a rescued dog from Port Saint Lucie Humane Society. Following adoption by the organization, dog underwent extensive training in order to become a service pet. Many veterans are helped by service dogs, including those who suffer from such issues as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, anxiety, and more.

The two men who will be receiving the service dogs are George Gonzalez and Stephen Watkins. George, who lives in S. Louis, Missouri, spent 10 years in the United State Air Force as an Aircraft Armament Systems Craftsman working on F-16s, F-15s and the Predator UAV. During that time, he spent two tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He will be paired with Sully, a beagle hound mix around three years old. George suffers from night terrors, and needs to go through the house when he wakes up with them. Sully has been trained to turn on all of the lights in the house, before George gets to each room, helping to ease his night terror anxiety.

“I am looking forward to the comfort and assistance that a service pet will bring me when I’m experiencing the night terrors,” says George Gonzalez. “I am happy that they have a program like this to help with such things.”

Stephen, who lives in Flagler County, is the caretaker of Mya, a four-year-old pit bull Lab. He has always been the caretaker of the dog, but the organization evaluated her for training, and has provided several months of training for Mia to become a service pet. The trainer goes to their home, and Stephen attends training classes. A Flagler County Sheriff’s Office detention deputy, Stephen was diagnosed with a staph infection on his spine, which left him paralyzed from the breast down. He comes from a family with a history of law enforcement, with his father serving as a police officer in New York for 25 years. His service dog has been trained to be able to open the refrigerator, turn on lights, and pick up anything that is on the floor that Stephen may not be able to reach.

“The benefits from having a service dog is always having a companion by my side,” says Stephen Watkins. “Having a little help in picking things up off the ground and someone always there just in case I fall out of my wheelchair, are things that will be helpful and bring some peace of mind.”

“Anytime we can help our veterans as well as an animal in need, we fulfill our mission,” says Dori Scofield, of Paws of War. “Through our charitable organization we get to help our veterans, police officers, and give these pets a whole new leash on life.”

Driscoll has successfully trained 21 dogs prior to the two being paired up with the veterans this month. She is the owner of Pet Peeves Dog Training Florida, and volunteers her time for the Paws of War organization. The Florida chapter of Paws of War was launched in May 2015 and is located in Palm Coast. Paws of War is an all volunteer organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets, and provides service and service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD. To learn more about Paws of War or make a donation to support their efforts, visit their site at: http://pawsofwar.org.

About Paws of War

Paws of War is a 501c3 organization devoted to helping both animals and veterans. The Paws of War goal is to train and place shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to our United States military veterans that suffer from the emotional effects of war such as PTSD. In turn each veteran can experience the therapeutic and unconditional love only a companion animal can bring. To learn more about Paws of War, visit the site at www.pawsofwar.org.

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DANGER CLOSE– A Powerful Story About a Fallen Soldier

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From the Directors of Award Winning and Critically Acclaimed Films, The Hornet’s Nest and Citizen Soldier and Alex Quade Films comes DANGER CLOSE.

DANGER CLOSE follows Edward R. Murrow Award winning female war reporter Alex Quade and her mission to tell “soldiers’ stories” during a series of unprecedented embeds with U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) at the height of the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Alex is bound and determined to complete the mission, even when on one airborne assault and ensuing rescue attempt, she nearly loses her life trying to tell the stories of these heroes.  During one highly-classified combat mission in Iraq, she would re-embed with a Green Beret A-Team that had just lost their Combat Engineer, Special Forces Staff Sgt. Rob Pirelli; whom she knew from previous operations.  When an injured Alex ends up back in the States to rehab and prepare to redeploy, little does she know just how pivotal her redeployment would bcome. Through a series of compelling events and a fated meeting with Rob Pirelli’s family, her return to Iraq turns into the mission of a lifetime.

Watch the trailer on the DANGER CLOSE website.

 

The Wall starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, John Cena, scheduled to be released on May 12, 2017

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“The Wall” is a deadly psychological thriller that follows two soldiers pinned down by an Iraqi sniper, with nothing but a crumbling wall between them. Their fight becomes as much a battle of will and wits as it is of lethally accurate marksmanship.

Directed by Doug Liman (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Edge of Tomorrow”), “The Wall” stars Aaron Taylor Johnson (“Nocturnal Animals,” “Kick-Ass,” “Savages” “Godzilla,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”) and WWE star John Cena (“Trainwreck,” “Sisters,” “Daddy’s Home”), and is written by first-time screenwriter Dwain Worrell from his Black List script. “The Wall” is produced by Amazon Studios.

Watch the trailer!

For more info:

Official Site | Facebook | Twitter| Instagram

#TheWallTheMovie

Fallen EOD Warriors to be Remembered by Special Earth Day Wreaths Across America Tree Dedication

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NICEVILLE, Florida – (March 22, 2017) – This Earth Day, April 22, 2017, is a special day for the families and friends of the 326 fallen EOD technicians who were killed in action, while carrying out an EOD mission.

The public is invited to attend a Veterans Remembrance Tree dedication at the Wreaths Across America balsam tip land, where 326 live trees will be tagged as a living memorial to each individual fallen EOD warrior. Wreaths Across America, an organization whose mission is to Remember, Honor and Teach about the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans will be dedicating an entire section of tip land to the EOD Warrior Foundation. A dog tag will be placed on individual trees in memory of each of the 326 fallen EOD warriors and every third year the branches of these trees will be tipped to make the remembrance wreaths that are placed on the headstones of fallen veterans across the country as part of National Wreaths Across America Day.

“This endless forest is a truly visual representation of our unwavering commitment to our mission to remember, honor and teach and to recognize our fallen veterans and families this year and for many years to come,” says Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America.

The dedication ceremony is free to attend and open to the public. Those who attend are invited to meet at Wreaths Across America headquarters located 4 Point Street in Columbia Falls, Maine, at 8 a.m., where group transportation will be provided. At 9 a.m., there will be travel to the tip land chapel for coffee, donuts, and a brief service by the chaplain. The tree dedication and ceremony will begin at 10 a.m., and lunch will follow the ceremony. Those flying in for the event will find the nearest airport is Bangor International Airport.

Any military families can have a tree tagged as a memorial to their loved one free of charge. The EOD Warrior Foundation was excited for an opportunity to commemorate their 326 fallen EOD warriors in this unique way, with a true living memorial to remember each man and woman who has died. When trees are dedicated to a fallen military member, a dog tag with their name and a red, white and blue ribbon is placed on the tree. Families are allowed to walk the grounds and choose the tree to become the memorial.

Earth Day, April 22nd, is a movement that is recognized by over a billion people around the world in 192 countries. The holiday was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970. With half of the world’s forests now gone, many people are working to preserve the trees and forests that remain. Having the Wreaths Across America dedication on Earth Day is fitting. These trees are never cut down, rather they are trimmed every few years allowing the trees, and the legacy of the fallen warrior they represent, to live on.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to partner with Wreaths Across America,” explains Nicole Motsek, executive director of the EOD Warrior Foundation. “This is going to be a beautiful and touching ceremony to honor our 326 fallen EOD Warriors. It is open to the public, and we hope people will join us on April 22nd to show their support for these deserving warriors and their families.”

Wreaths Across America is a non-profit organization with a mission to Remember, Honor and Teach. Each December, the group honors fallen veterans at over 1,200 locations around the country, where volunteers place wreaths on military headstones, which are sponsored by the community.

EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) technicians are highly trained military members serving in the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force and are responsible for disarming, rendering safe, and disposing of bombs. There are approximately 7,000 active duty and over 20,000 veteran members of our military who perform this job, one of the most dangerous in the military. The EOD Warrior Foundation helps this elite group by providing financial relief, therapeutic healing retreats, a scholarship program, care of the EOD Memorial Wall located at Eglin AFB, Fla. and more. Their work is supported by private donations and the generosity of those who support the organization. To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, visit their site at: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org.

About EOD Warrior Foundation

The EOD Warrior Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for the EOD family by providing emergency financial relief, scholarship opportunities, physical, social, and emotional support. Specific programs include financial grants, hope and wellness retreats, scholarships, community support events, and care of the EOD Memorial Wall located at Eglin AFB, Fla. To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, or see their fundraising events calendar, visit their site at: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org.

About Wreaths Across America
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester 25 years ago. The organization’s mission, Remember, Honor, Teach, is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies each December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. For more information, to sponsor wreaths or to sign up to volunteer, please visit www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.

 

 

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Sailor Spotlight– Nester Contreras

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On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.

Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Nester Contreras, from Garden Grove, California, participates in engineering training team drills aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78), March 21, 2017. Porter, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S.

6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.

Served Like a Girl Documentary Recognizes Epidemic of Homeless Women Veterans: ‘It Became a Mission for Me,’ Says Director

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When director and producer Lysa Heslov heard about the 55,000 homeless women veterans currently in the United States, she knew she found the inspiration behind her next film.

“When I always thought of homeless veterans, mistakenly, I had always thought that it was a man pushing a shopping cart,” Heslov tells PEOPLE.

For two years, she entrenched herself in the company of many of these veterans and created the documentary, Served Like A Girl, which focuses on five women who are competing for the crown of Ms. Veteran America, and the struggles they have faced since returning home from war.

“To be able to tell their stories and hopefully have some impact with these women — it became a mission for me,” she says about the film that debuted at South by Southwest on Monday. “We became a family.”

The more Heslov got to know the women in the film — Jaspen Boothe, Nichole Alred, Hope Garcia, Rachel Engler, Andrea Waterbury, Marissa Strock and Denyse Gordon — who she describes as “warriors who have overcome adversity,” the more she “fell in love with them and the “easier it became to tell their story,” she says.

Heslov exposes the reality that female veterans face at home and during the competition, including PTSD, divorce, serious illness and military sexual abuse. Ms. Veteran America is more than a competition. It’s main mission is to raise money and awareness to support and advocate for homeless women veterans.

Continue onto PEOPLE to read more about Lysa’s journey in making this documentary.

Sailor Spotlight– Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Cameron Aguilar

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On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.

Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Cameron Aguilar, from Anaheim, Calif., creates a ground wire in the miniature-micro shop aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Bonhomme Richard, flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, with embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, is on a routine patrol, operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance warfighting readiness and posture forward as a ready-response force for any type of contingency.

How EOD Warrior Foundation Helps Military Children

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EOD Warrior Foundation helps EOD veterans through community donations and support

April is the Month of the Military Child. From our neighbors to celebrities who grew up in military families, such as Jessica Alba, Priscilla Presley, and Bruce Willis, many have their own stories of struggles and heroism they can share. In fact, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University, there are 1.76 million children and youth in military families in the country. Almost 80% of them are age 11 or younger. What’s more, they report that military children have higher rates of mental health problems, including psychological stress, depression, and academic problems.

“Military families, especially children in military families, need extra love and care from their community and from civilian families across the nation,” explains Nicole Motsek, executive director of the EOD Warrior Foundation. “Their experiences often leave them needing some additional assistance, and we are a group that is honored to be able to provide for them.

April is a time when we turn the focus to the children of those who are defending our nation. The EOD Warrior Foundation is an organization that helps the families of the 7,000 people in our military who are Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians. EOD techs have an extremely dangerous job, one that has them disarming and disposing of bombs, and often leaves them wounded, or experiencing issues including loss of limbs, burns, blindness, paralysis, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury.

The EOD Warrior Foundation helps children of these military men and women by:

  • Providing a college scholarship program that awarded over $200,000 in scholarships last year. This program helps military children afford an education.
  • Offering one on one support and guidance to outside resources that can assist them with specific issues they may be facing.
  • Helping with emergency financial assistance if there are issues that arise and they need help. The organization has helped people with paying bills, as well as replacing household items following a home fire.
  • Getting the family the mental health assistance they need, such as counseling, and inclusion in therapeutic healing retreats that the whole family may attend and participates in.
  • Offering ways to help their parents with a variety of issues. When parents’ issues are addressed, they are more likely to be able to provide a happy and healthy home environment for the children.

“It is a privilege to make a difference in the lives of military children” added Motsek. “Their parents sacrifice so much for our continued freedom, helping the children in return is the least we can do.”

The EOD Warrior Foundation helps this elite group by providing financial relief, therapeutic healing retreats, a scholarship program, care of the EOD Memorial Wall located at Eglin AFB, Fla. and more. Their work is supported by private donations and the generosity of those who support the organization.  To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation or register for events, visit the site: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org

About EOD Warrior Foundation

The EOD Warrior Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for the EOD family by providing emergency financial relief, scholarship opportunities, physical, social, and emotional support. Specific programs include financial grants, hope and wellness retreats, scholarships, community support events, and care of the EOD Memorial Wall located at Eglin AFB, Fla. To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, or see their fundraising events calendar, visit their site at: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org.

VANILLA FIRE PRODUCTIONS ANNOUNCES DOCUMENTARY SHORT “THE VIETNAM WALL GUY” PICKED FOR THE GI FILM FESTIVAL

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The story of Jan Scruggs who conceived and created the Vietnam Memorial Wall erected 33 years ago.

The Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall has become the most visited attraction in Washington, D.C.

“Vanilla Fire is proud to announce that our documentary short “The Vietnam Wall Guy” has been picked for the GI Film Festival for a Sunday May 28th D.C. Screening .  Mr. Scruggs will be at the screening followed by a short Q&A along with Filmmaker Steven C. Barber, Director Matthew Hausle and Producer Tamara Henry.”

Vanilla Fire. Serves the military… passes the torch…continues the legacy.

The first six of our military film arsenal packaged into the world’s first ever Military6Pack.com to be released Memorial Day 2017.

Filmmakers Steven C. Barber, Matthew Hausle and Tamara Henry have traveled around the globe to bring you 6 military movies that inspire, make a difference and have spurred Congressional Legislation to locate and repatriate U.S. Marines from WWII.

Top entertainment professionals in the world including Kelsey Grammer, Josh Brolin, Dan Aykroyd, Joe Mantegna, Ed Harris and John Savage have all given there time and money to these amazing Oscar shortlisted and qualified films.

Music legends Clint Black, Ed Mccain and John Mellencamp have also given there time and songs to these one of a kind Military inspirational films.

Source:  Vanilla Fire Productions

Sailor Spotlight– Operations Specialist 2nd Class Grahm Johnson

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On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times. 

Operations Specialist 2nd Class Grahm Johnson, from Anaheim, Calif., conducts maintenance on the loading mechanism of a .50-caliber machine gun aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) during a defense of the amphibious task force (DATF) practice exercise. Green Bay, part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, with embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, is on a routine patrol, operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance warfighting readiness and posture forward as a ready-response force for any type of contingency.

Source:  outreach.navy.mil

MEGAN LEAVEY– A bond between marine corporal and her dog

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MEGAN LEAVEY is based on the true life story of a young marine corporal (Kate Mara) whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. When she is assigned to clean up the K9 unit after a disciplinary hearing, Leavey identifies with a particularly aggressive dog, Rex, and is given the chance to train him. Over the course of their service, Megan and Rex completed more than 100 missions until an IED explosion injures them, putting their fate in jeopardy. 

Check out the trailer!

Coming to theaters June 9, 2017

DIRECTED BY | Gabriela Cowperthwaite

WRITTEN BY | Pamela Gray, Annie Mumolo & Tim Lovestedt

CAST | Kate Mara, Edie Falco, Ramón Rodríguez, Bradley Whitford, Common

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