Navy SEAL Jason Redman To Host Los Angeles Fundraiser for Warfare Disability to Benefit the Combat Wounded Coalition and The Overcome Academy-Award-Winning Actress Sharon Stone to Lead Live Fundraising Auction

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CWC

Event Hosted by Ferrari of Beverly Hills

Overcome Academy and The Combat Wounded Coalition will hold a February 15th Los Angeles evening fundraiser to raise awareness and support the sacrifices made by combat wounded warriors. Orchestrated by Retired Navy SEAL Jason Redman, a wounded warrior himself and founder of the Overcome Academy, the event at Peterson Automotive Museum will include a live charity auction conducted by award-winning actress, activist and philanthropist Sharon Stone to support the missions of the Overcome Academy and The Combat Wounded Coalition. The event is hosted by Ferrari of Beverly Hills. Associate supporters are RM/Sotheby’s, Ferrari Financial Service, Bruce Meyer and Ferrari Lake Forest.

To support this evening of true camaraderie that recognizes the importance of our combat wounded warriors’ sacrifices, charitable contributions can be made by visiting: www.combatwoundedcoalition.org. The February 15th event at the Peterson Auto Museum, located at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, will include drinks, entertainment and special guests.

Retired Navy SEAL, Jason “Jay” Redman is the author of The Trident, a riveting memoir capturing a 21-year career and journey in leadership serving with the US Navy SEAL Teams. He is a nationally sought after motivational speaker and the founder of SOF Spoken speaking company providing inspirational presentations across the country to Fortune 500 companies, sports teams and organizations. Severely wounded on a combat operation in Iraq in 2007, Redman would undergo almost 40 surgeries over the next four years. During his recovery, Redman and his wife founded and launched Wounded Wear, a non-profit organization committed to providing wounded warriors free clothing and clothing modifications based off Redman’s experiences with his own wounds and public reactions to his injuries. In 2015, Redman expanded Wounded Wear into the Combat Wounded Coalition.

The Combat Wounded Coalition™ is a nationally known Non-Profit Organization (Tax ID – 27-0426467) that inspires combat-wounded warriors, their families, and families of the fallen to Overcome through four program pillars – Pride – Power – Purpose and Peace. The Combat Wounded Coalition connects combat wounded warriors with vetted partner organizations to directly match and help fund warrior needs with partner services. The Combat Wounded Coalition then provides the oversight, management and accountability of warriors as they pass through the Four Pillar Pipeline tracking them before, during, and after receiving support and services provided by the CWC and our strategic partners.

In 2017, Redman observing and recognizing the growing difficulty for wounded warriors to transition successfully back into civilian life, created the Overcome Academy, a ground-breaking program with support from licensed retired Navy psychologists, certified disability specialists, leadership and trauma experts, Old Dominion University, and The Combat Wounded Coalition.

The Overcome Academy is a brand new, curriculum-based program, based in Virginia, operated through Combat Wounded Coalition, that teaches leadership, resiliency and communication skills for wounded warriors to get them back into their communities as leaders working with schools, businesses and youth mentorship programs. Though there are many programs that help warriors find educational opportunities and employment opportunities, one of the key problems is many warriors do not know who they are in the civilian world yet. The Overcome Academy seeks to assist them to understand who they are; what their purpose and mission is and most importantly how to lead themselves to accomplish it. The purpose of the Overcome Academy is to teach returning warriors how to be leaders within their family, workplace and community; how to build structure within their own lives, lead themselves and then how to take that knowledge and use it to lead others. www.OvercomeAcademy.org – Proceeds raised from this event will be targeted for the growth and development of the Overcome Academy. The first inaugural Overcome Academy class begins Feb 19th in Virginia Beach, VA.

After 21 years in the US Navy, Redman retired in 2013 and lives in Virginia with his wife and three children. Redman has appeared on multiple national news networks including Fox News, CBS, CNN and CBN. He has appeared on “Fox and Friends” multiple times and the “Huckabee” show. He has appeared in multiple documentaries including History Channel’s “Navy SEALs, America’s Secret Warriors.” Additionally, Redman is an actor playing the lead role in the film “The Perfect Day” and a supporting character on an episode of “Hawaii 5-0.”

Social Media Links

Facebook – https://business.facebook.com/combatwoundedcoalition

Twitter – https://twitter.com/cwc_org

Hashtag #overcomeacademy

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DAV’s Victories for Veterans Fitness Challenge

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DAV

Veterans face a variety of obstacles each day — from dealing with debilitating injuries to finding secure housing and employment. Through DAV’s Victories for Veterans Challenge, veteran supporters like you can assist our nation’s heroes in overcoming these hurdles by creating your own personal challenge from wherever you are.

Now, throughout May—Military Appreciation Month—you can show your appreciation to our nation’s veterans by dedicating the month to run, walk, ride or roll all the miles you can in recognition of the challenges our veterans face.

 

 

Dav Challenge

1. Decide what you’ll challenge yourself to do. No challenge is too big or too small — pick a fitness goal personal to you. Then sign up online to officially join the Victories for Veterans Challenge and set your goal.

2. Ask your friends and family to contribute to your fundraising page to make your impact go further.

3. Track your progress toward your goal. You can link your fitness tracker directly to your page or manually log your miles.

If veterans nationwide need our help to achieve their victories and live high-quality lives, we will continue to challenge ourselves. How far will you go?

We’re here to help if you have any questions. You can reach us at events@dav.org or 1-877-426-2838 ext. 1340.

We look forward to challenging ourselves with you this month!

DAV Challenge

DAV launches inaugural Victories for Veterans Fitness Challenge

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Cold Spring, Ky. (April 26, 2018) – DAV (Disabled American Veterans) announced today that registration is open for its 2018 Victories for Veterans Challenge to commemorate Military Appreciation Month in May.

In this virtual fitness challenge, you set your own personal goal to run, walk, ride or roll all the miles you can throughout May. Then, create your fundraising page and join veteran supporters nationwide to achieve your own personal victory. All month, log miles and fundraise for DAV from wherever you are (outside, at the gym, on the track, etc.) to honor the life-changing victories our veterans have achieved and support the 4 million disabled veterans who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms.

“We are excited to bring a new fitness platform online at DAV, to encourage our supporters to raise funds and awareness for our ill and injured heroes, as well as have a focus on their personal wellness and health,” said DAV National Adjutant and CEO Marc Burgess. “Our Victories for Veterans Challenge is a call for all who want to do something to give back to the brave men and women who served during Military Appreciation Month in May.”

Registration is now open at www.victoriesforveterans.com Once registered, participants can login to their personal webpage to manually log activity or sync a fitness device to track fitness progress in real time. Every step taken, every dollar raised, brings us one step closer to creating the next victory for a veteran.

Every year, DAV helps more than one million veterans of all generations, as they face and conquer their challenges — connecting them to the health care, education and financial benefits they’ve earned as well as find employment though DAV job fairs. Learn more about the veterans who have achieved their victories with DAV at www.victoriesforveterans.com

2018 Victories for Veterans key dates include:

May 1: First day of campaign. Supporter miles and fundraising tracking begins online.

May 15: Victories for Veterans Day. Participants encouraged to get out and log miles on this day, snap photos and use #Victories4Vets to share via social media.

May 31: Victory Lap Day. Final day to log miles for the campaign; participants can create “Honor Bibs” to display on their run, walk, ride to honor the veteran in their life.

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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 1 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org.

From Farmer to Fortune, How One Medical Device Revolutionized An Industry

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iwalk-free

Each year, many entrepreneurs bring their products to market. Yet, research shows that the majority of them will not make it. Among those new products each year, there will be rare items that not only make it, but that completely revolutionize an industry. That’s exactly what happened with the iWALK2.0, a medical device that is essentially giving crutches and scooters a run for their money and longevity. In fact, the company has seen such success from the sales of the device that they expect to hit their 100,000th unit sold this year.

“Crutches have been around for 5,000 years, but the iWALK2.0 has already earned its place in the industry as the device of choice for those who have a lower leg injury,” explains Brad Hunter, the innovator of iWALK2.0 and the chief executive officer of the company, iWALKFree, Inc. “Not only have we won multiple awards for the device, but the feedback we’ve gotten and the sales statistics we’re experiencing all point to a robust future for the iWALK2.0.”

The story of the iWALK2.0 begins with a farmer who created the original version to give himself an easier way to be more mobile while recovering from a lower leg injury. Little did he know he was sitting on a billion dollar idea. It was when Hunter came along and saw the potential in the product that the idea was brought to fruition for the mass market. Hunter purchased half of the company, took the device concept to a whole new level, and introduced it to the world.

During Hunter’s first year, the company had a million dollars in sales, confirming what Hunter had suspected, which was that this was going to be a successful product launch. A serial entrepreneur, he was no stranger to the hard work and dedication that it took to help products find their place in the market. While the device continued to do well, it really saw a huge increase in interest and popularity when Harrison Ford was seen using it. Ford then used it again, for a different injury, which further boosted awareness. Since that time, additional celebrities and athletes have used it, including surfer Kelly Slater and hockey player Nick Bonino, among others.

Hunter knows that there is more that goes into a successful company than just having a great product. His secrets to entrepreneurial success include:

  • Have a clear vision before you start anything, and stick with it – no matter what.
  • Do your homework and lay a strong foundation before you make your first commitment.
  • If others say you can’t do it, prove them wrong.
  • Don’t give it 100%. Give it 150%… or more.
  • Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
  • Mediocrity is the enemy of excellence.
  • Build a strong team.
  • Watch your finances – daily. Always know exactly where you are.
  • Be proficient at changing hats minute by minute. Advanced multi-tasking capabilities are essential.
  • Know when to quit. Here’s a hint – never.

“Creating a truly great product is really hard. Building a truly great company is even harder,” adds Hunter. “But if you are dedicated to your vision, work hard, and believe in what you are doing you will increase your chances of success. Believing in yourself is a large part of the equation. I’m thrilled with where the iWALK2.0 is and in its future.”

Sales have soared, the company has won awards for the design and concept of the device, and it is literally revolutionizing the industry. Increasingly, people are opting for the iWALK2.0, which resembles a high-tech pirate’s peg leg, and makes it easier for them to be mobile while they are recovering from a lower leg injury. The iWALK2.0 attaches just below the knee, attaching to and recruits the user’s leg, giving people the ability to stand and walk as they normally do, thus replacing the need for crutches or a scooter. With this route, they are hands-free, which allows them to do things they are used to doing, such as walking their dog, drinking their coffee, using their cellphone, or carrying groceries. In 2017, sales were up 50% over the prior year, and on Amazon the sales were up 154% over the prior year.

The iWALK2.0 is hands-free, easy to learn to use, it’s intuitive, and safe. From the knee up, the leg is doing the same walking motion that comes naturally to it. The device is essentially a temporary lower leg, which gives people their independence and mobility back as they recover from an injury. The device is pain-free, and makes it possible for people to engage in many of their normal routine activities, such as walking the dog, grocery shopping, and walking up or down stairs.

Clinical research, the results of which are on the company website, shows that patients using the iWALK2.0 heal faster, and have a higher sense of satisfaction and a higher rate of compliance. The iWALK2.0 sells for $149 and is available online and through select retailers. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of the device. The device can be used with a cast or boot, and comes with a limited warranty. For more information on the iWALK2.0, visit the site at iwalk-free.com. To see a video of the iWALK2.0 in action, visit iWALK2.0 video on You Tube.

About iWALKFree

The iWALK2.0 is a hands-free knee crutch, made by iWALKFree, Inc. It’s a mobility device used instead of traditional crutches and knee scooters. It offers more comfort and independence, with the hands and arms remaining free. The device offers people a functional and independent lifestyle as they are recovering from many common lower leg injuries. For more information on the iWALK2.0, visit the site at iwalk-free.com

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Lending A Helping “Paw”—Veterans gifted companion dogs through country star Brantley Gilbert

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Companion Pets

They say a dog is man’s best friend—and through the generosity of country music star Brantley Gilbert and several partners, eight deserving veterans are being paired with new canine companions.

“There is nothing like the loyalty, love and companionship of a dog,” said Gilbert. “For some people, a dog can connect unlike even a best friend for those who gave beyond the call of duty to our nation.”

Gilbert partnered with DAV (Disabled American Veterans) to identify veterans who would benefit from the addition of a four-legged friend in their lives, to be gifted as part of his 2018 U.S. tour. Each dog was professionally trained by Custom Canine Unlimited and paired with a veteran and his or her family.

“I love the idea of matching them up with dogs specially trained for Companion Petsthe task of getting their lives to a better place,” Gilbert said.

Marine veteran Jason Hassinger was paired with his dog, Charlie, backstage at Gilbert’s Albany, N.Y., concert in February.

“Brantley was amazingly humble, and you could tell his care for veterans is very genuine,” said Hassinger, who earned a Silver Star for gallantry in Afghanistan. “Charlie has become a friend and an incredible addition to our family.”

Crystal Keiser-Plunkett, a Marine veteran from Tifton, Ga., said the experience of receiving her canine companion, Athena, was life-changing for her and her family.

“Bringing Athena into our lives has brought joy, happiness and has even decreased my anxiety,” she said. “Athena ensures I don’t lie around all day. She wakes me with kisses in the morning, my kids and I spend the days playing with her, and she’s right beside me at night. I’m so glad someone like Brantley thinks about us veterans.”

“This partnership illustrates how DAV transforms the lives of veterans and their families,” said DAV National Commander Delphine Metcalf-Foster. “I’m very thankful Brantley partnered with us and used his platform to amplify our mission of service.”

Veteran Disability Compensation — Unraveling the details of the compensation you deserve

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Army man sitting

Disability Compensation

Disability compensation is a monthly tax-free benefit paid to Veterans who are at least 10 percent disabled because of injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. A disability can apply to physical conditions, such as a chronic knee condition, as well as a mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Benefit

The benefit amount is graduated according to the degree of the Veteran’s disability on a scale from 10 percent to 100 percent (in increments of 10 percent). Compensation may also be paid for disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.

If you have dependents, an additional allowance may be added if your combined disability is rated 30 percent or greater. Your compensation may be offset if you receive military retirement pay, disability severance pay, or separation incentive payments. More information about disability compensation benefit amounts can be found on the Compensation Rates page.

Eligibility

  • Service in the Uniformed Services on active duty, or
  • Active duty for training, or
  • Inactive duty training, and
  • You were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions, and
  • You are at least 10 percent disabled by an injury or disease that was incurred in or aggravated during active duty or active duty for training, or inactive duty training.

Note: If you were on inactive duty for training, the disability must have resulted from injury, heart attack, or stroke.

Evidence Required

  • Medical evidence of a current physical or mental disability, and
  • Evidence of a relationship between your disability and an injury, disease, or event in military service. Medical records or medical opinions are required to establish this relationship.

Note: Under certain circumstances, VA may conclude that certain current disabilities were caused by service, even if there is no specific evidence proving this in your particular claim. The cause of a disability is presumed for the following Veterans who have certain diseases.

Presumed Disability

  • Former prisoners of war
  • Veterans who have certain chronic or tropical diseases that become evident within a specific period of time after discharge from service
  • Veterans who were exposed to ionizing radiation, mustard gas, or Lewisite while in service
  • Veterans who were exposed to certain herbicides, such as by serving in Vietnam
  • Veterans who served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War

Example 1

During a weekend drill, an Army Reservist injures her knee while participating in a physical training class. She is eligible for compensation for residuals of the knee injury.

Example 2

An individual enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 10, 1988, and served for a period of 3 years. He was honorably discharged on June 9, 1991. During his active duty, he fell from a bunk and injured his back. Based on his active service, he is entitled to service-connected benefits for the residuals of his back injury.

How to Apply

For more information on how to apply and for tips on making sure your claim is ready to be processed by VA, benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/apply.asp

Personalized Smart Home Technology Restores Independence for Wounded U.S. Air Force Veteran

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Gary Sinise Foundation

PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA,  — While stationed in Iraq in 2006, Brandon Byers, a Sr. Airman in the U.S. Air Force’s Security Forces, volunteered to take the position of rear gunner on the last truck of a team securing a bridge. During the mission, an IED exploded directly under the truck, doing great damage to Byers’ left leg, necessitating numerous surgeries and eventually amputation.

In recognition of his heroic actions and service to the United States, the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) recently built and gifted the Byers family with a new smart home designed to specifically address his needs.

According to Pat Devlin, President of Dallas-based Smart Systems, which installed the home’s technology, “No one is more deserving of a life-simplifying ELAN smart home system than wounded soldiers. Small things, like being able to adjust the lights or heat from the couch without having to get up, to big things like security and remote control, can make a major difference in daily life and comfort. This was our first project working with the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program, and we were thrilled to be able to show our appreciation for a local veteran.”

Sr. Airman Brandon Byers’ new home is as smart as they come, with electronic door locks, outdoor surveillance cameras, a security system, multi-room and outdoor audio and video, motorized window shades, touch screen video intercoms, a video doorbell, enterprise-grade WiFi and cell phone signal boosters. That’s quite a list, but what makes it officially a “smart home” is the ELAN control system that ties all of those things together and makes them accessible from a single smartphone app that can be used anywhere in the world.

“The ELAN system is the brain,” Devlin said. “Through the ELAN app, or from any of the ELAN touch screens or handheld remotes in the home, each family member can adjust and monitor every one of the technologies installed. If Brandon wants to turn on the air conditioning and open the garage door before he and the family arrive home one day, he can do that from his smart phone. If Mrs. Byers wants to see video of who is at the door from her bedroom, she can do that. If the kids want to shut the blinds, turn up the heat, put on a movie and raise the volume, they can do all of that from a single app. That’s what ‘smart home’ means to us – the ability to control many systems from a single interface. That’s what makes it so useful, and why it was such a vital element in the Gary Sinise Foundation’s goal to provide the Byers family with the simplest living situation possible.”

Gary Sinise FoundationSmart Systems worked with top manufacturers to build out the home, which also includes three Sony HDTVs with one outdoors, 16 SpeakerCraft speakers with two outdoors, a surround sound system with a powerful in-wall Sunfire subwoofer, a Sonos streaming system and Panamax surge protection and battery backup that ensures smooth operation and protection of all the expensive equipment. Through the Panamax equipment’s BlueBOLT functionality, the integrators at Smart Systems can access the system remotely for maintenance and any required troubleshooting. This even goes for the outdoor TV located on the back patio.

Byers’ family can control the system through two ELAN gTP7 touch panels in the master bedroom and the great room, as well as with the couple’s iPad, mobile devices and three ELAN remotes. With electronic door locks, a connected garage door and a Doorbird video door bell, the Byers family has total access and dominion over entering the home. This means they could be away, and log in remotely to unlock the doors and let in a neighbor to water plants or check on the house.

Smart Systems also programmed special “Away” and “Welcome” modes that automatically adjust every home system with a single command. With one touch of the “Away’ button, the security system engages, all the doors lock, the garage door closes, the TVs, lights, and speakers turn off, and the HVAC goes to a pre-set level. Then when they return, the “Welcome” button brings every system back to the way it is normally set.

Gary Sinise FoundationJudith Otter, Executive Director of the Gary Sinise Foundation, added, “Each new home we build is an emotional project where we add another deserving member to the R.I.S.E. community. Sr. Airman Byers and his family have worked hard to regain normalcy for more than a decade, and we are proud to help them gain more independence and control of their environment both in and away from the home. We all know life isn’t easy, particularly for wounded veterans. Where we can make it a bit easier, we try.”

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 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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True Car Announces New Partnership for DrivenToDrive Program with Disabled American Veterans (DAV)

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TrueCar-DAV

DrivenToDrive, a program created to help injured veterans get back behind the wheel, is seeking entries for one deserving veteran to win a vehicle

COLD SPRING, KY (March 15, 2018) —  TrueCar Inc. announced today it is partnering with Disabled American Veterans (DAV) as part of its DrivenToDrive program. DAV is a non-profit charity that provides a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations and their families, helping more than 1 million veterans in positive life-changing ways each year. Launched late last year, DrivenToDrive honors injured American veterans by helping them get back behind the wheel of a retrofitted vehicle.

In celebration of the new partnership with DAV, active members of the military, veterans or immediate family members can enter to win a vehicle through March 18, 2018 at truecar.com/driventodrive.

“DAV is grateful to partner with TrueCar and their DrivenToDrive program, which is designed to help the brave men and women who served our country regain their freedom and independence,” said Marc Burgess, CEO of DAV. “Awarding a vehicle is a special way to recognize the sacrifices a veteran made and dramatically improve his or her quality of life. We’re additionally grateful to TrueCar for supporting DAV’s mission to honor our heroes and make them aware of the assistance we provide at no cost.”

“Driving is an expression of freedom and independence,” said Lucas Donat, Chief Brand Officer at TrueCar. “Helping injured veterans, those that have sacrificed so much for our freedom, to drive again is a cause close to our heart. Last year we had such an incredible response that we are excited to open up the contest again, and we’re honored to be working with DAV.”

This marks the second year TrueCar is running it’s DrivenToDrive vehicle giveaway. Last year, TrueCar presented the keys to a brand-new cargo van to its first-ever winner.

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. TrueCar media line: +1-844-469-8442 (US toll-free)

About DAV

DAV is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans of all generations 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; linking veterans and their families to employment resources; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a nonprofit organization with more than 1 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at dav.org.

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.

Award-Winning Actress Sharon Stone, Navy SEAL Jason Redman Attend Los Angeles Fundraiser for Warfare Disability to Benefit the Combat Wounded Coalition

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Sharon Stone

Overcome Academy and The Combat Wounded Coalition hosted a February 15th Los Angeles fundraiser to raise awareness and support the sacrifices made by combat wounded warriors. Orchestrated by Retired Navy SEAL Jason Redman, a wounded warrior himself and founder of the Overcome Academy, the event at Peterson Automotive Museum included a live charity auction conducted by award-winning actress, activist and philanthropist Sharon Stone to support the missions of the Overcome Academy and The Combat Wounded Coalition. Associate supporters were RM/Sotheby’s, Ferrari Financial Service, Bruce Meyer and Ferrari Lake Forest.

Retired Navy SEAL, Jason “Jay” Redman was severely wounded on a combat operation in Iraq in 2007. During his recovery, Redman and his wife founded and launched Wounded Wear, a non-profit organization committed to providing wounded warriors free clothing and clothing modifications based off Redman’s experiences with his own wounds and public reactions to his injuries. In 2015, Redman expanded Wounded Wear into the Combat Wounded Coalition. www.combatwoundedcoalition.org

The Combat Wounded Coalition™ is a nationally known Non-Profit Organization (Tax ID – 27-0426467) that inspires combat-wounded warriors, their families, and families of the fallen to Overcome through four program pillars – Pride – Power – Purpose and Peace. The Combat Wounded Coalition connects combat wounded warriors with vetted partner organizations to directly match and help fund warrior needs with partner services. The Combat Wounded Coalition then provides the oversight, management and accountability of warriors as they pass through the Four Pillar Pipeline tracking them before, during, and after receiving support and services provided by the CWC and our strategic partners.

In 2017, Redman observing and recognizing the growing difficulty

Jason Redman
Retired Navy SEAL Jason Redman Host of LA Fundraiser for Warfare Disability-Photo Credit: Darcy Fehringer-Mask

for wounded warriors to transition successfully back into civilian life, created the Overcome Academy, a ground-breaking program with support from licensed retired Navy psychologists, certified disability specialists, leadership and trauma experts, Old Dominion University, and The Combat Wounded Coalition.

The Overcome Academy is a brand new, curriculum-based program, based in Virginia, operated through Combat Wounded Coalition, that teaches leadership, resiliency and communication skills for wounded warriors to get them back into their communities as leaders working with schools, businesses and youth mentorship programs. Though there are many programs that help warriors find educational opportunities and employment opportunities, one of the key problems is many warriors do not know who they are in the civilian world yet. The Overcome Academy seeks to assist them to understand who they are; what their purpose and mission is and most importantly how to lead themselves to accomplish it. The purpose of the Overcome Academy is to teach returning warriors how to be leaders within their family, workplace and community; how to build structure within their own lives, lead themselves and then how to take that knowledge and use it to lead others. www.OvercomeAcademy.org – Proceeds raised from this event will be targeted for the growth and development of the Overcome Academy. The first inaugural Overcome Academy class begins Feb 19th in Virginia Beach, VA.

Sharon Stone Photo Credit:
Darcy Fehringer-Mask

 

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.