Gary Sinise’s Veteran Charity Adds ‘Snowball Express’ Program to Support Children of the Fallen

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The ‘CSI: NY’ star, who has helped a veteran get cast on ‘Hawaii Five-0’, is expanding his foundation, although he wishes the government would do a better job supporting American soldiers.

Best known for his Oscar-nominated performance as Lt. Dan in 1994’s Forrest Gump, Gary Sinise has dedicated 40 years to volunteering and advocating on behalf of U.S. veterans. In 2011, he founded the Gary Sinise Foundation, with programs like Relief & Resiliency Outreach providing full support last year for 8,335 of those in need recovering from injury, loss or trauma.

Today, his foundation welcomes a new program into the fold, Snowball Express, a community-based initiative defined by its annual four-day event uniting roughly 2,000 Gold Star families that just wrapped up last week in Dallas. Activities include sports competitions, dances, and amusement park rides — all geared toward providing new and happier memories for children of the fallen.

“We have opportunities to grow Snowball, involve more children, more families. Unfortunately we have so many,” Sinise says of the program, to which he’s been donating time and money to since it’s inception in 2006. “We want to be able to take care of as any families as possible.”

Over the years, The Lt. Dan Band, with Sinise on bass, has played the event, giving him a chance to watch some of the kids grow up. “It’s sad to see so many of these children all in one place at the same time,” he says. “On the other hand, it’s very healing having them all together in one place, getting so much love.”

The son of a family of veterans from every major conflict since World War I, Sinise was inspired by talking to his wife’s siblings about their experiences in Vietnam. “They came back to a nation that turned its back on them,” he says. After playing the wheelchair-bound Lt. Dan, he began volunteering with disabled veterans. But 9/11 was the catalyst that turned nearly all of his free time into volunteer work.

“I didn’t want our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to come home the way our Vietnam veterans came home, to a nation that really didn’t support them,” Sinise explains. “I just wanted them to know they were appreciated. That led to the creation of my own foundation.”

Continue onto The Hollywood Reporter to read the complete article.

INDIAN MOTORCYCLE & Indian Motorcycle & Carey Hart Bring V-Twin-Powered Armed Forces Day Celebration To Troops At U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart

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Carey Hart-Good Rides

Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company founded in 1901, and freestyle motocross icon Carey Hart have partnered to take Hart’s Good Ride fund-raising platform overseas to active soldiers based at U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Stuttgart in Germany. On May 20, Good Ride Salutes USAG Stuttgart will honor U.S. military soldiers and the freedom they protect with an Armed Forces Day ride and barbeque celebration. In support of the honorary ride, Indian Motorcycle will donate up to $30,000 to the Infinite Hero Foundation from test rides completed at Indian Motorcycle dealerships during the month of May. In addition, donations to Hart’s Good Ride (a 501C3 charity) can be made at goodriderally.com in support of active American troops and veterans.

In partnership with Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR), Indian Motorcycle and Hart will bring the Good Ride experience to a community of over 20,000 active military and their families. With an anticipated count of more than 200 participating motorcyclists, Hart will lead the ride from USAG Stuttgart through the picturesque Black Forrest and German countryside. Following the ride, the Armed Forces Day celebration will continue with a family-friendly barbeque, live music, prize drawings and a kids’ zone.

“I’ve always held an immense sense of respect and gratitude for our troops, and that’s why I’ve made the military, both active and veteran, the focus of Good Ride’s efforts since day one,” said Hart. “I couldn’t be more proud and excited to bring Good Ride directly to our active troops overseas.”

In support of Good Ride Salutes USAG Stuttgart, Indian Motorcycle will run a test ride promotion that will raise up to $30,000 for the Infinite Hero Foundation. As the primary beneficiary of Hart’s Good Ride Rally, the Infinite Hero Foundation funds programs that drive innovation and accessibility of effective treatments for military heroes and their families dealing with service-related mental and physical injuries. For every motorcycle test ride completed at an Indian Motorcycle dealership in the month of May, Indian will donate $20 in that rider’s name. Riders can schedule a test ride at a nearby Indian Motorcycle dealership at IndianMotorcycle.com.

“Indian Motorcycle’s commitment to the American military dates back to the first World War, and it’s something that will forever be a part of our brand DNA,” said Steve Menneto, President, Indian Motorcycle Company. “It’s both an honor and a privilege to bring a little piece of home overseas to these brave men and women with this special Good Ride event and Armed Forces Day celebration.”

To further the Armed Forces Day celebration, Indian Motorcycle dealerships around the U.S. and Canada will host honorary military events on May 19. Many dealerships will offer food, drinks, and giveaways, including an Indian-branded multi-tool.

For more information about Good Ride Salutes USAG Stuttgart, or to find a dealer near you, visit IndianMotorcycle.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

ABOUT INDIAN MOTORCYCLE®

Indian Motorcycle Company is America’s First Motorcycle Company®. Founded in 1901, Indian Motorcycle has won the hearts of motorcyclists around the world and earned distinction as one of America’s most legendary and iconic brands through unrivaled racing dominance, engineering prowess and countless innovations and industry firsts. Today that heritage and passion is reignited under new brand stewardship. To learn more, please visit www.indianmotorcycle.com.

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Iraq War Veteran Awarded Brand New Vehicle Through TrueCar DrivenToDrive Program

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U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Goodrich

TrueCar and AutoNation today donated a 2018 Honda Ridgeline to Ret. U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Goodrich at a special event held at the AutoNation Honda Dulles in Sterling, VA.

The vehicle donation marked the second year of the DrivenToDrive program, a partner program between TrueCar and DAV (Disabled American Veterans). DrivenToDrive was created to help injured veterans regain the freedom they’ve fought and sacrificed so much for, by helping them get back behind the wheel of vehicles retrofitted for their needs.

Father of two kids, Goodrich suffered traumatic brain and leg injuries in combat while serving the country during deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. The injured leg is confined to a brace which prevents Goodrich from driving or sitting in a compact vehicle for more than 20 minutes at a time due to discomfort and pain.

“After my time in the service, my wife and I decided to dedicate our lives to helping other veterans rehabilitate and recover through art therapy,” said Sgt. Goodrich. “I would not be able to reach and help as many people without the help of this new vehicle.”

Goodrich’s military-themed art has garnered national acclaim, with his work having been exhibited at the National Museum of Health and Medicine and appearing in a number of national publications.

“AutoNation is honored to join with TrueCar in recognizing Sgt. Michael Goodrich and his family for their service and presenting them a brand new Honda Ridgeline,” said Marc Cannon, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for AutoNation.

In addition to Goodrich and his family, the event was attended by AutoNation CMO Marc Cannon, Assistant Executive Director of DAV National Service and Legislative Headquarters Randy Reese, and TrueCar CEO Chip Perry.

For more information about DrivenToDrive and its mission, please visit truecar.com/driventodrive.

About TrueCar
TrueCar, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRUE) is a digital automotive marketplace that provides comprehensive pricing transparency about what other people paid for their cars and enables consumers to engage with TrueCar Certified Dealers who are committed to providing a superior purchase experience. TrueCar operates its own branded site and its nationwide network of more than 15,000 Certified Dealers also powers car-buying programs for some of the largest U.S. membership and service organizations, including USAA, AARP, American Express, AAA and Sam’s Club. Over one half of all new car buyers engage with the TrueCar network during their purchasing process. TrueCar is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, with offices in San Francisco and Austin, Texas. For more information, go to truecar.com. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

About DAV
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; providing employment resources to veterans and their families and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with more than one million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at dav.org.

About AutoNation, Inc.
AutoNation, America’s largest automotive retailer, through its bold leadership, innovation and its comprehensive brand extensions, is transforming the automotive industry. As of March 31, 2018, AutoNation owned and operated over 325 locations from coast to coast. AutoNation has sold over 11 million vehicles, the first automotive retailer to reach this milestone. AutoNation’s success is driven by a commitment to delivering a peerless experience through customer-focused sales and service processes. Through its Drive Pink initiative, AutoNation is committed to drive out cancer, create awareness and support critical research. AutoNation continues to be a proud supporter of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and other cancer-related charities.

Please visit investors. autonation.com, autonation.com, autonationdrive.com, twitter.com/autonation, twitter.com/CEOMikeJackson, facebook.com/autonation, and facebook.com/CEOMikeJackson, where AutoNation discloses additional information about the Company, its business, and its results of operations.

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Rob Riggle: Combat to Comedy

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The Rob Riggle InVETational Golf Classic

By Mackenna Cummings

You may recognize comedian and actor Rob Riggle from his success as a correspondent on The Daily Show, films like Step Brothers, Dumb and Dumber, The Hangover, and 21 Jump Street. This year you’ll see him in Midnight Sun, which came out March 23rd, and Night School, set to release September 28th. But it’s his recent role in the war drama 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers, released in January, that has us talking.

His two-decade-long entertainment career began while he was serving 14 years in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, following his 9 years of active duty service in the U.S. Marines. Retired in 2013 as a lieutenant colonel, Riggle has served in Liberia, Kosovo, Albania, and Afghanistan. He told the USMC official magazine Marine Mag what he liked best about serving: “One—I earned the title ‘Marine,’ no one gave it to me. I’ll be proud of that as long as I’m alive. Two—Marines are loyal to each other. I like loyalty. Three—Marine Corps history and tradition is something to be proud of, and I’ve been part of that history for the last 19 years. And four—honor, courage and commitment. Those words really do mean something.”

USVM: So how did a theater major from the University of Kansas rise through the ranks as a Marine while still pursuing comedy and acting?

RR: “I had my pilot’s license when I was an undergrad. I was also a theater and film major. So I either was going to be ‘Top Gun’ when I graduated, or I was going to be a waiter. […] I went through Officer Candidate School and went through flight school and the further I got along, the more I realized that, if I continue flying, I’m not going to be able to pursue my dream of comedy and acting. So I stopped flying, became a ground officer, had a short contract, fulfilled my contract and pursued comedy and acting. I stayed in the reserves though, serving there for 14 years,” Riggle told CBS News.

In 2001, the day after the September 11th attacks, Riggle was called by the Marine Corps Reserves to report to Ground Zero to help move rubble by hand and search for survivors. Six days of emotionally and physically grueling 12-hour shifts followed, and a few weeks later, Riggle volunteered to return to active duty. He was deployed to Afghanistan, where during his two tours he served under Lt. Col. Max Bowers, an Army colonel who was part of 12 special forces who were sent there immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Bowers was the commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. In 2017’s 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers, Riggle was honored to portray Bowers. He told ABC News, “After I volunteered to go back on active duty … I worked directly for him. He was my direct boss. I was doing public affairs and some civil affairs work for him. Now I’m playing [him] in the movie.”

Of the 12 Special Forces featured in the movie, Riggle says “TheyStephen Colbert and guest Rob Riggle Stephen Colbert and guest Rob Riggle were the first guys in. They teamed up with the Afghan Northern Alliance and did some truly amazing things, fighting in the mountains on horseback under intense conditions. They took three warlords and brought them together, fighting a pretty well-armed and entrenched Taliban force.”

As the ruins of the twin towers still smoldered at Ground Zero, Bowers and the U.S. Special Forces began the grisly war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In Liberty Park, a one-acre elevated public park at the World Trade Center in New York City, a statue stands overlooking the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. America’s Response Monument, or “De Oppresso Liber” (the motto of U.S. Army Special Forces that means “To free the oppressed”), is dedicated to the U.S. troops who responded in those weeks following 9/11. The 18-foot bronze statue depicts a Green Beret soldier on horseback, symbolizing the horses that the Afghan tribes provided our troops to navigate the mountainous Northern Afghanistan terrain. Most of those U.S. troops had never been on horseback before. In the age of modern warfare, it is remarkable that the initial response to the worst attack on American soil was fought in the same cavalry style as the forefathers of this country.

Although Riggle usually plays comedic roles, 12 Strong gave him the opportunity to play a dramatic character, who helps tell a story Riggle himself is passionate about. Transitioning from comedy to a drama left him a little out of his comfort zone on set, but the story and the truth behind it made it something he’s proud of. Speaking of the real people who inspired the book The Horse Soldiers and this 12 Strong movie, Riggle says, “In the annals of military history, this is something pretty special, when you think about what [the soldiers] did with what they had, where they were, in the amount of time that they did it.”

Rob Riggle Hosts Shoebox'As for the transition into acting, he notes that much of what he experienced in the military has helped in his comedy career. “You have to have thick skin, and you have to be able to bounce back from rejection and adversity. And you also have to have a mindset of ‘I’m not gonna quit until I accomplish my mission.’ So you learn those intangibles in the military, and those intangibles carried over and have sustained me in my comedy career,” he said. His career in acting and comedy was rather a trial-and-error process for him, as identifying what sort of sketches and scripts would suit him became easier the more he wrote and acted.

Riggle considers himself fortunate to have been able to pursue both paths that he was passionate about as a college student, and he’s still an active member of the veteran community. He participates in multiple charities, including Conservation International, ENOUGH Project, Entertainment Industry Foundation, Friars Foundation, James R. Jordan Foundation, Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Opportunity Village, Stand Up To Cancer, United Service Organization, We Advance, and Cats Care.

He also founded and hosts the Rob Riggle InVETational Golf Classic to raise funds for the Semper Fi Fund, which provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post-9/11 combat wounded, critically ill and catastrophically injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Riggle speaks proudly and candidly of his military career, and lives out the official motto of the Marine Corps League, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” Although his career is now focused on being a comedian and actor, Rob Riggle remains honored to call himself a veteran. His heart and mind are never far from his military comrades, and he continues to support them no matter where he goes.

Univision Communications Inc and We Are The Mighty Hit the Dance Floor with First-Ever “Salsa InVETational” for U.S. Military and Hispanic Community

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salsa dancing veterans

SAN ANTONIO – In recognition of National Military Appreciation Month in May, Univision Communications Inc. (UCI), the leading media company serving Hispanic America, and We Are The Mighty (WATM), the leading media brand for the military-veteran community, today announced their collaboration to stage the first-ever Salsa InVETational, a dance competition for active duty service members and military veterans. The day-long event celebrating the spirit of service and Hispanic culture in the military will take place on Saturday, May 12 in San Antonio, Texas at Hangar 9, Brooks Air Force Base from 2 pm-10 pm with Lackland Fisher House benefitting from donations and awareness.

Salsa dance therapy is considered an effective and fun way for veterans to build confidence, engage socially and transition to civilian life in addition to aiding the ongoing treatment of various physical conditions associated with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS).

Service members and veterans will be the main event as they compete alongside their dance partners showcasing their best Latin dance moves for Salsa, Merengue and Bachata, vying for 1st place prize of $1,000 in each category and $500 for 2nd place. Festival activities, food and musical acts Oscar D’Leon, Messiah, Play-N-Skillz, and Fort Sam’s Own are scheduled during this celebration of America’s heroes as part of National Military Appreciation Month, a declaration that encourages U.S. citizens to observe the month in a symbol of unity.

Hispanics have a longstanding tradition of military service to our country. According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs 2014 Minority Veterans Report, Hispanics comprise 12.4% of Post-911 veterans with more than one million Latinos currently in uniform.

“UCI is proud to join forces with We Are The Mighty to give back to our military veterans, their families and community,” said Chris Morris, Vice President and General Manager at UCI for San Antonio. “This event celebrates our military’s diverse and inclusive community and embraces the powerful contributions our veterans have made to our nation and beyond.”

“Salsa dancing nights have long been enjoyed by active duty military and veterans alike not only for therapeutic purposes, but as a cultural connection within the military community,” noted David Gale, CEO & Co-Founder, We Are The Mighty. “Salsa is also an opportunity for military and civilians to connect through the joy of dancing. We are grateful to Univision for partnering on this visionary, lifestyle event and are inspired by Lackland Fisher House and the work they do for San Antonio’s veterans and their families.”

Military and ex-military interested in participating with a partner must be at least 21 years of age. The next qualifying round is May 6 at Arjon’s International Club. Registration starts at 8 p.m. and the contest kicks off at 9:30 p.m. Five couples from each category will advance to the finals on May 12. For more information about Salsa InVETational participation requirements and festival information, please visit WeAreTheyMighty.com.

Salsa InVETational will be free to active duty military and veterans with proof of veteran status. Tickets are available for those interested in attending the event and can be purchased at myticketgenius.com.

Sponsors for Salsa InVETational include Cavender Toyota and Cavender Audi.

Veteran advocates rally to bring more resources to Southern California veterans

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Kevin is the principal attorney at Snyder Law, PC an Irvine based firm focused on protecting families through estate planning, administration, and elder law. In addition, a unique portion of Kevin’s practice also involves veteran defense –  defending criminal justice-involved military and veterans across Southern California. Kevin earned his LL.M from the California Western School of Law; his JD from the University of Richmond School of Law, and completed his undergraduate studies at Boston College. Prior to law school, Kevin served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps where he met his wonderful wife, business partner, and mother of their tribe of three.


Deirdre is the President-Elect of the Orange County Bar Association and will be its President in 2019.

For more than 25 years, Deirdre has worked with many of the richly diverse elements of the legal community.  As a law student, Deirdre conducted 25-30 juvenile trials with the LA District Attorney’s office.  She started at Jones Day after graduation, and was then brought in as Vice President and Legal Counsel of American Savings Bank in Irvine, where she resolved legacy issues from the S&L crisis.  Afterward, Deirdre joined a vibrant trial group at Kindel & Anderson, and later practiced real estate litigation with Paul Hastings.  Deirdre then became a law school professor and today is Director of Career Services at Chapman University Dale Fowler School of Law and runs Chapman’s Professional Development Program.

Deirdre is the former Chair of the OCBA’s Judiciary Committee as well as Chair of the OCBA’s Law School Task Force.  She also has been an active member of the OCBA’s Diversity, Mommy Esq., and Pro Bono Committees.  Deirdre is the Treasurer of the OCBA Charitable Fund Board, and serves on the Public Law Center’s Dinner Committee.  Deirdre is active with the Orange County Coalition for Diversity in the Law, the Celtic Bar, ABTL, and the William Gray Legion Lex Inn of Court.  Deirdre is a Past President of the Orange County Women Lawyers Association.


Mischa Martineau is the Founder and President of Martineau Systems – a marketing and training company, since 2003, that empowers individuals and enterprises to articulate their unique value and execute strategy for sustainable growth and transformation.

Martineau Systems brands include, California Life Solutions and its flagship product I AM Who I Say I AM – Believe & Achieve™ a cognitive neuroscience-based curriculum that empowers -private and public sector – participants to believe in their greater capabilities, set and achieve lofty goals.

Martineau Systems partners with ON-STRATEGY® – a consulting firm operating in Latin America and North America – on a joint mission to empower mid to large market enterprises to increase their global competitiveness.

Ms. Martineau recently delivered a keynote for Women in Technology International and is a Business Advisor for Executive Next Practices – a C-Level advisory and thought leadership group headquartered at UCI Applied Innovation. It was featured by Forbes as one of the most innovative and relevant organizations for middle to large market leaders and nominated by the Orange County Business Journal as Innovators of the Year.

On the lighter-side, Mischa has performed stand-up comedy at the Brea Improv, California and appeared in independent films, television and stage. She is an extraordinary keynote speaker!


A long time supporter of various non-profits, Wendy and her significant other Mick (who is a US Marine) are delighted to be involved with Veterans Legal Institute.

Wendy Hooper is a residential real estate expert in Orange County. She began her career in 1984 and has seen pretty much everything since then. She loves helping her many clients make the smartest real estate investment decisions, addressing their uniquely individual needs. This includes aiding veterans to maximize their VA home buying benefits.

In her spare time you will likely find Wendy tossing balls to “Harley” her beloved Louisiana Catahoula at Huntington Dog Beach.

Army Vet Helps Wounded Troops Find Way Back to True Selves

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army veteran coaching volleyball

At 6’2″, Army veteran Sarah Hughbanks has a bird’s-eye view of wounded warriors on the sitting volleyball court.

The assistant coach also has a clear view of what sitting volleyball and other adaptive sports can bring to the lives of wounded, ill and injured soldiers who are training for the 2018 Warrior Games.

“After injuries, some veterans may feel as if they’ve lost opportunities, but things like volleyball can be part of their journey to find their way back to their true self and help them realize they can conquer anything put in front of them,” Hughbanks said.

Her own connection and love of sports began at the age of 4. She learned the fundamentals of sports from her father while she was growing up in Idaho.

“My dad was a big baseball person, so when I came along he started teaching me how to throw a baseball. That basically helped me develop my hand-eye coordination early on,” Hughbanks said.

“I started out playing softball and, of course, basketball, because I was so tall. I made the volleyball team in high school, but I was terrible. I believe it was the height and eye coordination that helped secure my position,” she laughed while recalling her first experience with the sport.

A Welcome Challenge

Hughbanks has come a long way since those high school days. After being honorably discharged from the Army, she eventually found her way to coaching volleyball. “I believe I have a special talent for coaching volleyball. Understanding the game and finding new ways of teaching it is a welcome challenge.“

After a stint coaching at a high school, she was recruited to coach the Armed Forces Volleyball Team at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. While coaching at West Point, Hughbanks volunteered to help coach the Army’s sitting volleyball team there during the 2016 DoD Warrior Games. She enjoyed the experience and made an impression on Team Army sitting volleyball coach Linda Gomez.

“I loved Sarah’s energy and spirit,” Gomez said. “We talked about adaptive sports and her having been in the Army. She fits into my philosophy of working hard and staying humble. She takes direction very well and from a leadership standpoint to administrative things she just gets it. She’s a hard worker.

“This is a labor of love,” she continued, “and we have to remember who we’re serving and we’re always on the same page. She’s been a godsend, and I just think she’s a phenomenal person.”

Hughbanks will tell you that sitting volleyball is much harder than standing volleyball because the ball comes at you so much faster. Your hand-eye coordination has to be spot on, and that’s a challenge. But teaching players to overcome that challenge is very personal for Hughbanks.

“I’ve had battle buddies that have committed suicide,” she said. “I think volleyball, or other sports and activities, can help people connect to something and maybe help them not feel like they should make that decision. I can see it in their faces when they get it. When it all clicks and it comes together and they begin to understand the sport and that connection is made, this is definitely not just about sports or volleyball.”

Hughbanks said she takes particular pride in teaching a sport she loves to soldiers who have never played and seeing them fall in love with the game as she did.

“Knowing that many of the soldiers did not play the sport before they got injured and watching them find a love for it is incredible,” she added. “I love to see the light in their eyes. It’s gratifying to watch them play so hard and know you’ve played a part in this life-changing moment. It’s wonderful.”

Continue onto the USO to read the complete article.

There just isn’t any better way to salute the military and veterans from Country Singers, than to dedicate a CMT video to them.

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Rosemarie

Country Music Stars have kept new and old soldiers near and dear to their hearts and dedications for decades. And now a song and video, by rising Country Singer, Rosemarie, “Since You Let Me Go” does just that!

The song and video are on their way to Military soldiers and Veterans Associations around the World!  To commemorate a Celebration for those who defend our freedom, a special all afternoon concert and “thank you” are planned at the Biggest Fairgrounds in Lebanon, TN.  It will be taking place at the Wilson Pike Fairgrounds, this April 15th 2018. Who better than all-time favorite of the military other than Lee Greenwood, as the headliner with Rosemarie opening up for him and singing her CMT video song, “Since You Let Me Go.”  The show is to benefit the Operation Stand Down in Tennessee.

The video keeps audience’s attention with its fast action and drama of a short film which tells a story through time travel.  It reminds us of the struggles and hardships of loved ones leaving their families and sweethearts to go to war.  Sometimes for a very long time, and for others, never to return.

The video starts out in present time as Rosemarie’s band is setting Rosemarieup for a show.  As she turns and looks into the distance, she believes she sees her sweetheart from many years ago wearing his Military suit from WW2. She calls to him and runs frantically calling for him to stop.  As he proceeds down a hallway and out a door, he is gone.  As she cautiously opens the door, she finds herself back in time in the 1940’s during WW2.  After 3 hours of makeup and hair design, the room and actors have transformed back in time and we see the sweethearts as they danced back in the day for the first time.

A tribute concludes ….. Thanks to the greatest generation for all you did for America!

Rosemarie was born with the desire to perform and sing as a small child. “At 4 and a half I got the “fire in the belly” and have thought about it every day of my life since!!  I spent every day singing along to music and this is how I learned to sing.  It’s something that has to come out of my body and spirit.” “SOME PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD ARE BORN TO DO A CERTAIN THING.    I WAS BORN TO SING”.

“My singing has been my dream and my endeavor alone. I’ve had no Teachers, Mentors, No Publicity, No Financial Support, No Sponsors, Investors, No Family Support, No Voice Lessons, No Agents,  No Connections for Gigs   ……….  JUST ME AND THE DRIVE TO DO IT.  IT’S MY PURPOSE IN LIFE”.

On June 8, 2017 she risked it all and moved 3,000 miles to Nashville, TN with only her Boston Terrier Buster, and made it her second home.  On June 29, 2017 Redridge Entertainment in Nashville created the story to her song “SINCE YOU LET ME GO,” and filmed it.  By the end of August it was edited an finished. Brian Nutter, who tours with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban plays the lead guitar on the video song, “Since You Let Me Go!!!” He makes the guitar sound like a sexy saxophone!

RosemarieRosemarie, a natural born entertainer and vibrant multi-talented stage personality has been exciting the Country Music community with her stellar concerts. “I always think about performing and remember the compliments and happy faces from the audiences during my performances!”  She has performed for tens of thousands of people from every walk of life in the San Francisco Bay Area! Her newly released CD has 5 of her original debut songs written by Nashville writers and produced by Rick Durrett of Rick Durrett Productions and Gary Sadker of RedRidge Entertainment, in Nashville, along with the cover tune “Round the Clock Lovin’ by KT Oslin from back in the 1980’s.

Chris Leuzinger, one of Garth Brooks G men for 25 years, takes lead on, “Cry ‘n Try Again”, “Do Me A Favor”, “Let the Stranger In” and KT Oslin’s, “Round The Clock Lovin’”. Chris was inducted into the Nashville Music Hall of Fame, June 2016. He can play like no one else.

“MY MUSIC COMES WITHIN MY HEART AND SOUL.  AFTER ALL, MUSIC IS WHAT FEELINGS SOUND LIKE”!

The world is finally hearing Rosemarie’s music on a worldwide scale.  AVA Live radio played her song, “Behind Those Eyes” from her Album, January 3, 2018.  It went out to 800,000 listeners internationally.  Jaqueline Jax did a 15 minute live interview after playing her song.  After just 4 weeks they could measure that more than 400,000 listeners had clicked and listened to her interview with the number climbing every day. “Since You Let Me Go” has been released to Midwestern mid-level radio markets and Aritso Management group will be sending out her CMT video to multiple TV stations to get air play.  Be on the look out to see her name in print. She secured a spot at the Radio Convention in February 2018 which is hard to do.  She wowed the radio disc jockeys and producers, many who had never heard her rich timber and unique voice.

And so, what is her plan? Besides having achieved the titles of Corporate Manage, Teacher and Volunteer for Kaiser Hospital and Medical Center in CA and a Volunteer on the San Ramon Library Board and Director of the Jazz Concerts……….Her goal is to raise money for the DISABLED VETERANS OF AMERICA ORGANIZATION, but more importantly to spend time with the disabled from the wars.

“A pang of sorrow tugs at my heart strings whenever I see a Veteran who has been permanently disabled!” I know their lives have been changed forever.  Everything has changed and will probably never be the same again!!  Every minute of every day is hard.  Every hour.  It takes a deep strength down in your body and soul to keep going.  And often times they don’t. I want to be there for them with my music but also with the touch of my hand giving support and hope and encouragement to the disabled and those who have lost limbs.  What a daily, and honestly, hourly struggle to get through life like this.  Permanently changed.  Changed forever. How often it is for other people to forget that they have to fight their disability with courage every day.  Tasks that were every day occurrences now are a struggle.  How often, as is human nature, we forget.  We get tired of seeing them struggle.  Being reminded life can be rough and we stop helping. My goal is to let them know, they are not forgotten.  Give them a happy moment through my music, knowing someone cares and loves them but also understands human suffering on their level. My goal is to have 4 concerts year dedicated to the military and veterans engaging performers like Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood.  An appreciation, but to let soldiers know “We haven’t forgotten.”

“I want to visit the disabled once a month and provide love and encouragement through my music and a touch of my hand and human caring. I understand what it’s like.  I really do. At a very young age of 25 my husband and I both became disabled for a very very long time.  I had an injury to my mouth and large nerve that runs from the brain down through the teeth and jaw.  Trigeminal Neuralgia.  Listed as one of the top 10 most painful afflictions known to mankind.  Life as I knew it was worth less.  I had no quality of life.  Shocking unbearable nerve pain every day 24/7 for 8 years without any relief.  I lost the will to live. Only to find out 2 years later, my handsome husband and National Athlete Winner for the hi-hurdles in College, was to have a brain tumor the size of a golf ball inside his head.  After 2 long 10 hour surgeries, he lost all his hearing on one side with constant pain throughout his body and now had only the energy of an 80 year old man.  He was disabled, couldn’t work for the remainder of his life.  Puttered around the house and fed our animals. His nick name prior to this was “Hercules.”  Family and friends didn’t want to hear we weren’t doing well after a while.  We had to be okay, didn’t we?  We were young and beautiful and had the world by the tale.  They soon dropped off one by one and we didn’t talk about it anymore.  We realized it was just a tendency of human nature”.

“I want to be the support person for these soldiers.”  I want to be the Clara Barton of our time who soothed the souls and the wounds of the soldiers during the Civil War. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT TO ME:  You need to keep giving your gift of singing back into the world.  You need to make others happy, even if it’s for a moment, and heal the hurt in the world.  You need to say “thank you” for the gift.” And so I will “carry on my mission”, and wage the war to fight for them with my voice and compassion, with my first major concert for the Military and on and on it will continue……never to forget”!

View the video and listen to her music below!
rosemariesmusic.com

2018 Gerber Baby comes from Army National Guard family

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man and woman holding child

Georgia Army National Guard Spc. Jason A. Warren, an aircraft powertrain repairer with the Marietta, Georgia-based Company D, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, and his wife Cortney garnered national media attention on Feb. 9 when their son Lucas was named the 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby.

The Warrens were amazed when they received the news of Lucas’ win.

“Absolute shock,” said Jason. “It was hard to believe he won out of 140,000 entries.”

Lucas, diagnosed with Down Syndrome, is the eighth Gerber baby since the contest began in 2010. Inspired by the original Gerber baby sketch of Ann Turner Cook, families began sharing their baby photos with Gerber. In response, Gerber launched its first official photo search competition in 2010.

“We hope this opportunity sheds light on the special needs community and educates people that with acceptance and support, individuals with special needs have potential to change the world,” said Cortney. “Just like our Lucas.”

The Warrens hope other families with special needs children can look to Lucas as a source of inspiration.

“We hope this will help people kick-start their own lives and give them more confidence,” said Jason. “They might think if Lucas can do this, what can I do in my life?”

The winning photo shows Lucas, sitting in an overstuffed chair, grinning from ear to ear wearing a black and pink polka-dot bow tie.

“He is very outgoing and never meets a stranger,” said Cortney. “He loves to play, loves to laugh and to make other people laugh.”

“He is just the absolute cutest thing ever,” said Staff Sgt. Misty D. Crapps, supply sergeant with Company D,171st Aviation Regiment. “He always smiles at everybody he sees.”

Jason looks forward to continued service in the Georgia Army National Guard. He feels a sense of pride and family being part of the organization.

“I absolutely love the Guard: the ability to help my community and serve my country,” said Jason. “The benefits of service are always great to have, and it allows me to serve my country the way I want to.”

Continue onto the U.S. Army Newsroom to read the complete article.

Kirstie Ennis: Going “Full Throttle”

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Kirstie Ennis

By Brady Rhoades

Veteran Kirstie Ennis is one of the best Paralympian snowboarders in the world, and she’s also eying the seven great summits, recently climbing 19,341-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and 16,024-foot Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia. On one leg.

As a Marine Corps sergeant. in Afghanistan—a helicopter door gunner—she wrecked a leg when the helicopter she was in crashed. That leg was amputated above the knee in 2015.

Her jaw was destroyed, she lost teeth, she injured discs in her spine, and she suffered facial lacerations, traumatic brain injury, and PTSD.

In the process of undergoing more than 40 surgeries, she came to a realization, acquiring a come-to-terms toughness and wisdom that would help motivate her to train as a snowboarder for the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang County, in the Gangwon region of South Korea.

And to attempt to conquer the tallest peaks on all seven continents.

Countless times a day, she repeats one of her mantras: Stop worrying about what you lost. Look at what you’ve got. Or: What counts is what’s behind your rib cage and six inches between your ears.

She’s only 26, but her near-death experience offered an invaluable lesson on how precious time is.

“I go full throttle,” she said. “I come up with obnoxious goals and I go after them.”

It’s hard to believe that this fifth-gear athlete chasing Paralympian goals—and literally ascending historic heights for an above-the-knee-amputee mountain climber—spent months in hospital beds, nearly lifeless, filled with doubt, enveloped in depression. She wondered how she’d ever get around, go on. What would she do? Would she ever wear a dress again? Would anyone ever be attracted to her?

Idle time can be a wounded warrior’s worst enemy. Fathers can be their best friends.

“Dad said, ‘People in the Middle East couldn’t kill you, and now you’re going to collapse?'” she recalls. “The light went on and I said, ‘I made it home. Nobody owes me a damn thing.'”

Kirstie Ennis

Ennis had to mine for the toughness that is at her core, but her sense of humor? That comes effortlessly.

The same year her leg was amputated, she participated in the Walking with the Wounded event, in which wounded warriors trek 1,000 miles, ending at Buckingham Palace in London. Ennis left dozens of dog tags bearing the names of fallen comrades along the way. She also met Prince Harry, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

Prince Harry, not one to shirk his duties, logged many miles during the event. At one point, he turned to Ennis and complained that his knee ached.

“I looked over and was like, ‘That’s (expletive) cute, really,’” Ennis said. Prince Harry cracked up.

Ennis and Prince Harry became fast friends. At the conclusion of her walk, she presented the final dog tag to him.

Their embrace was photographed and zoomed across the wires, making her a celebrity in a matter of minutes.

For her service to the country, Ennis has earned the NATO Medal, Combat Action Wings with three gold stars, National Defense Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan National Campaign Medal, two Letters of Appreciation, Certificate of Commendation, and a Certificate of Appreciation.

But who says you can’t be uber-tough and sexy?

ESPN called, asking her to grace the cover of ESPN The Magazine‘s 2017 Body Issue, with rather risqué photos of her on the inside pages. They wanted her to climb Joshua Tree, sans clothes.

She had her doubts. But Ennis tends to run toward challenges, toward fear.

“I thought about it and considered the demographic and the people Kirstie Ennisthat would see it, and I realized that it wasn’t about me anymore,” she said. “Any man, woman, or child facing some sort of adversity has the potential to be inspired by these pictures of someone who has only been missing her leg for a few years go out and do things she wasn’t doing with two legs.”

Ennis appeared in the Body Issue, along with other great athletes, such as Javier Baez (baseball), A.J. Andrews (softball), and Malakai Fekitoa (rugby).

The daughter of two Marines, Ennis enlisted out of Florida when she was 17 years old, in 2008. She served for four years as a helicopter door gunner and airframes mechanic when disaster struck on June 23, 2012.

While on her second deployment in Afghanistan, Ennis’ CH-53D helicopter crashed in the Helmand Province.

Badly injured, she fought to remain on active duty but was medically retired in 2014. After her below-the-knee amputation on November 23, 2015, Ennis contracted the antibiotic-resistant MRSA and, because of a resulting infection, doctors were forced to remove her knee a month later.

“A below-the-knee amputation is night-and-day from above-the-knee,” she said. “You have to relearn everything. You’re basically a toddler.”

When she was told that surgeons would have to perform above-the-knee surgery, she said she “lost it.” She cried. She wailed.

“It’s one curveball after another,” she said.

She still struggles, emotionally. “I’d be lying if I said it’s easy,” she said.

Two years after her life-altering surgery, she’s adapted, and she’s developed coping skills, which is a critical component of recovery.

Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t.

Set lofty goals.

Stay busy.

And true to her military training, be of service to others.

“When I’m having a bad day, I help someone who’s missing three limbs,” she said. “There’s this common misconception about what strength is. In the grand scheme of things, we’re in this together. You have to realize that you have to turn to somebody.”

Some of her best days involving helping other wounded warriors—whether it be through her notoriety as a star Paralympian or simply visiting a hospital.

“I know I’m on a platform,” she said. “I want to inspire people to reach their potential.”

She recalls a wounded warrior uttering eight words that she’ll never forget and that make her journey—as harrowing as it has been—worth it.

“You inspired me to walk another 10 steps,” the woman said.

 

Army Sergeant First Class Wade Mitcheltree Receives ELAN-Controlled Custom Smart Home from the Gary Sinise Foundation

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Gary Sinise Foundation

PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA, February 6, 2018 — During his second tour in Afghanistan in 2012, U.S. Army SFC Wade Mitcheltree was severely injured by an IED, resulting in the loss of both his legs and his right arm below the elbow. When Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) learned of Mitcheltree’s bravery, they awarded him a brand new specially adapted smart-home in Tigard, Oregon, that allows him to independently manage day-to-day tasks with ease.

Randy Reagan of Quadrant Systems, the integration firm that managed the project’ technology integration, knew that an ELAN Entertainment and Control System was the best smart home platform for Mitcheltree and his family. “ELAN is by far the most intuitive control system out there,” Reagan said. “It’s very simple for the homeowner to understand how to use it without having an expert show them. The icons are large, and the lighting controls are laid out on the touch panel the same way they are on the keypads on the wall. It’s perfect for Wade, his wife, and his two sons.”

Reagan built the home’s system around an ELAN gSC10 controller, with an ELAN g1 for secondary control and an ELAN S86A for audio distribution. Multiple ELAN touch panels and remotes were integrated throughout the two-story residence so that the Mitcheltree family can access the platform from any room of the house at any time. With just the tap on a screen, the family can manage the home’s audio, video, lighting, climate and security systems.

“Even if Wade is on the second floor, he can have full control over the whole house using any of the touch panels or his own iPad,” said Reagan. “If someone rings the doorbell, he can easily see and talk to them through the ELAN Intercom, and even unlock the door. We set up ‘away’ and ‘welcome’ scenes on the ELAN system, so that he can easily configure the entire home with just the touch of a button.”

For entertainment, Quadrant Systems also installed a robust multi-Gary Sinise Foundationroom audio system, which includes of SpeakerCraft in-ceiling speakers and Sunfire subwoofers. The entire system is easily controlled through the ELAN platform, so each member of the family can stream any music they choose throughout the whole house or just in one room. This versatility, along with the crystal-clear audio from SpeakerCraft and Sunfire, makes their new home the perfect place to entertain friends and family.

Reagan and his team also installed an impressive security system that Mitcheltree can arm and manage through both a physical keypad and the ELAN platform. It includes a complete and comprehensive DSC system, and is also connected to the motorized locks on the exterior doors. “Through ELAN, Wade and his wife can easily secure their house from their bed or anywhere in the world using their iPads,” said Reagan. “This gives them an incredibly important peace-of-mind and an enhanced sense of security, which is especially important as they have children.”

Judith Otter, Executive Director of the Gary Sinise Foundation, emphasized how important the customized features of the home were to Mitcheltree and his family. “They’ve been through a long and emotional journey working toward Wade’s full recovery, and this home allows them to relax and worry less about daily tasks,” Otter said. “The ELAN system is especially important for Wade, as it allows him nearly complete independence, which otherwise may not have been possible. We’re grateful for the involvement of everyone behind the ELAN brand as we work to continue providing American heroes with a completely customized specially adapted smart home.”

For high-res images of the home, click here. To watch a video of the home dedication, click here.

About ELAN
ELAN, now part of Nortek Security & Control, develops an award-winning line of whole-house entertainment and control solutions distributed through a comprehensive channel of select dealers throughout the United States, Canada, and countries worldwide. The ELAN 8 update was honored with the “2017 Human Interface Product of the Year” award and continues to expand its intuitive functionality. To learn more, visit www.elanhomesystems.com.

About Nortek Security & Control
Nortek Security & Control LLC (NSC) is a global leader in smart connected devices and systems for residential, security, access control, and digital health markets. NSC and its partners have deployed more than 4 million connected systems and over 20 million security and home control sensors and peripherals. Through its family of brands including 2GIG®, ELAN®, GoControl®, Linear®, Mighty Mule® and Numera®, NSC designs solutions for national telecoms, big box retailers, OEM partners, service providers, security dealers and consumers.

Headquartered in Carlsbad, California, NSC is a subsidiary of Melrose Industries PLC, a global investment company specializing in acquisition and performance improvement. With over 50 years of innovation, NSC is dedicated to addressing the lifestyle and business needs of millions of customers every day. For further information, visit nortekcontrol.com.

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