The Gary Sinise Foundation Changes Another Life: U.S. Army SPC Tyler Jeffries Receives New Smart Home with Tech from Nortek Security & Control

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Disabled veteran sitting in wheelchair in his smart home with disability access

Following in the footsteps of his Navy-veteran father and Air Force-veteran brother, Tyler Jeffries proudly enlisted in the U.S Army in January 2010. After two years of training with the Attack Company 2-1 Infantry Battalion in Ft. Lewis, Washington, Jeffries deployed to Afghanistan’s Kandahar province In April 2012 where, just six months later, in October 2012, Jeffries’ life changed forever when an improvised explosive device explosion took both of his legs.

For Jeffries, this was not a defeat, but merely a setback, and he took his first steps with prosthetic legs after just 44 days, following nearly 30 surgeries.

Jeffries’ story caught the attention of the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) program, which recognized his sacrifice and selected him to receive a new specially adapted smart home in North Carolina, complete with home automation, entertainment, and security technologies from Nortek Security & Control.

Brian Berg, Principal at electronics integration firm Interactive Interiors, designed and installed the home’s technology infrastructure and ELAN control system to provide Jeffries and his family with tools that simplify common household activities and give Tyler added freedom and independence.

“Thanks to the ELAN Control System in this specially-adapted home, SPC Jeffries can easily control lights, music, TV, security, door locks, surveillance, and window shades from anywhere in the home,” Berg said.

Using the simple, intuitive interface in the ELAN mobile app, two wall-mounted ELAN touch panels,RISE-smart home or one of four ELAN HR30 remotes, Jeffries and his family have total dominion over the electronic system in the home. Multiple TVs and several zones of multi-room audio can be turned on and controlled instantly, while property-wide Lutron lighting and motorized window shades are also just a touch away. The home’s climate is controlled with four ELAN thermostats creating distinct automated HVAC zones that can be adjusted right from the ELAN app.

“Tyler loves gaming, so he was really excited about the man cave we designed with a 75” TV and 7.1 surround sound system with SpeakerCraft in-ceiling speakers and a Sunfire subwoofer,” Berg said. “We added custom scenes based on their needs, such as lighting scenes for nighttime that automate multiple rooms and hallways through a single button, or a ‘Movie’ scene that automatically turns on the TV, selects a source, turns down the lights and lowers the motorized window shades. For Tyler, who is most often in a wheelchair while at home, this makes life more enjoyable and saves huge amounts of time for those daily tasks most people take for granted.”

The outdoor lighting is controlled as well, including a spot light on the large American flag in front of the home, and special pathway lights that emit bug spray on command through the ELAN app. The flagpole spotlight is programmed to turn on for morning and evening, and automatically turn off during daytime.

Security was a top concern for Jeffries, so having instant access to the home’s robust 2GIG security system and 10 ELAN surveillance cameras was a huge deal. Whether they are at home, at the grocery store, or halfway around the world, the family can easily view live feeds from the cameras in the ELAN mobile app and review video from the digital video recorder, all without leaving the ELAN app. Because the 2GIG security panel is fully integrated into the ELAN system, an “event” identified by a 2GIG sensor automatically alerts the surveillance system to display the appropriate video feed to the ELAN app. Three of the home’s doors feature electronic door locks that can be opened through the ELAN app, and the two garage doors are remotely accessible as well.

“They love the system,” Berg added, “and they frequently show it off when new people visit the house. It really delivers a much higher standard of living, allowing Tyler and his family to interact with their home in a more natural way that alleviates stress and provides greater comfort, convenience and peace of mind. We were thrilled to play a role in improving this hero’s life and provide modern technologies to give him greater self-sufficiency.”

With daily home life relying on integrated technologies, Interactive Interiors made sure to protect all the equipment with a Panamax M4315-PRO power conditioner and a Panamax MB1500 UPS. The power system includes BlueBOLT remote technology, so the integrator can schedule power cycles of log in remotely should a connected subsystem experience an issue. This expedites service calls and further simplifies reliable operation for the family.

The brain of the system is the ELAN gSC10 system controller, with four additional ELAN g1 controllers providing on-screen display and local control for four TVs. The surveillance system records to a 4TB ELAN NVR, while an ELAN 4K 4×4 matrix offers video distribution for centralized sources such as cable boxes and a Blu-ray player.

In addition to adding scenes and specialized automation, Berg also expects to install more surveillance cameras and potentially add voice control as another easy means of system management.

“Tyler loved that the system can grow and expand to do almost anything they want,” Berg said. “Whether that ends up being voice control, additional security or lighting, or more complex scenes that perform a host of functions from a single button, his ELAN system can do it all.”

About ELAN

ELAN, from 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. The new ELAN Intelligent Touch Panels add face recognition and voice control for a truly intelligent home experience. To learn more, visit www.elanhomesystems.com.

About Nortek Security & Control

Nortek Security & Control LLC (NSC) is a global leader in smart connected devices and systems for residential, security, access control, and digital health markets. NSC and its partners have deployed more than 5 million connected systems and over 25 million security and home control sensors and peripherals. Through its family of brands including 2GIG®, ELAN®, Linear®, GoControl®, Mighty Mule® and Numera®, NSC designs solutions for national telecoms, big box retailers, OEM partners, service providers, security dealers, technology integrators and consumers.

Headquartered in Carlsbad, California, NSC has over 50 years of innovation and is dedicated to addressing the lifestyle and business needs of millions of customers every day. For further information, visit nortekcontrol.com.

Other brand names and product names mentioned herein may be the trademarks, tradenames, service marks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Florida man loses more than 180 pounds to join the Army

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Christopher Montijo speaks live on air about his weight loss

One Florida man is living proof that you can do anything if you want it badly enough. Christopher Montijo, a 28-year-old father of two, said his dream of joining the Army was put on the hold because he was almost 150 pounds over the weight limit, according to WOFL, an Orlando Fox affiliate.

It was “draining to walk, to sleep, to do anything,” he told WOFL; he knew if he wanted to see his children grow up, he’d have to make a major life change.

So he did.

Through cutting out soda and eating out along with walking more, Montijo has dropped over 180 pounds — almost half his body weight — and passed the Army’s physical fitness test. (It doesn’t appear he took a page out of this veteran’s book, who dropped weight by consuming beer and beer only for Lent.)

He told WOFL he “feels amazing,” and he’ll arrive at Fort Jackson at the beginning of 2020 with the rest of the recruits heading to basic training.

Continue on to Task and Purpose to read the complete article.

Stamp aims to raise awareness, funds for PTSD

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PTSD Stamp

Proceeds from sales of a new postage stamp issued recently will go to support post-traumatic stress disorder research and education at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD.

The PTSD center, based at the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, includes seven sites around the country that are focused on studying and treating PTSD, a mental health condition some people develop following a traumatic event such as combat, a natural disaster, sexual assault or a car accident. Symptoms may include reliving the event, avoidance of reminders of the event, negative thoughts and anxiety that linger long after the trauma.

While Paula Schnurr, the PTSD center’s executive director, said she is glad to have the revenue stream to support the center’s work, she also hopes the stamp brings awareness to the condition, which will affect tens of millions people in the U.S. — both veterans and civilians — in their lifetimes.

Schnurr said she hopes “people who have PTSD or family members see this and they might take some action.”

She spoke in a phone interview from Charlotte, N.C., where she participated in an event to celebrate the stamp’s release on Monday.

The stamp, which costs 65 cents, features a green plant sprouting from ground covered with fallen leaves that is intended to symbolize the PTSD healing process, according to a news release from the Postal Service. It was designed by Greg Breeding, the postal service’s art director, and includes original photography by Mark Laita, a Los Angeles-based commercial photographer.

Treatment for PTSD both through medication and therapy has improved in recent years, Schnurr said, noting that some of the center’s research is focused on the effectiveness of different treatments.

Public awareness of PTSD has grown following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, which caused many first responders and others to develop the condition, she said. Subsequent events such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and numerous mass shootings — including one earlier this year at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the city where Monday’s stamp ceremony took place — have kept the condition in the public eye.

In addition to Schnurr, speakers at Monday’s event at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square also included representatives from the American Red Cross, The American Veteran Foundation, the Wounded Warriors Project and the Charlotte Chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Among the speakers was Chuck Denny, the founder of The American Veteran Foundation based in North Carolina, who was a major proponent of the PTSD stamp, in honor of his father, Garland Denny, who served in the Navy in the Korean War and, before his death in 2015, advocated for a stamp to raise money for veteran services.

“The Postal Service is honored to issue this semipostal stamp as a powerful symbol of the healing process, growth and hope for tens of millions of Americans who experience PTSD,” David C. Williams, vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service, said in a news release. “Today, with the issuance of this stamp, the nation renews its commitment to raise funds to help treat soldiers, veterans, first responders, health care providers and other individuals dealing with this condition.”

The price of the stamp includes the cost of a first-class stamp at the time of purchase — which is 55 cents currently — and an amount to fund PTSD research. They are available at post offices around the country, through an online shop at usps.com/store or by calling 800-STAMP24. Sheets of 20 can be purchased for $13.

Congress, through the Semipostal Authorization Act, allows the Postal Service to issue and sell “semipostal” stamps to benefit causes that are “in the national public interest and appropriate.”

Revenue from sales of the Healing PTSD stamp — less the cost of postage and reasonable costs incurred by the Postal Service — will go to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Continue on to Valley News to read the complete article.

One-Man Show Transcends the Life of a Solider

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Douglas Taurel is sitting onstage in a green shirt, pants and headband lighting a cigarette

Douglas Taurel is not an American soldier. He’s never been to war. Yet veterans across the country are saluting him– thanking him for being “their voice,” for telling their stories and for showing the nation what military members go through in times of war and at home.

“I wanted to write something and I was very moved by the stories I was reading in the papers regarding combat veterans with PTSD and not having work. Some particular stories really moved me and started the spark (for the play,)” he said.

For the past five years, Taurel has fine-tuned his one-man show entitled, The American Soldier, which spans all of America’s significant war conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Taurel performs 14 different characters during his 80-minute show, which was performed following Veteran’s Day at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on November 13th.

The characters, which are based upon letters written by real servicemen in each war, include a father in the wake of his soldier son’s suicide; a soldier dealing with the loss of his limb; a wife and son dealing with a deployed father’s absence; and a grieving mother remembering her son at the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

Taurel said over the course of eight years, he spent hours a day at the New York City public library, reading veteran letters and researching each war for the play – reading 20-30 books and thousands of letters.

“I have a storyline that goes through the play,” Taurel says. “I try to talk about the different aspects of war, the challenges and what they [soliders] have to go through.

“The overall theme is thanking family members and veterans. The idea is to give the audience a sincere understanding of what it is that we ask our men and women in arms to do for us. That is the goal,” he added.

Audience members, veterans and critics alike are completely enthralled by Taurel’s performance and his heartfelt portrayal of soldiers and their families. He’s received hundreds of letter and comments regarding the show.

Here are just a few of them below:

“Words cannot express my profound gratitude in being able to Douglas Taurel headshotexperience your amazing performance. As you carried out each story, you truly transcended the audience into the life of a soldier.”

—Mother-in-law of a veteran

“Your performance was first class, moving, thoughtful, compassionate and heartfelt from the very beginning to the end. Tried holding back my tears, but that didn’t last long.”

—Desert Storm combat veteran

“Your passion for the stories you enact help us realize what the American soldier does and why they do it. Your inspiring portrayal of our veterans reminds us of the debt we owe our nations defenders.”

—Vietnam veteran

“I saw and felt the pain and journey of each character you created and remembered all of the tragedy I saw as a nurse in Vietnam.”

—Civilian nurse

Taurel has performed The American Solider more than 8,000 times in 11 different states. His play was one of 100—out of 3,500 entries—nominated for an Amnesty International Award.

But more than awards or reviews, Taurel says the years he spent researching and now portraying military members has given him a whole new appreciation for men and women in uniform.

“What I hope is to share how this allows our veterans to talk about their experiences,” he said. “It honors them and their families in their own words and gives them a voice.

“Now, as a society, we don’t have to make the same kind of commitment or sacrifices that previous generations made. Society functions efficiently even with war. We forget what they go through. My play reminds them.”

Join Will Smith, Dame Helen Mirren, Chris Martin and Team New Directions For Veterans in The World’s Big Sleep Out

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large group of people sleeping outside in sleeping bags

The World’s Big Sleep Out is a one-off global campaign where more than 50,000 change-makers, business-leaders and members of the public around the world will be sleeping out in unison on December 7th, 2019 to create the world’s largest display of solidarity with – and support of – those experiencing homelessness and displacement.

Join Will Smith, Dame Helen Mirren, Chris Martin and Team New Directions For Veterans in The World’s Big Sleep Out global campaign. Up to 2,000 participants will sleep outside the iconic Rose Bowl.

 

A Global Sleep Out to Call for an End to Global Homelessness

The World’s Big Sleep Out is a one-time global event that will see 50,000 people sleeping out in iconic locations like Times Square, the Rose Bowl and Trafalgar Square but also backyards, football fields and parking lots in more than 50 cities around the world to shine the global spotlight on homelessness and internationally displaced people.

The World’s Big Sleep Out will be held on Saturday, December 7, 2019 from 4:30pm to 6:00am.

A list celebrities such as Ziggy Marley, Seth Green, Ellie Goulding, Randy Jackson and Sean Kingston will be performing and reading bedtime stories and those impacted by homelessness will be telling their stories.

Claim your place to Sleep Out with TeamNewDirectionsForVeterans

Normally, you would have to pay a $20 fee to participate, but thanks to New Directions For Veterans’ support, we’ve covered that for you. While your ticket is free and you don’t have to pay to join the team, each of us on #TeamNewDirectionsForVeterans needs to commit to raising as much money as we can to help the charities in our area and throughout the world that are doing the work. Your own donation counts!

 

To claim your place on Team New Directions For Veterans all you have to do is:
Click here to claim your Pre-Paid Team Place and when prompted type in this password 7XNZB2 and then complete the required fields and you’ll be automatically assigned to Team New Directions For Veterans

·  Once you claimed your place on the team, you’ll begin the ‘on-boarding’ process and will receive a welcome email with useful information that generates your JustGiving online fundraising page so you can start fundraising with #ValenceMedia. (Note: If you’re not already on the JustGiving platform, you’ll need to create a JustGiving account).

·  Start spreading the word through your network to collect donations

·  And…if you reach a $1,000 or more individual fundraising goal, we will mark your achievement by including your name in a specially created mural that will be exhibited at the United Nations in February 2020 at an important homelessness summit.

To learn more about this one-off global event that New Directions For Veterans is proud to be a part of visit www.bigsleepout.com.

VetsAid Selects 2019 Veteran NonProfit Partners to Benefit from Concert

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VetsAid concert performers and attendees with a big screenin the background showing one soldier helping another up a hill

VetsAid, the third annual concert to support veterans and their families hosted by Joe Walsh, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and multi GRAMMY Award recipient, has selected the nonprofit partners that will benefit from this year’s November 10th concert at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

The grants are broken out into large and small grant recipients and all net proceeds from the concert determine the final grant amounts. Founded by Walsh in 2017, the 501C3 VetsAid has disbursed over $1.2M to veteran-serving nonprofits.

The large grant recipients selected are: Combined Arms, Headstrong Project, United States Veterans Initiative (U.S. Vets), Next Op Veterans, Vets4Warriors, Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, Swords to Plowshares and Sentinels of Freedom.

The small grant recipients selected are: Grace After Fire, Train A Dog Save A Warrior (TADSAW), Texas Veterans Outdoors, Smiles for Veterans, Hero’s Bridge, Every Third Saturday, Vets on Track Foundation, Easter Seals Houston and Heartstrides.

Providing support to organizations that care for the nation’s veterans and military families is deeply personal to Walsh, a Gold Star survivor whose father died while on active duty on Okinawa, Japan when Walsh was 20 months old.

“It’s with great excitement that we announce our grant recipients for VetsAid 2019,” explains Joe Walsh. “VetsAid is a festival that we bring to points across this great country of ours and this year we are honored to spread the love and funds to the veterans community in and around the Houston metro area. Come celebrate with us this November 10th at the Toyota Center!”

With assistance from the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations (NAVSO), Walsh and the Board of VetsAid reviewed numerous organizations before selecting these 17 veteran focused nonprofits.

“Mr. Walsh is a great philanthropist and advocate for the military and veteran community,” says Kelly Finn Störmer, Chief Operating Officer of the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations (NAVSO), the organization assisting the selection process. “We are honored to partner with VetsAid to recommend high impact programs creating positive change for veterans and military families.”

Houston has the 2nd largest veteran population in the nation with over 250,000 veterans. Mr. Walsh will serve as the keynote speaker and Grand Marshal of the “Houston Salutes American Heroes Veterans Day Celebration” honoring the brave men, women and families who have fought and sacrificed for the nation’s liberty and freedom.

VetsAid 2019 will feature sets from ZZ Top, Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and Joe Walsh and will take place at 5:30pm on Sunday, November 10, 2019, on the eve of Veterans Day, at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Tickets are on sale now at: www.toyotacenter.com.

Best Veterans Day Deals and Freebies for 2019

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Veterans Day Freebies text with image of a patriotic star

Here is your guide to some of the great Veterans Day free meals brought to you by Spruce!

Below are some of the popular restaurants and other retailers that are giving away free meals, discounts, and other freebies to veterans on Veterans Day (Monday, November 11, 2019).

If you’re not seeing your favorite restaurant from last year, they may still be participating but haven’t listed their 2019 information. This list is updated many times a day, so keep checking back on the Spruce website for more information.

Important: Please read through the Veterans Day Free Meals FAQ for important information you need to know before getting your freebie or a free meal, like military qualifications, restaurant participation details, and lots more.

You can find even more freebies for vets on the list of Veterans Day Freebies and Discounts for 2019. Here you’ll find freebies like free haircuts, car washes, and even hotel stays.

Golden Corral Veterans Day Free Meal (Monday, November 11, 2019)

On Monday, November 11, 2019, from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Golden Corral will be giving out Veterans Day free meals and a beverage to any person who has ever served in the U.S. military or is on current active duty. This includes retirees, veterans, National Guard, and Reserves.

Details of the Free Golden Corral Military Buffet

All Golden Corral locations will be participating, and no identification is required to get your free dinner buffet and beverage.

Over the last 17 years, Golden Corral served over 5.4 million veterans a Veterans Day free meal!

Red Lobster Veterans Day Free Appetizer or Dessert (Monday, November 11, 2019)

Active duty military, reserve, and military veterans can stop by Red Lobster and get a free appetizer or dessert on Monday, November 11, 2019.

More Details on the Red Lobster Veterans Day Freebie Including Appetizer and Dessert Choices

Valid proof of military service is required to get this free food.

Chili’s Veterans Day Free Meal (Monday, November 11, 2019)

Visit a participating Chili’s on Monday, November 11, 2019, to get your Veterans Day free meal if you’re a veteran or on active military duty.

Details of the Free Veterans Day Meal Including Menu Options at Chili’s

You’ll need to show proof of military service to get your Veterans Day free meal.

Olive Garden Veterans Day Free Meal (Monday, November 11, 2019)

Olive Garden is having a Veterans Day free meal for all active-duty military and military veterans on Monday, November 11, 2019.

Details of the Free Meal Including Entree Choices at Olive Garden on Veterans Day

You’ll need to verify with Olive Garden that you currently are or used to be in the military. Proof of military service usually includes bringing your military ID, U.S. Uniform Services Retired ID Card, Current Leave and Earnings Statement, or Veterans Organization Card.

Applebee’s Veterans Day Free Meal (Monday, November 11, 2019)

Stop into a participating Applebee’s on Monday, November 11, 2019, to get your Veterans day free meal.

Details of the Free Veterans Day Meal at Applebee’s

Check out the link above for everything you need to know about this Veterans Day free meal, including what sorts of ID they consider valid, the full list of menu items you get to choose from, who is eligible, etc.

Outback Steakhouse Free Bloomin’ Onion & Beverage (November 11, 2019)

Stop into any Outback Steakhouse on Monday, November 11, 2019, to get a free Bloomin’ Onion and coke product. This offer is for all military personnel that has a military ID.

Details of the Free Veterans Day Meal at Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse is also giving out a discount of 20% off the total check from November 8 to November 11, 2019, valid for military, police, firefighters, and first responders with a valid ID. A 10% discount continues thereafter.

Texas Roadhouse Veterans Day Free Lunch (Monday, November 11, 2019)

Texas Roadhouse will be giving away Veterans Day free meals for lunch on Monday, November 11, 2019, to active, former, or retired military.

Details on the Texas Roadhouse Veterans Day Free Meal Including Entree Options

This is for dine-in only. Hours may vary by location, so be sure to check a Texas Roadhouse near you for specific details.

Red Robin Veterans Day Free Meal (Monday, November 11, 2019)

Veterans and active duty military can stop into any participating Red Robin location on Monday, November 11, to get a free Red’s Tavern Double burger and Bottomless Steak Fries.

More Details on the Red Robin Veterans Day Free Meal

Be sure to bring your military ID to take advantage of this Veterans Day freebie.

Free Veterans Day Pancakes at IHOP (Monday, November 11, 2019)

This year on Monday, November 11, IHOP will be honoring veterans and active military men and women with the choice of a free breakfast combo or a free stack of Red, White, and Blueberry pancakes.

More Details on the Veterans Day Free Meal at IHOP

Individuals must show proof of their service before receiving this offer, such as coming in their uniform, showing a photo of them in their uniform, or showing a military ID card.

Dunkin’ Donuts Veterans Day Free Donut (Monday, November 11, 2019)

To show their support, Dunkin’ Donuts is giving away free donuts to active duty military and veterans on Monday, November 11, 2019.

This free Veterans Day donut is limited to one per customer while supplies last, but no purchase or military ID is required.

It’s possible that not every Dunkin’ Donuts location is participating, so be sure to call ahead to double-check.

Cracker Barrel Veterans Day Free Dessert (Monday, November 11, 2019)

On Veterans Day, Cracker Barrel is giving veterans a Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake dessert or Pumpkin Pie Latte…for free!

All 660 locations are participating in this Veterans Day free food offer this year.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers (November 11, 2019)

Visit a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers near you this Veterans Day, November 11, to get a free combo meal card.

You must be a veteran or active duty military to pick up the card, but it can be redeemed by anyone through November 30, 2019.

White Castle Veterans Day Free Meal (Monday, November 11, 2019)

White Castle is giving out a free Breakfast Combo or Castle Combo Meal (numbers 1-6) to any veteran or other military members who come in on Veterans Day, Monday, November 11th.

Proof of military service is requested but might not be required. Be sure to contact your local White Castle restaurant ahead of time to confirm that they’re participating.

Buffalo Wild Wings Veterans Day Free Wings and Fries (November 11, 2019)

Buffalo Wild Wings is having their annual Veterans Day free food deal on Veterans Day, which is Monday, November 11. All day, veterans and active duty military get a free order of small boneless or traditional wings and a side of fries.

This offer is valid at participating Buffalo Wild Wings locations and is for dine-in only. Beverages, taxes, and gratuity are not included in this offer.

Proof of military service is required, which can include a permanent or temporary military ID card, DD214, or veteran’s card. You may also come wearing your military uniform or bring a photo of you wearing it.

TCBY Veterans Day Free Frozen Yogurt (Monday, November 11, 2019)

This year for Veterans Day, all vets get their first 6 oz of frozen yogurt absolutely free.

This Veterans Day freebie is valid at participating TCBY locations only, so be sure to call and confirm before you head out on Monday the 11th. Proof of service might be required, so make sure to ask about that, too.

Twin Peaks Veterans Day Free Meal (Monday, November 11, 2019)

Active and retired military members can visit Twin Peaks on Monday, November 11, for a complimentary Veterans Day meal.

This Veterans Day free meal includes items from a special menu, so be sure to ask about it when you visit a participating Twin Peaks locations.

Veterans Day Free Lunch or Dinner at Green Mill (November 11, 2019)

This Veterans Day free offer from Green Mill is for veterans who show proof of service.

Eligible customers can pick any one item from their menu (pizza is limited to a small 1-topping deep dish, and Wing Samplers are excluded). This offer is for dine-in only.

Contact your local Green Mill Restaurant & Bar to see if they’re participating.

Green Mill also gives out a 10% discount to veterans and active-duty military all year long.

Nekter’s Free Veterans Day Smoothies and Juices (November 11, 2019)

If you’re a veteran or active military member, you can stop in to Nekter’s on Veterans Day, November 11, for a free 16oz smoothie or juice.

You can take advantage of this free Veterans Day offer at your local Nekter location, but it’s possible that not all of them are participating, so you might call ahead of time to double-check.

You need to bring proof of military service with you.

Friendly’s Free Veterans Day Meal (Monday, November 11, 2019)

Friendly’s is giving veterans and active military a free Veterans Day breakfast, lunch, or dinner (dine-in only) on Monday, November 11.

If you come in the morning for breakfast, the Veterans Day free meal is the Big-Two-Do, which comes with your choice of Brioche French toast, two buttermilk pancakes or two slices of toast, two strips of crispy Applewood-smoked bacon or two sausage links, and a side of two made-to-order farm fresh eggs. Also included is a cup of coffee.

For lunch and dinner, veterans and active service members get the All-American Burger (with or without cheese) served with fries and your choice of soda, iced tea, or a hot beverage.

You’ll need to present your military ID or honorable discharge card to get this Veterans Day freebie at a Friendly’s near you.

54th Street Grill Veterans Day Free Meal (Monday, November 11, 2019)

54th Street Grill will be having a free meal up to a $12 value for veterans and active military on Veterans Day.

Proof of military service is appreciated and can be shown via military ID or by visiting in uniform or showing a photo in uniform.

Find out where a 54th Street Grill is near you.

Hurricane Grill & Wings Veterans Day Free Meal (November 11, 2019)

Another free Veterans Day meal can be had on November 11 at Hurricane Grill & Wings. Veterans and active duty military can stop in on Monday to pick from a menu of seven items.

These are the options: 10 Boneless Wings, Yuengling Beer-Battered Fish & Chips, Teriyaki Beef Bowl, Half Pound Steakburger, Chicken Caesar Salad, Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich, and Chicken BLT Tacos.

This free meal deal is for dine-in only, coupons and other offers can’t be used simultaneously, taxes and gratuity are not included, and military ID or uniform is required. Check with your local Hurricane Grill & Wings to see if they’re participating.

On the Border Veterans Day Free Meal (November 11, 2019)

Veterans can visit an On the Border restaurant to receive a free meal that includes two items served with rice and beans. They can choose two of their favorites from these options:

• House Salad
• Chicken Tortilla Soup
• Seasoned Ground Beef Enchilada with chile con carne
• Spinach and Mushroom Enchilada with sour cream sauce
• Cheese and Onion Enchilada with chile con carne sauce
• Chicken Tinga Enchilada with green chile or sour cream sauce
• Seasoned Ground Beef Taco
• Shredded Chicken Tinga Taco

Check with your local On the Border to make sure they are participating.

Other deals include:

Mobil Delvac and TA Truck Service and Folds of Honor organization will donate $5 for every Mobil Delvac oil change now through the end of November

The two have partnered once again with the Folds of Honor organization to donate $5 for every Mobil Delvac oil change conducted at participating TA Truck Service locations from now through the month of November. Folds of Honor is a great organization that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service-members. Plus, truckers who participate get a special FoH hat as a thank you.

Several of the scholarship recipients are working to enter the trucking industry, including Denver Richardson, who is currently a student at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology studying to become a mechanic specializing in diesel trucks and transmissions. You can see Denver’s story and the impact Folds of Honor has had on supporting his educational journey here.

Great Clips Welcomes Military Service Members With Free Haircuts On Veterans Day

On November 11, veterans and active service members can go into any Great Clips salon in the U.S. and get a free haircut or a free haircut card to use later.

Additionally, any non-veteran customer getting a haircut at a Great Clips salon on Veterans Day will receive a free haircut card that they can use to “pay it forward” to an active service member or veteran as a token of thanks.

The cards can be redeemed for a free haircut from Nov. 12 to Dec. 31, 2019 at any Great Clips salon.

Learn more at Great Clips.

K1 Speed, buy one, get one free on Veterans Day

FREE RACE with the purchase of a single race to any veteran and active military individual this Monday, November 11. Just show your qualifying military ID, and your second race is on the house.

Learn more at k1speed.com.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts: Save up to 20% off, plus receive 500 Wyndham Rewards bonus points on stays now through Dec. 6, 2019.

Discount available at participating hotels in the U.S. and CA across 17 brands, including household names like Super 8® by Wyndham and La Quinta® by Wyndham – both of which also offer preferred parking for active and retired military members.

Learn more at wyndhamrewards.com/honorsmilitary.

Main Event Salutes Nation’s Heroes with Free Food and Fun All Day on Veterans Day

On Monday, Nov. 11, the ultimate entertainment destination invites all active-duty and retired U.S. military personnel to visit their nearest center for FREE food and fun all day! All military personnel will receive 30 minutes of game play that can be used on more than 100 interactive video games.

Honored guests can also enjoy a free entrée from a special menu featuring:
• Bacon & Cheddar Burger
• Jumbo Wings & Fries Combo
• 10¢¢ Ultimate Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza
• Classic Cobb Salad
• Crispy Chicken Tender Sandwich
• Chicken Tenders & Fries

All stores are said to be participating, but you might still check with a Main Event near you to confirm.

Veterans Day Free Access to World’s Largest US Military Records Collection via Ancestry

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Ancestry special Veterans Day promo picture

In honor of Veterans Day, Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, is allowing everyone to search their archive of US military records for FREE from November 8 at 7:00PM EST through November 17 at 11:59PM EST.

For the past 30 years, our focus has been digitizing and making historical content accessible for everyone – today, we offer more than 10 billion historical documents, including an unmatched collection of more than 250 million military records. As America celebrates Veterans Day this year, and its service members who have fought (and still fight) to uphold American values, we are encouraging Americans to discover more about the role their families may have played in our nation’s military history.

With more than 260 million US military records, people will be able to find inspiring stories about family members who served our country from draft cards, enlistment records, soldier pension indexes and more, covering almost 400 years of American history at: ancestry.com/honor

Toby Keith and a veterans’ group teamed up to give a wounded Marine an all-terrain wheelchair

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Toby Keith and wounded Marine in his new wheelchair onstage during concert

Before Toby Keith took the stage for his concert in Pittsburgh, he had a special gift for retired Marine Corporal Brandon Rumbaugh.

While serving in Afghanistan in 2010, Rumbaugh was carrying a fellow Marine to safety when he stepped on an IED resulting in the loss of both his legs. After being fitted with a prosthetic he told CNN in 2012 that he worked hard for two years to beat the odds and walk again. Since then he has become a motivational speaker, sharing his story with others.

On Friday before the start of Keith’s show at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Rumbaugh was presented with an all-terrain wheelchair, courtesy of the country singer and a veterans’ nonprofit.

Rumbaugh told CNN affiliate WPXI he wanted this type of wheelchair because it will allow him be more active outdoors and play with his six-month-old daughter.

The Independence Fund, a nonprofit that assists wounded veterans, teamed up with Keith to give Rumbaugh the $16,000 wheelchair, along with backstage passes and a meet and greet with the singer.

As Rumbaugh was leaving the stage in his new wheelchair, the crowd started chanting “U-S-A!” The Marine enjoyed the concert from the side of the stage and even joined Keith onstage during his performance of “American Soldier.”

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

Army Veteran Overcomes Near-Death Accident, Sets Goal for Gold

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Keith Murphy sitting in wheelchair smiling

From an early age, Texas native, Keith Murphy knew that joining the Army would be part of his life plan. As a Cub Scout, Boy Scout and later in the ROTC, being a soldier was always something he felt called to do. At 18 years old he fulfilled his childhood dream and enlisted.

By Caitlin Bishop

Murphy was in the Army for four years as a Sergeant, specializing in Infantry, Mortars—a field he truly enjoyed. He was stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia before being deployed to Korea for one year where he met Brenda, a fellow soldier deployed with a different unit who would eventually become his wife. Once deployment ended, they each returned to Fort Polk, Louisiana, married soon after and moved back to Texas. The Murphys started a family together in Dallas where Keith went to work as a truck driver for many years.

On August 28, 2018, during a motorcycle ride on beautiful afternoon, Murphy’s life changed in an instant. While driving through an intersection, he was hit by a car making an illegal left turn. “The last thing I remember is being put into an ambulance and waking up in the hospital 8 days later,” he recalls. His injuries were extensive including seven broken ribs, a broken pelvis, hip, back, dislocated shoulder, collapsed lung and a severed left leg above the knee. Doctors attempted to save his leg at first, but due to the severity of the injury, Murphy’s wife, Brenda was left to make the difficult decision to amputate above the knee in an effort to save his life.

“After the accident, I remained in the hospital for six weeks and it was complete agony,” recounts Murphy. “I was unable to move, yet in excruciating pain, and needed spoon-feeding as well as help bathing. Those initial days and weeks were a very dark place for me.” By the sixth week Murphy was able to move off the hospital bed into a wheel chair and was released to go home on October 16, 2018.

Once home, Murphy’s outlook changed as he realized his recovery was in his own hands. “I knew I was hurt badly, but I was determined not to let my injuries or the actions of a reckless driver beat me,” he said. Murphy began wheel chairing up and down the walkway in his front yard and lifting 5-pound dumb bells in an effort to build back his strength. He had lost 50 pounds and significant muscle tone while in the hospital.

After being home for one month, Murphy decided to contactMurphy lifting weights at fitness center Adaptive Training Foundation (ATF), a non-profit organization he had heard of in his area that helps those with physical disabilities transform their lives through exercise and community. “I knew I needed to find people who went through what I went through,” he said. Murphy began going to ATF three days a week for stretching and conditioning in preparation for an upcoming nine-week program they offered with 11 other veterans that he wanted to be a part of.

Murphy started out doing simple exercises such as lifting an empty weight bar, doing push-ups and chin-ups. He worked diligently to tighten his core, arms and build back deteriorated muscle—crucial for his wheel chair use. He successfully joined ATF’s winter 2019 Redefine program and strived to push the limits of what he thought his body was capable of doing. Part of the program included a Lake Tahoe trip where the class was able to partake in mono-skiing—a highlight for the Texas native.

“At ATF, positivity is contagious and being around others who have endured similar injuries has been incredible for my mind, body and spirit,” says Murphy. “If you show up and put in the work, there’s no way to lose. Their team is determined to see you win.”

Murphy continues to push forward and embrace his new normal. He proudly got back on a motorcycle for the first time in January 2019 and has set his sights on a few other goals—running and walking again using a prosthetic with the long term goal of being a sled driver in the 2022 Paralympics for bobsledding.

One Warrior’s Illuminating Journey

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Michael Landry poses outside at sporting event

The future looks bright for this veteran entrepreneur, who miraculously regained his once lost eyesight.

By Annie Nelson

Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Michael J. Landry Jr. was returning from his 5th combat deployment as a Field Radio Operator when he received orders to Okinawa, Japan in August 2014. He underwent an eye exam and was told his vision had changed but not to worry.

However in Japan, Landry noticed his vision was getting worse—so much so that his optometrist thought he was exaggerating his condition. It was then he was told that both of his corneas were shattered and he was legally blind in both eyes.

I spoke with Landry about his amazing journey, from regaining his sight to competing in the Marine Corps Trials to starting his own lifestyle clothing and music businesses.

Tell me about your journey to being able to see again?

I was medically evacuated from Okinawa in March 2016 and sent to Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, Calif. In Japan, I was still able to make out the outlines of objects because of the cloudy weather, but in California, I wasn’t able to see anything because it was so much brighter. I was fitted for hard-lens contacts until I received a corneal transplant in my left eye. The crazy thing was the eye transplant I received was originally blue! But then genetics took over and the eye eventually turned brown.

Due to my amazing doctor, the day after the surgery for the first time in two years, I was able to see the eye chart. Over the next 20 months, the vision in my left eye improved to the point that I was able to get prescription glasses, but only for the left lens because I was still blind in my right eye. Last February, I received the transplant for the right eye and today, I still have 12 stitches inside that eye but my vision overall is constantly improving.

You recently competed in the Marine Corps Trials—what events did you compete in and how did you finish? Are you going to the Warrior Games?

Yes, I competed in several events including track, shot put, discus, 100m sprint and powerlifting. For the powerlifting event, my doctor recommended to limit the weight because the excessive eye pressure could still cause damage. I was scheduled to run the 200m and 400m, but I pulled my hamstring during the 100m sprint. I ended up finishing first place in all events except powerlifting. I competed in the visually impaired category for field events, however, I did out throw every other competitor overall. I was also selected to compete in the Warrior Games and I’m looking forward to it.

What did the Marine Corps Trials teach you?

It taught me that I’m able to do more than I think. I’ve never competed in any of those sports before and it felt as if it came naturally. It also taught me that I need to learn to stretch better so I don’t get hurt!

You are a new entrepreneur. Tell me about your businesses and how you started?

The birth of One Life Clothing started when I was going blind. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t true so I began sewing with the thought that in order to sew, you have to be able to see. Going blind at the age of 32 forces you to see life in a different perspective. Tomorrow isn’t promised and you never know what can happen so you should always enjoy the “One Life” you have.

My second business I actually credit with saving my life. I was going through a lot mentally and physically with the loss of my sight and was severely depressed. At one point I was contemplating suicide until one day my brother, who is a rap artist, called me to vent about his music career, or lack thereof due to bad business deals. To help him, I started One Life Entertainment Music Group, LLC. Thus far, we’ve released four solo albums and two compilation albums.

My non-profit organization, One Life At A Time Outreach, helps not only feed the homeless, but also provide necessities like clothes, toiletries and shoes.

Michael Landry portrait with children Makiya and Michael III
Michael with children Makiya and Michael III

What does the future look like for you?

Bright I would say. Losing your vision and gaining it back is a blessing on its own, no matter what life throws at me. I’ve already won because I can see again. I’m embracing the new me. Business-wise, I would love to get into government contract designing and making uniforms as well as getting my clothing line into stores.

What advice would you give other service members who are recovering from an injury or illness?

You have to embrace the new you. I know what it feels like to be completely alone and to be stuck in your own head, but you have to remember that you are here for a purpose. God will never give you a task that you can’t handle. We are all gifted—find your gift and get out of your comfort zone.

Continue to follow Landry’s journey at onelifeclothing.net and on onelifemuzik.com