Decorated Naval Officer turned Talk Show Host, Montel Williams, signs on as Host and Co- Executive Producer of “Military Makeover”

LinkedIn
Montel Williams-Military Makeover

When most Americans hear the name, “Montel Williams,” they remember the Emmy Award-winning host of Montel Williams Show, which aired nationally for seventeen years.

Along with being a New York Times bestselling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Montel is also a passionate advocate for veterans, education and health. While his colleagues tended to invite the dramatic or ultra-celebrity guests, Williams often took the platform of education through self help and mental health advocates. Montel’s unrelenting, empathetic kindness acted as a major directive in his pre-and post-show efforts as he was the first to employ a holistic, therapeutic approach. He now serves on the board of directors for the Fisher House Foundation and the Anne Romney Center for Neurological Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

What America may not remember is that Williams is also a decorated military officer, beginning his professional career in the United States Marine Corps, becoming the first black Marine selected to the Naval Academy Prep School to go on to graduate the Naval Academy and be commissioned a Naval Officer. Montel graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in general engineering and a minor in international security affairs and served in the military for a total of 22 years. Montel is thrilled to be a part of Military Makeover, relishing the opportunity to give back to his fellow veterans through this new role allowing him to not only lead as a host, but also to creatively co-produce the show in its new season. Montel’s heart has actively guided him through his career efforts and there is no doubt this show will further his mission of making America a more loving, giving community by leading the Military Makeover team in generously giving back to those who fought for our freedom.

“In the nearly three decades since I retired from the Navy, I’ve never really taken the uniform off Montel-home makeoverbecause standing up for those who are serving now and those who have served has been the greatest honor of my professional career.” – Montel Williams

“We are so excited to welcome Montel Williams into our Military Makeover family and have no doubt that he will take the show to new levels of engagement and success!”
– Mark Alfieri, Founder and CEO of BrandStar

Military Makeover with Montel®, produced by BrandStar, offers hope and a helping hand here on the home front to members of our military and their loved ones. A veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Navy, talk show legend and military advocate Montel Williams seeks to transform the homes and lives of military families across the country. This special series enlists conscientious Fortune 500 companies, designers, contractors, landscapers and other home improvement professionals. Help starts at home for veterans.

Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation Supports Paralyzed Veterans of America on Veteran’s Day

LinkedIn
Brad Keselowski presents check to Bill Lawson

WASHINGTON (Nov. 13, 2018) — Earlier this year, NASCAR driver and 2018 Richtopia Top 100 Philanthropist, Brad Keselowski, announced his Checkered Flag Foundation would support Paralyzed Veterans of America’s employment program, PAVE (Paving Access for Veterans Employment).

Team Penske partners’ Alliance Truck Parts, Snap-On and Würth have also joined these efforts, and on Friday, Keselowski presented a check for $25,000 to Bill Lawson, former president of Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Started in 2007, the PAVE program provides career assistance and vocational support to transitioning service members, veterans, military spouses, and caregivers across the country. Through the PAVE program, clients receive high-touch engagement as they look for meaningful employment. PAVE staff work with members of the veteran community to provide one-on-one support with resume development, sharpen interviewing and networking skills, and build a strong LinkedIn profile. PAVE operates through eight locations nationwide and in 2018, PAVE staff has placed 319 individuals with meaningful employment opportunities.

“Supporting America’s heroes is something that is very important to me, so I’m glad the Checkered Flag Foundation and Paralyzed Veterans of America partnered earlier this year,” said Keselowski. “I’m incredibly thankful that some of my Team Penske partners joined myself and the foundation in our efforts to support this program. This donation will allow Paralyzed Veterans of America the opportunity to continue to serve veterans by providing them, their families and caretakers with career support via the PAVE program. It’s very fitting that we were able to do this on such a special weekend, where we honor and remember all of the veterans who have served.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America not only supports disabled veterans, but all veterans. The organization advocates for quality health care and governmental benefits on behalf of veterans who have rightfully earned them. In addition, the organization is also a champion in fighting for job opportunities for veterans.

“We must be diligent in our efforts to combat unemployment and underemployment of veterans. This summer the veteran unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, an increase from a year ago. But, most concerning, is that nearly one-third of veteran job seekers are underemployed at a rate 15.6 percent higher than non-veteran job seekers,” said David Zurfluh, national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “When organizations such as Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation support our veterans’ employment program, together we are able to improve the lives of veterans, making them unstoppable in their quest for meaningful employment.”

For additional information about Paralyzed Veterans of America’s PAVE program, or to make a donation, visit pva.org.

###
 

About Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation

Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation honors and assists those who have sacrificed greatly for our country. Since 2010, the foundation has supported more than 250 organizations and individuals in order to help veterans and first responders during their road to recovery. There are numerous ways for those interested to become involved. Visit CheckeredFlagFoundation.org for details.

About Paralyzed Veterans of America

Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For more than 70 years, the organization has ensured that veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.

As a life-long partner and advocate for veterans and all people with disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, and provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Learn more at pva.org.

David Goggins Defies the Odds

LinkedIn
Chief Petty Officer David Goggins stands at attention with members of the U.S. Naval Academy’s triathlon team

David Goggins is a hard guy. A survivor of abuse and bigotry who overcame asthma, a learning disability, a stutter, obesity, crushingly low self-esteem and countless fears. A world-record-breaking endurance athlete who once performed 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours.

A Navy SEAL and combat veteran.

After Goggins lost several friends in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2005, he started running as a way to support severely wounded warriors and their families. Since 2005, he has helped raise funds and awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides scholarships and grants to the children of fallen special operations soldiers.

Nothing stops him—except his emotions, especially when speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) in Kansas City, Missouri, who awarded him the 2018 Americanism Award. Choked up, Chief Petty Officer Goggins paused a long moment as he thanked his mother and uncle, then began a heartfelt speech, saying, “I want to thank the VFW very much for giving me this award. It means more to me than anything I have received in my entire life.” He noted that if his grandfather, Sgt. Jack Gardner, were still living, it would be the happiest day of his life to see his grandson accept the award.

After receiving two standing ovations, he told the crowd, “All my life, all I wanted to be was an uncommon man. I was not that. In fact, I was much worse than that. But I read a book about the Medal of Honor—stories about men like you, ‘Doc’ [Donald E. Ballard, Medal of Honor recipient], who had the courage to jump on grenades.”

“I used to look for courage,” Goggins said. “I thought courage was a man who received the Medal of Honor (MOH). It is, but courage is the man who is willing to put those boots on every single day of his life to go out there and fight for his country.”

“I am not a hero. I served with heroes,” he concluded. “I have the upmost respect for all of you in this room. I know what it takes to be a combat soldier.”David Goggins running in triathalon
He knows because he served in Iraq.

In an interview with U.S. Veterans Magazine, he reflected, “I know what a lot of the veterans have gone through. A lot of these vets have been in combat. To put those boots on every day, not knowing if you’ll come back, and the fear you live with all the time and the sacrifices you make to be in the military, I have no words. I only have feelings.”

While the retired 21-year Chief Navy SEAL was defending his country, he says he was rescuing himself.

“To be a veteran is everything to me,” reports Goggins, 43, “[Serving] saved me from the person I was.”

From 1994 to 1999, Goggins served in the United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party. He left the military and was working in pest control when he decided he wanted to try out to be a Navy SEAL. He weighed 300 pounds, couldn’t learn without rewriting books word for word (filling dozens of notebooks), and was afraid of deep water.

It was sink or swim. He did plenty of sinking, but he didn’t drown. His commanders wouldn’t let him, and, ultimately, he wouldn’t let himself.

Using scenes from the movie Rocky as inspiration, and willing to suffer through anything to achieve his goals, he failed and failed … and then he thrived.

After enduring three hell weeks, he was assigned to SEAL Team Five in 2001, and in 2004, Goggins graduated from Army Ranger School as “Enlisted Honor Man.”

“A person who is driven and obsessed … they don’t give a damn what’s in front of them,” he says. “A person who is singularly focused on a mission can get it done.”

Tough love didn’t hurt.

Navy SEAL David Goggins“I found in the military a way to find myself through discipline, through training. It was a kick in the butt.”

That discipline and training—and a nearly-inhuman capacity for suffering—are forged in his character to this day.

Goggins is one of the greatest endurance athletes in the world. He has completed multiple ultra-marathons, triathlons, and ultra-triathlons, setting new course records and regularly placing in the top five. He’s run more than 200 miles nonstop in 39 hours and placed third in the toughest foot race on the planet: the Badwater 135, which takes place in Death Valley during the summer.

He set a Guinness World Record with those 4,030 pull-ups (the record was later broken).

“My greatest strength is my mind,” reports Goggins. “I figured out one thing: Life is one big mind game … and you’re playing against yourself.”

Goggins’ achievements made him the subject of a feature in Runner’s World, where he was named “Running Hero.” Outside Magazine named him “The Fittest (Real) Man in America.” The Navy SEALs tagged him as their poster boy and lead recruiter.

In November 2015, he was the subject of the New York Times bestseller, Living with a SEAL, and since leaving the military, he’s become a prize public speaker. He’s spoken to professional sports teams, Fortune 500 companies, and other large organizations in both the public and private sector.

Everyone wants to know what it takes to become a SEAL, his fitness tips, his inspirational mantras and how in the heck he ran 205 miles in 39 hours.

It was 2005. Goggins got hit with bad news: Several of his buddies had died in Afghanistan in Operation Red Wings. Goggins, never a natural runner, decided to pound ground in the San Diego One Day, which raised money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

He said he wasn’t motivated. Motivation comes and goes. He was, and is, driven.

He nearly died. He tore muscles, broke all the metatarsal bones in his feet and endured screamingly painful shin splints. On bathroom breaks, he was urinating blood. He knew his body was breaking down, but his mind? That’s another story.

“I am scared to death of one thing: disappointing God,” he said. “I know there’s something above David Goggins … I believe in God, and that’s my strength.

“I used everything that God gave me and created a miracle.”

He wants to inspire others—especially those abused in their homes, or stricken with health problems, or living in fear and despair—to do the same.

On December 4, his book, Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, will be released.

If you want a quick fix, it’s probably not for you. Miracles, Goggins believes, are made, and that’s good news.

“I got tired of ‘In five easy steps you can fix your life,'” he said. “You’re not going to get better with that mindset.”

How do you improve?

“Suffering and grinding,” he said.

David Goggins stands at attentionHere are some highlights from the book:
• He thanks people who insulted him, even bigots. “You want to get back at people who don’t like you? Be the best.”
• He elaborates on his 40% Rule. The upshot? You can push past pain, demolish fear and reach your full potential.
• He writes about the concept of the “only.” That’s short-hand for the feeling you get when people isolate you, or you isolate yourself. Goggins said it need not be a negative. “It was my fuel.”

Goggins, who works out about five hours a day, needs fuel. He’s a human conflagration of passion, which is ironic, because he’s a wildland firefighter. Putting out fires is another way to fuel his commitment to serve.

For the last couple of years, he’s spent the fire season slowing and knocking down fires with his crew mates.

He’s in a position where he doesn’t have to do it. That’s the exact reason he should dig fire lines, he says.

“I’m just a guy on the line, man. I’m a guy who sleeps in the dirt … and digs ditches.”

It’s a metaphor for his life. In the face of overwhelming odds, he digs and digs.

“My legacy would be: That was one guy right there that if you told him he couldn’t do it, he is going to find a way through all the doubt, through all the throes. That’s my legacy. A man who didn’t stop trying to achieve more.”

Hollywood Meets the Pentagon

LinkedIn

Actor Gerard Butler spoke to Pentagon reporters about his collaboration with the Navy in making the movie “Hunter Killer” that was recently released.

The Pentagon press briefing studio was filled to capacity as Butler — who plays the commander of the fictional attack sub USS Arkansas in the movie — answered questions about the experience. DOD officials approved the request in December 2014, and the Navy provided access and technical support to the filmmakers.

The movie’s plot focuses on an operation aimed at averting war with Russia. Butler said it brings the submarine genre into the 21st century. “Hunter Killer” is a chance to take viewers into submarines and let them see the culture, “and really see how these people think, work, their courage, their intelligence, basically their brilliance,” the actor said.

The plot alternates between the submarine, a special operations team inserted in Russia and the Pentagon.

Navy Vice Adm. Fritz Roegge, now the president of the National Defense University, was the commander of the U.S. Submarine Force in the Pacific during filming.

Only a small fraction of young Americans qualify to serve in the military. An even smaller number are aware of the opportunities the services offer. “Although the Navy benefits from technology that gives us the world’s most capable platforms and equipment, it is our people who are truly our greatest strength,” he said.

”It’s more important than ever that we find ways to inspire the next generation of warfighters to consider serving our country in the Navy,” Roegge said. Officials stressed that support to “Hunter Killer” or any other movie is done at zero cost to the American taxpayer.

The Actor and Director Donovan Marsh also visited Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut recently, to meet Navy submariners, tour the attack submarine USS Hartford, and share a special premiere of the movie with sailors on base. The movie also stars Gary Oldman and Common.

Continue on to the DoD to read the complete article

Paws of War Launches Nations First Mobile Veterinary Clinic Exclusively for Veterans and First Responders

LinkedIn

Paws of War’s latest mission is to help veterans and first responders get the veterinary care they need for their pets that they may be having difficulty obtaining. On November 8, 2018, they will roll out the “Vets for Vets” program, which is a custom-designed RV that has been outfitted to be a mobile veterinary clinic. The mobile clinic, staffed by a veterinarian, will be on the move providing care to many veteran pets.

“This is the first of its kind,” explains Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws pawsofwar.org. “It’s exclusively for the pets of our disabled veterans and first responders. They need the assistance, we heard their call, and are doing all we can to answer it.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 4 million veterans who have a service-connected disability. A service-connected disability is one that was a result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Additionally, there are many disabled first responders also in need of assistance. Through the “Vets for Vets” mobile veterinary clinic, both disabled veterans and first responders will have the ability to obtain care for their pets. Some of the people may have difficulty getting out of their homes, while others may find veterinary care to be a financial burden.

Paws of War obtained the used 2006 26-foot RV and found that it was in some serious need of repair and renovation in order to meet their mission. That’s when the original manufacturer, LaBoit Specialty Vehicles, stepped in and offered to completely refurbish the RV, all free of charge. Now the mobile veterinary clinic has been completely customized for the Paws of War team and its mission.

“When we first heard about Paws of War, we did a thorough research of the organization and were very impressed with what they do, stated Gil Blais, president of La Boit Specialty Vehicles. “Being a veteran myself, I knew I wanted to help any way I could and renovating their vehicle was right up our alley. The entire La Boit staff felt the urge to help and did so by volunteering their time. We also had vendors donate equipment so it truly was a group effort. We wish Paws of War all the best for such an innovative program!”

Some of the veterinary services that will be provided by the Vets for Vets mobile clinic include:

  • Annual vaccinations
  • Dental care
  • Allergy care
  • Grooming/nail trimming
  • Microchipping
  • Wellness checks
  • Medication that they may not otherwise be able to afford
  • Minor surgeries
  • Bloodwork/testing

“We are really excited about this new program and grateful to La Boit for their generosity in restoring the vehicle,” explained Misseri. “We look forward to hitting the road and helping out our nation’s heroes.”

Paws of War is currently seeking sponsors for the “Vets for Vets” mobile clinic. Those interested in sponsoring the clinic should contact the organization for more details and information. 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.

Sources:

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. Homelessness in America: Focus on Veterans. usich.gov/resources

U.S. Census Bureau. Veterans Day 2017census.gov/newsroom

White House Chef and Combat Veteran Andre Rush Has Signed a Deal to Produce ‘Chef in the City’

LinkedIn

White House Chef Andre Rush is pleased to announce that he has signed a deal to produce an upcoming television show called “Chef in the City.” This unique concept on location cooking show will have acclaimed Chef Rush take the audience on adventures across the United States, visiting restaurants, first responder units, children’s hospitals, local community centers, military bases, and more.

“I’m honored to be able to take all of my years of experience and skills and produce a brand-new television show that will take audiences to locations not normally highlighted on current cooking shows,” says Chef Rush. “Each week I will meet new and interesting people, cook with them, talk over the preparation, and discover new adventures in cooking. It’s going to be an amazing experience for me as well as the audience viewing to take cooking out of the studio and into communities across the U.S.”

Chef Rush is a master ice carver, sommelier, pastry chef, chocolatier, and sugar sculptor, among other specialties. He has had the exciting opportunity to bring his expertise and skill to the White House over the course of several administrations as the executive chef for special dinners, gatherings, banquets and anything directly involving the first family and their invited guests.

Chef Rush is also a combat veteran who retired as a master sergeant after 23 years in the United States Army. During his career, he worked for many leaders including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of the Army, Chief of Staff, and Superintendents of the United States Military Academy (West Point).

In his capacity at West Point, Chef Rush was the senior aide and advisor, chef, and security detail assigned and protocol liaison. He planned, prepared and serviced social functions to thousands of high-ranking foreign and domestic dignitaries, both civilian and military, and was responsible for the training, performance and welfare of dedicated personnel.

Never far from his military roots, Chef Rush is a key advocate for the United Service Organizations (USO), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion as well as a full supporter of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition with the goal of leading a younger generation to a healthier tomorrow.

Continue onto Newswire to read the complete article.

Taya Kyle, Widow of Late U.S. Navy SEAL and “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, Announced as Keynote Speaker for Upcoming Brave B.A.S.H.

LinkedIn
Taya Kyle Keynote Speaker

TAMPA–ART International recently announced that Taya Kyle, widow of late United States Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, commonly known as the “American Sniper” after the title of his New York Times bestselling memoir of the same title, will be the keynote speaker at the organization’s upcoming Brave B.A.S.H. (Building Advocates for Successful Healing) gala.

The organization also announced an all-star musical lineup featuring country artists LOCASH, Billy Dean, Tim Rushlow, Monty Powell, along with jazz artist Anna Wilson. Sawyer Fredericks, winner of “The Voice,” will perform a private concert at an after-party in Ybor City. The Golf Channel’s Lauren Thompson will be emceeing the main event.

The Tampa event, scheduled for Friday, October 19th at The Gathering at Armature Works, is a fundraiser to support the work of ART International, a nonprofit formed by restauranteur and entrepreneur Chris T. Sullivan, with a mission of expanding the reach of Accelerated Resolution Therapy, or ART, and making it more widely accessible to individuals suffering from mental health issues.

Ms. Kyle published a New York Times bestselling memoir, American Wife, after her husband’s book was made into an Academy Award-winning film directed by Clint Eastwood starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller. With humor and vulnerability, Kyle recounts the tremendous highs and lows in her unpredictable life as the wife and now widow of an American hero. She continues to be a contributor on television networks, is a passionate author with new books coming out later this year and next year, and is a public speaker inspiring others to find light in the midst of darkness.

Following the murder of her husband, Chris Kyle, Ms. Kyle founded the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation (CKFF) where she volunteers her time as executive director. The foundation continues Chris Kyle’s legacy of honoring God, country and family. With a team of people behind the mission and donations coming in from across the globe, CKFF is helping first responder and military families not only survive their life of service, but thrive.

ART is an evidenced-based psychotherapy that has demonstrated proven results in treating individuals with post-traumatic stress (PTSD). This treatment provides effective relief from strong physical and emotional reactions associated with PTSD in as few as one to five sessions, with the average being four sessions.

“What motivated me to get involved in connecting more patients and therapists to ART are the staggering number of military, active and retired, deeply and perhaps permanently damaged by PTSD; and the published data that speaks to the effectiveness of ART,” said Chris T. Sullivan, chairman of ART International. “One in five veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is diagnosed with PTSD. Brave B.A.S.H. will look to inspire attendees to support our mission of helping those who have protected us. I’m thrilled that Taya Kyle, along with our musical acts, have joined in to be a part of this special evening.”

ART International is excited to create a memorable experience for their guests at the inaugural Brave B.A.S.H. A VIP reception for sponsors and patrons begins at 6:00 p.m. The gala and music jam, which will be emceed by Lauren Thompson, begins at 7:00 p.m. Guests will experience an electric musical evening featuring performances by award-winning artists LOCASH, Billy Dean, Tim Rushlow, Monty Powell and Anna Wilson during this one-of-a-kind music jam. The after-party, set for 11:00 p.m. at The Attic – Rock Brothers Brewing in Ybor City, will include a private concert by Sawyer Fredericks, winner of “The Voice”.

To purchase a sponsorship or tickets to Brave B.A.S.H or for more information on ART International, please visit artherapyinternational.org or call (813) 435-1374.

###

About ART International Training and Research

ART International Training and Research Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was created and is supported by the Chris T. Sullivan Foundation and private funding sources. ART International offers training in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) to licensed mental health clinicians to increase access of treatment worldwide; provides financial support of the most current, effective and innovative clinical research related to ART; and develops financial assistance opportunities for those in need of the therapy.

ART has been successful in treating individuals with post-traumatic stress (PTSD) by reprograming distressing memories and negative images that are stored in the brain so that they no longer trigger strong physical and emotional reactions — and establish a positive change for adverse psychological conditions. For more information, visit artherapyinternational.org.

Guardians of Rescue in Dire Need of Assistance Rescuing Animals in Hurricane Florence’s Path

LinkedIn

Many people find it difficult enough to get themselves and their family evacuated when a hurricane is headed their way. Add to the stress that they may have pets and often times they simply have no idea what to do with them, opting to leave them behind.

Guardians of Rescue are now on the ground working nonstop in Wilmington, North Carolina and surrounding areas to help rescue the many animals that were left behind. The rescue group is assisting the Pender County Humane Society. The city has been hard hit by the hurricane and is now completely cut off as all roads leading into it have been flooded.

“We’ve helped rescue animals in many hurricanes, but this one has to be one of the worst hurricanes to get access to the animals in need,” explains Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue, an animal rescue organization. “So many animals were left behind. We are getting calls about dogs left in kennels in backyards that are completely flooded, cats on rooftops, and horses in flooded fields etc.”

Many animals have already been rescued with many more still waiting to be. The rescue group has been getting many phone calls from people who have left behind animals or who have seen animals in dire situations in need of help. Road closures all around the area are making it extremely challenging and dangerous to reach the animals in need, but the group continues on, making as many rescues as possible. Guardians of Rescue are asking the public to assist in the rescue efforts to help make the mission a success. They need financial assistance, volunteers, pet food, and medicine.

It’s important that those with pets know what to do if a hurricane were to become a threat. Here are some tips pre and post hurricane situations to keep in mind:

  • Have a plan in place.Important to have a plan so you know what you will do if a hurricane becomes an issue. Be sure that you know where local shelters are that will accept pets, locate pet-friendly hotels and boarding houses outside of your evacuation area, or have a list of friends or family outside the area who you could call on for assistance.
  • Get your pet microchipped. If your pet were to become lost from you during a hurricane it’s important that you have them microchipped so they can be reunited after the storm is over. Those with large animals, such as horses or livestock, should make sure they all have identification, evacuate the animals whenever possible, and ensure they have food and water if they must be left behind.
  • Have an emergency kit.Your emergency kit should have any medication your pet needs, food, water, a leash, sanitation items (litter box, trash bags, etc.) and a carrier. Also, have a picture of your pet in the kit so that if you become separated you can use it to help locate them again.
  • Leaving them behind.While for many people it is unfathomable to leave a pet behind during a hurricane, some people feel they have no choice but to do so. If you feel you have no other option than to leave your pet behind, do not confine them to a room or crate. Let them have the ability to move about so they can try to seek out safety, and be sure to leave plenty of food and water.

“What we are seeing out here is nothing short of heartbreaking,” adds Misseri. “We are doing everything we can to help these animals who are in desperate need of being rescued. We need the help of the public to provide the support that is needed to make this mission a success. It’s something we can’t do alone.”

Guardians of Rescue has a goal of raising $80,000 to help with the animal rescue from Hurricane Florence. If every person reading this donates just $5 it will be easy to reach that goal. Those wanting to help support their efforts can log online to make a donation: guardiansofrescue.networkforgood.com/projects.

Guardians of Rescue provides assistance to animals out on the streets. They are located in Long Island, New York, and have chapters in Louisiana and Miami but they help animals in many places beyond where their chapters are located on a national/international level. They are also instrumental in helping military members with their pets. To learn more, get involved, or to make a donation to support the Guardians of Rescue, log onto guardiansofrescue.org.

About Guardians of Rescue
Based in New York, Guardians of Rescue is an organization whose mission is to protect the well-being of all animals. They provide aid to animals in distress, including rehabilitation, assisting other rescue groups, and providing support to families, both military and not, who need assistance due to economic factors. To learn more about Guardians of Rescue, visit the site at guardiansofrescue.org.

 # # #

Military Veterans Find New Purpose In Diving For Lost Artifacts

LinkedIn
Treasure Hunters

Jeff MacKinnon is a second-generation diver and treasure hunter who operates a dive team in Cape Breton.  One of his partners – retired US Recon Marine, Dan Griego – has helped recruit fellow veterans to their project — recovering treasure from the ocean off Cape Breton Island.

“Our team is US military veterans,” says MacKinnon.  “They were trained to accomplish extremely difficult missions with considerable personal risk. Once you’ve lived with that kind of adrenaline, returning to normal life is very difficult.  Diving provides the kind of focus and intensity they are used to, which helps them transition to civvy life and cope with PTSD.”

Jeff MacKinnon
Jeff MacKinnon

MacKinnon and his team are working with PTSD specialist Dr. John Whelan of Halifax.  Dr. Whelan provides counseling services to the veterans and documents the results of the program.  One of their goals is to expand the program to other service personnel from Canada and the US who suffer from work-related trauma.

“It would be great to have both Canadian and US veterans working together,” says MacKinnon.  “Not only will it build new relationships, but these folks are all service people, and being able to serve helps with the healing process.”

The purpose of the dive missions is to recover lost artifacts from the many historically-significant shipwrecks that dot the Cape Breton coastline.  MacKinnon hopes to partner with the Nova Scotia government on the project, and eventually establish a museum in Sydney to house some of the recovered items.

Dan Griego
Dan Griego

MacKinnon and his partners also plan to produce a reality-TV series based upon the adventures of the dive team.  The show is in the early stages of development, and has a working title — Operation Recovery.

Read about Jeff and Dan’s dive team treasure hunting partners on their blogs at:

Eric Kocher (retired marine)

imfdb.org/wiki/Eric_Kocher

Eddie Wright (retired marine)

cbsnews.com/news/wounded-iraq-veteran-gets-by-with-a-little-help-from-friends

Cody Miranda (retired marine)

worldteamsports.org/2010/cody-miranda/

Mike Pizzio (retired FBI)

expeditionnews.com/Archives/EN1706.html

Mike Haas (retired Sgt NJ policeman)

Patriots and Animal Lovers Unite to Help Guardians of Rescue Save Hilal

LinkedIn
Soldier holding Hilal

SMITHTOWN, New York– Imagine being an American soldier stationed in a part of the world where a “holy war on dogs” has been declared. In America, dogs are considered man’s best friend. But in some places in the Middle East, the complete opposite is true, creating a harsh environment for the animals.

One U.S. Army Specialist stationed in the Middle East couldn’t idly stand by and watch a puppy being left for dead. Not only did he step in to save it, but he reached out to Guardians of Rescue to help relocate it back to America, where he will make the dog, he named Hilal, a part of his fur-ever family.

“He has a heart of gold, has saved this dog, and can’t bear to leave it behind in a place where it will likely lead to its death,” explains Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue, an animal rescue organization. “Hilal deserves better than that, and so does this soldier who has served his country and is only asking in return that we help get his dog back to the states for him.”

Army Specialist Joseph Gomez found Hilal as a puppy and saved her from the despair that so many dogs in that part of the Middle East succumb to. While for security purposes he cannot share the details of how he rescued her, he can share the condition he was in. He was extremely dehydrated, starving, and in need of medical care. He rescued him, led him to good health, and has created a solid bond with him. Knowing that he would return to the U.S., he reached out to Guardians of Rescue to see if they could help with the risky mission of helping him relocate the dog back to America.

“I saved Hilal once and now I’m hoping that through the Guardians of Rescue people can help me save him a second time,” added Gomez. “I can’t live with the idea of leaving him behind, because I know what will happen to him, and we have a strong bond. I need to take him back to Oklahoma with me.”

Guardians of Rescue are experience at helping soldiers bring their dogs back to the country. They have a team of experts who work at every step of the mission to ensure the dog makes it safely back to the country. Hilal will first be flown into New York, and then will be taken on to Gomez’ home state of Oklahoma, where the two will be reunited for good. It’s a mission that is not only risky, but is also costly, which is why the rescue group is teaming up with those in the public who support the mission and can help make it a reality.

“When we pull off a mission like this we cannot do it alone,” adds Misseri. “This is a mission that takes the support of people in the community who want to give back and help this soldier and his dog. Even small donations help, because they all add up quickly.”

This is a time-sensitive mission, so the rescue group will need to act quickly. All donations are welcome and appreciated, with no amount being too small. True patriots and animal lovers who want to help can log online and make a donation: guardiansofrescue.networkforgood.com/projects/57164-bringing-hilal-home.

Guardians of Rescue provides assistance to animals out on the streets. They are located in Long Island, New York, and have chapters in Louisiana and Miami but they help animals in many places beyond where their chapters are located on a national/international level. They are also instrumental in helping military members with their pets. To learn more, get involved, or to make a donation to support the Guardians of Rescue, log onto guardiansofrescue.org.

About Guardians of Rescue
Based in New York, Guardians of Rescue is an organization whose mission is to protect the well-being of all animals. They provide aid to animals in distress, including rehabilitation, assisting other rescue groups, and providing support to families, both military and not, who need assistance due to economic factors. To learn more about Guardians of Rescue, visit the site at guardiansofrescue.org.

 # # #

Pro Soccer Player Becomes Army Officer

LinkedIn
1st Lt. Anthony Uriarte playing ball

By Sgt. Ian Ives

What would you give to serve your country? Would you turn down an opportunity to play a professional sport? Though soccer has always been a large part 1st Lt. Anthony Uriarte’s life, he declined multiple professional soccer contracts to follow his calling of being an officer in the United States Army.

Now a medical service officer with the 25th Sustainment Brigade, the 26-year-old Uriarte has led an interesting life due to his talent on the soccer field.

At the age of 15, Uriarte was selected to play on a team that would represent the United States on a tour of England and played many prestigious teams during the trip. Several years later, he found himself in college. “I was taking a physical education course and I remember this girl walking in, in an Army Combat Uniform one day, and I was like ‘What,'” said Uriarte. “At the time I didn’t know anything about the military, but I found it so interesting that you could be a student and be in the Army. She always came in on time, and acted very professional. I admired her for that.”

Recalling the female in ACU’s during his physical education class, Uriarte decided to research what the Reserve Officer Training Corps was. After looking at his options, Uriarte applied and was accepted into The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina.

After graduating in 2015 with a bachelor’s in political science with an emphasis on pre-law, Uriarte had to choose which branch of the Army he was going to commission into.

“One of my big things is figuring out what I can do to help other people,” said Uriarte. “So when I found out that I could commission as a medical service officer, I thought ‘That’s perfect.'”

After being commissioned and doing a year of gold-bar recruiting, Uriarte was stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in 2016. While with the ‘Bronco’ brigade, he played on an Armed Forces Soccer team where a fellow player, who had played in All-Army Soccer before, suggested he try out for the team.

After being selected for the All-Army soccer team, Uriarte and his fellow players traveled to Fort 1st Lt. Anthony Uriarte playing ballBenning, Ga. to compete in the Armed Forces soccer tournament against the other branches of the military.

With 2017 came a new assignment in the form of an inter-post transfer to the 25th Sustainment Brigade and another year of All-Army Soccer. Tryouts were also different for Uriarte due to his selection the year prior, giving him an almost guaranteed position on the team.

“No matter what you tell yourself, no matter how much you prepare, when the referee blows that whistle… you’ll think to yourself, ‘Oh crap this is really happening!'” laughed Uriarte.

Since returning from the All-Army Team this year, Uriarte has begun coaching soccer for Hawaii Rush Youth Soccer for boys around the age of 15 years old. Coaching is something that Uriarte says he is becoming increasingly passionate about. He has even spoke with officials from Moanalua High School, Honolulu about becoming a coach for their soccer team.

“As unfortunate as it sounds we all have to get older,” said Uriarte. “Hopefully when my playing days over I will be able to step into a coaching position for All-Army. Even if I am not on the field playing, I can continue contributing in some way.”

Source: army.mil