Kirstie Ennis: Going “Full Throttle”

LinkedIn
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.

 

The iGen iEverything Train is Coming, but Are You Ready?

LinkedIn

Technology is being consumed at an ever increasing rate causing executives, managers, and process improvement experts on the factory floor to re-define the methods of training and dissemination that have become obsolete.

Critical skills and tribal knowledge are being lost as boomers retire and training plans for new employees fall short of preparing workers for the sophistication of the new manufacturing environment.

Move over millennials, here comes the IGen! Born between 1995 and 2005 this group of tech savvy natives is the next cohort and are just now entering the workforce. IGen, or Gen Z as they are often referred, have grown up in a world of social media where Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter reign supreme. These kids are a force to be reckoned with and require access to information in ways that are familiar, immediate, and actionable. Our success depends on them because as the IGen goes, so goes the manufacturing industry, the nation, and the world.

Alliance Resource Group, in partnership with Sify Technologies has pulled together experts from manufacturing, academia and automated methodologies to develop a solution that addresses the manufacturing challenge of this next generation and identifies the key components of a successful framework including content management, dissemination methodology, scalability, and integration with current learning management systems. These components constitute a micro-learning strategy that facilitates current and future state requirements. Developed in participation with a major government funded military program, this framework is at the ready to support the success of our veterans as they transition into civilian careers.

Alliance Resource Group (ARG), is a service disabled veteran owned business located in Newport Beach California. With a foundation in resource management, recruiting, and consulting, ARG provides services to small and medium size companies throughout the United States.

View the ARG White Paper here! Better be prepared for total process transformation if you want to remain competitive.

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

LinkedIn
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.

# # #

Iraq War Veteran Awarded Brand New Vehicle Through TrueCar DrivenToDrive Program

LinkedIn
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.

###

If You’re a Military Planner, You’re a Project Manager

LinkedIn
Project Manager

In the military, there is always action of some kind, from training to maintenance, and behind it all, there is a plan. The framework for military planning is often described as the troopleading procedures, the military decision-making process, or as an acronym such as SMEAC (“S” Situation, “M” Mission, “E” Execution, “A” Administration/Logistics, “C” Command/Signal), or MCPP (The Marine Corps Planning Process), etc.

Successful leaders, both in and out of the military, need to know how to plan and manage projects, which includes adjusting plans as needed to ensure success. It’s project management that executes a marketing campaign, a business plan, or the building of a house or a freeway. In both business and military organizations, there are myriad approaches to management and planning, but all projects have a lifecycle and the same essential components.

The most recognized standard for project management is the PMI (Project Management Institute) process, an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard. It’s based on the doctrine presented in the Project Management Body of Knowledge, which is a guideline for managing projects. If you can look beyond the differences in terminology, you’ll see that it’s very much like military planning.

All forms of project management are a means to solve a problem which, in the military model, can be what to train, how to resupply, or how to plan a battle. In the business model, project management goals may be building a product, providing a service, or achieving a particular result. The process outlined by PMI consist of five phases, beginning with initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and finally closing the project. The PMI process places these phases into the project’s lifecycle, which determines the focus of effort.

Initiating. In the PMI model, this is receiving a task, assigning responsibility or a project manager, and estimating the requirements. In the military model, this is receiving a mission from the command, assessing the mission tasks, conducting necessary reconnaissance, etc. The initiation phase is when initial planning begins, either assembling a planning team or sending out an NCO to gather and coordinate resources.

Planning. In both models, planning is a democratic process of analyzing the mission or requirements, determining a commander’s intent, identifying essential tasks, and deconstructing those tasks. It is looking for any conflict between tasks and resources, timing of events, and end state. There is also a quality component, which will measure the mission’s success. It’s a collaborative process, dependent on the collective and active participation of all participants.

Executing. The phase in which the real work begins, executing is the longest of all the lifecycle phases and where the bulk of the effort is placed. Executing is consuming resources—labor and material—to achieve the project objectives. As requirements, goals or objectives change or risks are uncovered, the plan is adjusted to adapt.

Monitoring and controlling. This phase includes the feedback loop, used to monitor and control where plans are adjusted through the change order process known as the FRAGO (fragmentary order). Through feedback, progress and quality of execution is monitored, controlled and evaluated. Reports are made and plans adjusted accordingly. It’s in this phase of the lifecycle that the commander or the project manager coordinates the main effort and its supporting elements to ensure mission or project success.

Closing. In the last phase of the project lifecycle, the project is closed when the mission is complete. Success is judged in terms of meeting time and quality goals and, often—even in the military—cost. The PMI process describes the project management challenge as the “triple constraint”: balancing resources, time, and quality requirements to achieve your goal.

Project management is essentially the same across industries, as military planning is the same across services and commands. Having a general knowledge of the process is helpful—what will get you a shot at a job is knowing the industry-specific language. As a service member, you may not have a great depth of technical experience in a particular industry, but you have leadership experience. Often the crux of the project management challenge is getting the team to work together, understanding the requirements, and, most importantly, effectively communicating to the stakeholders. Your ability to listen, collaborate, problem solve, and lead are traits that industry is looking for. Your challenge is to translate these qualities into the industry-specific language for your next career.

Author
Mike Olivier

Rob Riggle: Combat to Comedy

LinkedIn
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.

Tips for Veterans Who Want to Be Franchise Owners

LinkedIn
Veteran Enterpreneurs

Veterans and service members are looking into ownership of franchises like never before.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, roughly a quarter of all veterans are interested in starting their own businesses. Franchises are a very popular route to go for many of them. With the business framework already in place, opening a franchise is an easy way to enter the market.

Franchises are so popular that the International Franchise Association reported that 1 of every 7 franchises in America is owned by a veteran.

The number of veterans owning franchises may be so large because of all the help available to make business ownership possible. There are many tools veterans and their spouses can use to help make the decision to buy one of the numerous franchises.

Also hundreds of companies offer incentives for veterans to become a franchise owner. Here are a few things you need to consider if you are interested in franchises.

Veterans are buying into franchises at a record pace. Here are a few things to consider if you are interested in owning one.

Is buying into a franchise a good decision for my military family?

Many veterans and military spouses dream of owning their own business. “My husband wants to own a small bar when he retires. He has talked about it casually for years. I have always wanted to own a coffee shop. While we both dream of these things, I have to wonder if either of them will ever become a reality.”

Do you dream of owning a business? Would it be one of the thousands of franchises in America?

The first things you need to do when considering opening a business is to decide if owning a franchise is the right thing for you and your family.

Ask yourself the following four questions:

  1. Are you passionate about the industry you are considering?
  2. Is this merely a hobby you enjoy or will you actually like to take this on as a business?
  3. Is there room in the market for this business?
  4. Is this the right time in your life to open a business?

Think about your family’s circumstances, financial stability and viability of franchise ownership. If your family decides that owning one of the franchises available is the right move, then you need to look into how to choose one of the franchises.

How Do I Become a Franchisee?

Start your research with the U.S. Small Business Administration. They have a veterans business outreach center (VBOC) program. They offer services to help veterans with business training, counseling and referrals. This includes workshops on business development for issues such as being self-employed. There are business counselors available to help on a one-on-one instance as well.

The VBOC program also offers a feasibility analysis to help veterans determine if a business will be successful. They will review your business plan in doing so.

There are 8 things to do to own one of the franchises available in the United States. First, decide which type of franchise you would like to own. Next you should look to see what franchises are available in that industry. You will want to take into consideration the requirements to own a particular franchise in that segment. You should also research the market in the place you wish to open your business.

If all looks well, then you can send an inquiry to the franchise. You’ll need to fill out an application for the franchisor. They will want to see if you are a good candidate to own one of their franchises. When you get a reply, if it is positive you will need to think of the next steps. This will start with finances. You need to decide how you will fund purchasing a franchise.

What Incentives are Available to Veterans for Starting a Franchise?

Most businesses require a buy in and you might not have the startup money for it. Luckily, many businesses offer incentives and discounts for veterans to open one of their franchises.

There are 650 franchises listed with the International Franchise Association that offer these incentives and discounts for veterans and their spouses.

The Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, VetFran has helped 2,089 veterans become small-business owners with their financial incentives.

Politicians are getting into the spirit of veteran-owned businesses as well. The Veteran Entrepreneurs Act of 2017 was introduced at the beginning of the year. Its purpose is to provide entrepreneurship training to veterans and their spouses. The bill would amend the Small Business Act to include a female veteran’s business training program as well as one for disabled veterans. An outreach center will provide financial assistance including financial management, marketing advice, training and technical help.

Author
Kimber Green
Source: MilitaryShoppers.com

DAV’s Victories for Veterans Fitness Challenge

LinkedIn
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

Caregiver Shares the Untold Children’s Story: Hero At Home

LinkedIn
hero at home book cover

New book explains physical injuries of wounded Veterans to children

For the three young daughters of wounded veteran, Michael Verardo, his missing limb is a symbol of heroism. After Verardo’s oldest daughter told her mother, Sarah, before bed one evening that, “Someone told me Daddy is gross, but he isn’t gross, he’s a hero!”; the family realized there was no book that explained these types of wounds to children.  Sarah Verardo is the wife and Caregiver to Michael, and also the Executive Director of The Independence Fund.  Following her daughter’s bedtime declaration, she decided to do something to help all children understand the serious injuries of war, so she authored and published a first of its kind children’s book, Hero At Home. Complete with captivating imagery and illustrations of a wounded Veteran, Hero at Home, is an educational and heart-warming story that normalizes these catastrophic conditions and teaches even very young readers how to welcome, understand, and support these resilient veterans and their families.

“There are many military families, who struggle with explaining the complex injuries to their own children, and even more so with children who are not exposed to this life on a daily basis,” said Sarah. “Our goal with this book is to be able to describe this in a way that allows children to understand the sacrifices made by our Nations wounded Veterans; and to see that they are truly heroes.”

Michael is one of the most severely wounded Veterans from the Global War on Terror. While serving as an infantryman with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan, he sustained catastrophic and life changing injuries in 2010. His long road home has included more than100 surgeries and years of speech, visual, physical and occupational therapies. Sarah has dedicated her life to the care and recovery of her husband, and to Veterans and Caregivers nationwide in addition to raising their family. Sarah and Michael live outside Charlotte, North Carolina with their three young daughters and three golden labs. They know that for the severely wounded, the fight never truly ends. They proudly continue their service on the home front by supporting the enactment of policies, programs, and changes to improve the lives and the future for severely wounded veterans and their families.

Sarah Verardo will travel to Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Salt Lake City in the coming weeks to share the story of Hero At Home.

###

About The Independence Fund

Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund is committed to empowering our nation’s severely wounded, injured, or ill Veterans to overcome physical, mental, and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty. We are dedicated to improving the lives of both our Veterans and their families. Through four distinct pillars of support, the Mobility, Caregiver, Adaptive Sports, and Advocacy programs, The Independence Fund bridges the gap of unmet needs for Veterans and their caregivers.

For more details regarding the Independence Fund’s mission, how to get involved, or to make a donation, please visit www.independencefund.org or call (888)-851-7996.

Rescued From a Burn Pit, Soldier Fights to Bring Dog Home With Him

LinkedIn
Mimi Rescue Dog

NEW YORK, NY – (May 8, 2018) – May is National Military Appreciation Month, making it a great time to do something for those who help protect the nation. There’s one soldier stationed in Afghanistan who is looking for some help this month, as he strives to bring Mimi, his beloved dog, home to the U.S. with him. While it may sound like an easy task, it’s actually a challenge that he can only accomplish through the help of others. Paws of War is leading the fight to help U.S. Army Spec. Zachery McEntire be able to bring the dog that he saved back home with him.

“Mimi is very special to Zack, and we will do everything we can to help keep them together,” explains Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “However, bringing a dog from Afghanistan back to the United States is challenging and costly. We can’t do it without the help of the public.”

The process is complicated and the cost to bring Mimi back home with Zack is around $6,000, which covers quarantine, necessary veterinary care, paperwork, and transport charges. The dog is expected to land at JFK airport in June 2018. For one person it is a hefty sum, but for many people who chip in a little bit each, it’s easy to meet that expense and bring the dog to the U.S. The story of how they met is one that further strengthens the bonds between the two.

Zack climbed 50 feet down a garbage burn pit that was filled with used medical supplies in order to save the puppy. The two immediately bonded and Mimi because the brightest part of his day and the most comforting part of his night. Being stationed in one of the most dangerous places in the world, Mimi brought him a sense of peace and comfort that he wouldn’t have otherwise had. Unless he is able to bring Mimi back home to Texas with him, she would end up out on the streets living a harsh life or would end up euthanized.

“I know that I saved Mimi from that burn pit, but in a way I feel like she saved me,” explains Zachery McEntire. “I can’t imagine leaving her behind. We belong together and it means a lot to me to be able to take her home to Texas with me.”

Paws of War has teamed up with the group Nowzad Dogs in Afghanistan to assist with the complex task of getting Mimi to the U.S. Those who would like to donate to help keep Mimi and Zack together can do so online:

pawsofwar.networkforgood.com/projects/52658-war-torn-pups-operation-mimi

“We are committed to helping our soldiers with situations like this Mimi with Zackas we know how much it means to them,” says Dori Scofield, co-founder of Paws of War. “But we can’t do it without the assistance of the public. This is a great way to give back to those who give us so much.”

Paws of War is an all volunteer organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets, and provides service and service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD. To learn more about Paws of War or make a donation to support their efforts, visit their site at: pawsofwar.org.

 

About Paws of War

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

# # #

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

LinkedIn
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.