Kurt Busch Continues Commitment to Veterans and Active Duty Servicemembers Through Race Ticket Giveaway Program

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Kurt Busch pictured in NASCAR uniform smiling

NASCAR veteran driver and NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Champion Kurt Busch announced plans recently for the KB100 Plus (KB100+) ticket giveaway. Hoping to build on the success of his offer in 2019, where he provided 100 tickets to every NCS race in partnership with Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix).

“I will call on the consideration of other drivers, tracks and industry partners to support the ticket offering from what we did in 2019”, said Busch. In 2019 there were more than 50,000 requests for the 3,800 tickets that were made available through Vet Tix.  Busch commented, “I have always had a strong desire to pay respect to those who have served and continue to serve our country. My hope is that with help from others we can enhance the offering for more deserving Vet Tix members to attend races this season, hence KB100+”.

“Our mission is to give something to those who gave, and the commitment Kurt has made to partner with Vet Tix has been extraordinary,” said Mike Focareto, U.S. Navy veteran, CEO and Founder of Veteran Tickets Foundation. “His impact on supporting the Vet Tix mission to honor our current serving military members and veterans of all eras and their families has been significant. Whether he’s visiting troops convalescing at hospitals, giving our VetTixers an opportunity to enjoy a race, or meeting him in pit row, he has been the example of how a top-athlete and influencer can make a difference in so many lives. We are proud to partner with Kurt to share an initiative to help those who serve and their families make lifelong memories through racing.”

Whether it is one additional ticket, or a match of Busch’s commitment to 100 tickets to every race, KB100+ will offer Vet Tix members the chance to attend an NCS race at every event on the schedule.

About Veteran Tickets Foundation:

Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix), a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, provides free tickets to sporting events, concerts, performing arts and family activities to currently serving military, National Guard and Reserves, veterans of all eras, immediate family of those killed in action, and VetTixers’ caregivers. Since 2008, Vet Tix has provided over 9 million free event tickets to more than 1.5 million members. In 2018 Vet Tix launched 1st Tix, which provides the same service to our nation’s current and retired law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMTs. These events help service members, veterans and first responders reduce stress, strengthen family bonds, build lifelong memories, and encourage them to stay engaged with American life and their local communities. Vet Tix spends over 95 percent of its revenue on programs, ensuring that we give back to those who have given so much. Visit VetTix.org and 1stTix.org to learn more, and follow us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

For more information: vettix.org

Testing My Mettle to Earn My Medal: A Ragnar Trail Experience

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Heath Hansen and buddy kneeling on ground holding an Airborne flag

By Heath Hansen

November 1st, 2017, I get a call from my buddy – my buddy rarely calls me; when we communicate, it’s through text messages. “What’s up, bro?” I asked. “Hey, my Ragnar teammate just got called for duty, he can’t make the race. We need a runner.” I didn’t know what a Ragnar Race was, but the name sounded interesting and I accepted the invitation. “Oh yeah, one more thing, every person on the team was in the Marine Corps. You and me are the only Army vets.” “Great.” I sarcastically replied.

I decided to read up on the Ragnar Race. The info revealed I had nine days to train for a race that required roughly 14 miles of running on my behalf. The race was located at the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation, a 25,000 acre preserve in the middle of Southern California mountains, and would occur over the course of two days. The terrain would be treacherous – up and down mountains, patches of thick vegetation and rocky paths. On top of this, I wasn’t a runner – in fact, I hated running, with a passion. Luckily I did CrossFit workouts regularly and had a pretty clean diet. At least I wasn’t starting from rock bottom.

The next day I decided to go for a four mile run near my house in south San Diego. It sucked, but I finished without stopping and maintained a pace of about 8 minutes per mile. The next two days I was extremely sore, but managed to do a few more short runs leading up to the 10th of November.

On race day, we arrived at the venue and I realized the scale of a Ragnar Race. There were over a thousand people present across the area. We arrived at the campsite and made our way over to the team tent. Between the 8 of us, there was a broad age (and fitness) range. I knew I would perform above average, but still wanted to crush this competition. Every single one of them had Marine Corps tattoos. Being a former paratrooper, I knew I had to prove myself. They didn’t care whether I had time to train or not, this was still about inter-service rivalry and finding out who was the best. I extended my arm and shook each of their hands. “Hey, you know what ARMY stands for,” one of them asked? “Aren’t Really Marines Yet,” the dumbass laughed. “Do you know what USMC stands for,” I asked him. He looked at me quizzically. Pointing at him, I said, “U Suck My Cock,” and smiled. I wasn’t going to be the weakest link among a bunch of crayon eating Jar-Heads; the race had begun.

We would all be running a total of three legs during the competition, and, collectively, covering about 114 miles of trail. In between legs, we would have about eight hours of downtime to hangout in the team area, rest, eat and hydrate.

My first leg was starting – 8 miles. The hill I was climbing seemed to never want to end. I knew ascending for this long at a running pace would burn up my lungs quickly, so I took my time. It kept going, and going, and going. After what seemed like an eternity, I made it to the top and got back on a faster, longer stride. During my descent, I gazed off onto the horizon, the mountains looked incredible. The scenery made this one of the most gorgeous runs I had ever been on. As I progressed further, the sharp pain in the arches of my feet made it apparent that they needed some attention. I made my way down the mountain and found the finish line. Once there, I handed off the electronic tracker (to log our progress) to the next runner. He seemed surprised by how soon I had made it back. There were about eight hours left before my next section of the trail would begin, so I made my way to the first-aid tent to get checked out.

Heath Hansen running through camp with large backpack on
Heath Hansen during Ragner Race

I arrived at the tent and waited behind about half a dozen other competitors who also needed some work. Once they got to me, the paramedics were happy to help me out with the blisters that had formed on both of my feet. After disinfecting the sores, they patched me up quickly with moleskins and I was back on my way again, heading towards the campsite.

Once at the encampment, my buddy and I decided to grab some dinner from one of the Ragnar sponsors. From pizza, to potatoes, to pasta, we had a large selection to choose from; I decided to load up on carbs with pasta and meatballs. The meal was delicious and gave me plenty of energy for the rest of the race.

My next leg started at about 9 PM and was roughly three miles. Compared to the eight miles I had finished a few hours earlier, this felt like a walk in the park. It was nighttime, so my body temperature remained cool the entire time and I kept a fast pace throughout. I made it back to the finish line and headed to the team campsite for some rest. My next leg would start at around 6 AM. I sat under the team tent and talked to a couple of the guys who were preparing for their next part of the run. In between taking swigs of water and snacking on trail mix, I got to know a few of them pretty well. After a while, I walked over to my camping tent, got into the fart sack , and caught up on some sleep.

“Hey, Heath, get up, it’s almost time for your final leg,” my buddy uttered. I could barely move. Every muscle in my body was sore, my feet were swollen, and I had a headache. I didn’t want to do the last leg – just over three miles. But I had to prove myself and I knew all of my teammates were counting on me. “Let’s go, Army. Pain is weakness leaving the body,” one of the Marine veterans jabbed. Slowly, I slipped my shoes on and made my way to the fire (at Ragnar Village) near the starting line. Near the flames, I stretched and got myself limbered up for the last bit of this race. It was going to hurt, but I was going to do it. I was going to finish.

Heath Hansen
Heath Hansen

My teammate handed me the sensor as he finished his leg and I was off. The blisters on my feet ached and made every step excruciating. It reminded me of my time as an infantryman in Afghanistan, making my way up and down the mountains, regardless of how much it hurt. On deployment, I focused on the next step, every step, and just kept going. With this mindset, I maintained my pace for this final leg and tried to concentrate on the goal instead of the pain. Eventually, I could see the tents and the fire again. I was almost there. I made my way closer and closer to the finish line. I could see my team – all of them. They had made their way to the finish line to cheer me on. I had finished. It was over. I was done.

We walked back to the tent. It was now November 11th, 2017 – Veterans Day. We were all former servicemen and decided to celebrate the holiday, and the race, with a beer. There was no longer a sense of rivalry, we were just friends trading war stories about difficult spots on the trails we had just conquered. I was glad I had come out and helped these guys. The team, Los Chavos Del Ocho, made it all worth it. When I got home that night, knowing that I had not stopped a single time on the trail and kept a consistently fast pace, I slept better than I had in months.

A few weeks later, my buddy told me the final results of the race had been posted. Out of dozens and dozens of other competitors, our team had finished third overall in our division. He handed me the medals we had won as a unit – our effort had paid off, and my Ragnar experience was complete.

Heath Hansen was an airborne infantryman with the 82nd Airborne Division and is a former police officer. After serving combat tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq he left the Army and received his B.S. in Business Financial Services at San Diego State University. He now resides in San Diego and travels extensively in Europe.

Mission Roll Call Launches Social Media Campaign for Military Veterans to Connect During COVID-19 Crisis

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Crowd-sourced video series will empower veterans to maintain supportive communities as social distancing practices continue

Mission Roll Call recently announced the launch of “Be A Leader,” a new crowd-sourced social media video series that will empower veterans, their families and caregivers to virtually connect with each other and share their experiences during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Content shared using the #MRCBeALeader hashtag on social media will highlight stories and advice from veterans to encourage personal growth, optimistic communities and responsible behavior in the months to come.

“With a wealth of experience handling critical and stressful situations in a calm, positive manner, military veterans are ready to lead by example in this time of uncertainty,” said Garrett Cathcart, executive director of Mission Roll Call. “This campaign will give all veterans an opportunity to share how they are checking in on their buddies, entertaining their families, and staying active so others will be inspired to do the same as the nation continues to practice social distancing.”

In addition to videos created and shared by followers of Mission Roll Call’s social media channels, the series will feature insights and words of encouragement from individuals such as Medal of Honor recipients Sal Giunta and Clint Romesha, as well as retired NFL player and U.S. Army veteran Nate Boyer.

The “Be A Leader” campaign is an extension of Mission Roll Call’s goal to provide veterans with a platform where they can make their voices heard on the key issues impacting their lives. Mission Roll Call is a program of national nonprofit America’s Warrior Partnership that has connected with more than 535,000 veterans, family members, caregivers and advocates since launching in 2019.

Veterans and community members who wish to participate can post content and follow the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the #MRCBeALeader hashtag and tagging @MissionRollCall.

About Mission Roll Call

Mission Roll Call is the first-ever movement of its kind — one dedicated to giving every veteran a voice in advocating for the issues that are important to them. The program created a digital community where veterans, their families and caregivers can make their voices heard. Veterans can share their stories through comments on our social media pages and respond to online polls about the most urgent issues facing veteran communities. These messages, views and insights are delivered directly to policymakers and civic leaders with the goal of enacting lasting, positive change.

For more information, visit MissionRollCall.org. Mission Roll Call is a program of America’s Warrior Partnership. America’s Warrior Partnership is a nationally recognized nonprofit with a Platinum Guidestar Seal of Transparency.

Source: America’s Warrior Partnership

10 Most Affordable Cities in America for Veterans

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Numerous cities in America offer a high quality of life, but sometimes those cities are not always the most affordable for veterans looking to utilize their VA home loan.

Finding a balance between affordability and economic wellness is important whether you’re a young professional fresh out of college, or a service member looking to relocate.

Veteran’s United has compiled a short list of affordable places for veterans to consider when relocating to help avoid breaking the bank. Let’s take a closer look at the areas that topped the list.

 

 

10 Most Affordable Cities in America for Veterans

Laredo Texas

#1 – Laredo, TX

Laredo is a small Spanish villa that is located in South Texas. Laredo managed to secure the top spot on the list this year. Many people are drawn to the city because of its rich culture and affordable cost of living.

  • Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 90.7
  • Veteran Population – 5,080
  • Unemployment Rate – 5.40%
  • Median Annual Salary – $37,890
Corpus Christi

#2 – Corpus Christi, TX

Various residents are able to stretch their dollar a bit further living here due to the low cost of living. Corpus Christi is a city on the Gulf of Mexico that has tons of beaches and other attractions to enjoy.

  • Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 94.3
  • Veteran Population – 25,153
  • Unemployment Rate – 5.60%
  • Median Annual Salary – $43,325
Lubbock

#3 – Lubbock, TX

Lubbock is a city in West Texas that is known for is music, and its culture rich museums. Lubbock is also home to Texas Tech University among other colleges in the area.

  • Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 93.7
  • Veteran Population – 12,018
  • Unemployment Rate – 4.80%
  • Median Annual Salary – $36,653
El Paso

#4 – El Paso, TX

El Paso is a city with a lot to offer. Some of those things include hiking in some of the local parks, enjoying some music at the Don Haskins Center, or enjoying a day at the El Paso Zoo.

  • Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 87.4
  • Veteran Population – 44,580
  • Unemployment Rate – 6.90%
  • Median Annual Salary – $39,379
San Antonio

#5 – San Antonio, TX

San Antonio is a vibrant city in South Texas that offers a unique sightseeing, shopping, outdoor activities, and historic sites to visit. Luckily for those looking to call San Antonio home, it also a really affordable place to live.

  • Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 88.7
  • Veteran Population – 107,359
  • Unemployment Rate – 6.40%
  • Median Annual Salary – $40,978
Oklahoma City

#6 – Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City is the capital of the state of Oklahoma and offers a great cuisine, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities to enjoy.

  • Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 85.4
  • Veteran Population – 42,000
  • Unemployment Rate – 5.20%
  • Median Annual Salary – $40,920
Arlington

#7 – Arlington/Fort Worth TX

Arlington is another great affordable city to consider when looking for places to live. There are amusement parks, and you can even take a tour of the Global Life Park, which is home of the Texas Rangers.

  • Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 108.90
  • Veteran Population – 19,153
  • Unemployment Rate – 5.50%
  • Median Annual Salary – $43,264

Forth Worth is an affordable city for those who may be looking to settle down in a place with rodeos, sports and much more.

  • Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 95.3
  • Veteran Population – 42,375
  • Unemployment Rate – 5.80%
  • Median Annual Salary – $43,877

(Note: These two areas were combined due to their close proximity.)

Columbus

#8 – Columbus, OH

Columbus is that capital of the state Ohio and offers great coffee, local music and dining.

  • Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 92.0
  • Veteran Population – 41,428
  • Unemployment Rate – 6.30%
  • Median Annual Salary – $35,384
Tulsa

#9 – Tulsa, OK

Tulsa is the second largest city in Oklahoma. Tulsa offers a a large range of activities such as visiting that Tulsa zoo, the Philbrook Museum of Art and many other attractions.

  • Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 86.0
  • Veteran Population – 24,324
  • Unemployment Rate – 6.70%
  • Median Annual Salary – $36,050
Jacksonville

#10 – Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville is typically known for it’s sandy beached and great fishing, but it also serves as a great place to call home.

  • Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 91.3
  • Veteran Population – 79,192
  • Unemployment Rate – 7.60%
  • Median Annual Salary – $39,775

Factors that Affect Affordability

To determine the top affordable cities in America for veterans, Veterans United analysts collected data from the 100 most populated cities in the United States and compared the following dimensions (Economic Wellness, and Affordability).

We evaluated the strength of each city across those dimensions using 4 relevant variables. Each city was then scored and ranked in each of the 4 variables by multiplying the city’s rank by that variable’s weight. The final rankings were determined by the city’s total score, with the lowest score representing the best city for Veterans to live.

Here’s a quick run-down of each metric:

  • 2018 – 2019 Q3 Cost of Living Index (Double Weight)
  • Veteran Unemployment Rate (Full Weight)
  • 5 Year Rate of Job Growth (2013 – 2018) (Half Weight)
  • Median Veteran Income (Double Weight)

Final Thoughts

The places on this list are not only affordable, but they also offer a rich culture and history with tons of attractions to enjoy. Use our affordability calculator to estimate your loan pre-approval amount based on your income and expenses.

Sources

Data was collected from the US Census Bureau – American Community Survey, Council for Community and Economic Research, US Census Bureau – American Community Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics (CES-SA), and Veterans United Home Loans.

Best and Worst States for Hiring Veterans

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During the Great Recession, the unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan Vets hovered between 13%-15%. Thankfully, that number as of December 2019 decreased to 2.8%.

InMyArea.com today released a study on the Best and Worst States for Hiring Veterans using the most recent data from state and federal governments, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau and the Veterans Affairs Administration.

The rankings were determined by analyzing government hiring practices, unemployment rates, median income, veteran business ownership and job training investment per veteran in every state.

Here are key national findings from the study:

  • The 10 best states for hiring veterans include: New Jersey, Alaska, Virginia, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Dakota, Georgia, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
  • The 10 worst states for hiring veterans: Ohio, Michigan, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Wyoming, West Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
  • Highest average salary is in Virginia ($56,140) and the lowest in Arkansas ($33,584).
  • Only six states saw vet unemployment increase in the last five years: North Dakota, Ohio, Idaho, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Vermont
  • Four states put vets on the front of the line for civil service jobs: New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
  • Veteran-owned businesses are most prominent in Oklahoma and South Carolina

Read the complete breakdown of the Best and Worst States for Hiring Veterans here.

Marine is On a Mission to Live By Motto, Get His Pup Out of Afghanistan

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Marine sits near his rescue puppy in Afghanistan

The Guardians of Rescue is helping a Marine bring home a dog he rescued stuck in razor wire.

SMITHTOWN, New York – The Marines live by the motto of never leaving anyone behind. For some that includes a dog they have rescued during deployment, and have bonded with. The loyalty from Captain Dave and his unit and the dog that they rescued goes both ways, and now his wish is to bring her back home to the United States with him when he returns soon. Guardians of Rescue have helped other military members pull off this same mission, and they are seeking public donations to help pull it off again.

“Captain Dave’s loyalty to Sox is like no other, and he believes in the idea of not leaving her behind,” explains Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue, an animal rescue organization. “We know that we can help bring Sox back to America to live out her life with him, but we need the public’s support, because it’s costly to do. We are grateful to be working with Nowzad shelter in Kabul, because without their assistance this pup would not have a chance of coming to America.”

Captain Dave is stationed in a remote area in Afghanistan. He is scheduled to come back home to the United States in early 2020. He can’t imagine leaving Sox behind because he loves her. He first saw Sox when she was a puppy, finding her caught in concertina wire in their camp. He freed her, gave her food and water, and sent her on her way. However, Sox had different plans.

In the days that followed, Sox started coming back to their campSox the rescur puppy pictured when first found each day, feeling safe around the unit and seeking food and water. Some of the other men had even seen the dog being abused out on the streets. Soon, Sox began staying by their side all of the time, even tagging along on some of their missions. On a recent patrol, Sox ventured too far away from the unit and was whipped with a stick by a local. It was at that time that Captain Dave knew he could never leave her behind to fend for herself.

“The bond I have with Sox is something I didn’t expect, but I just can’t leave her behind,” says Captain Dave. “If I don’t bring her home with me I am afraid I’ll always regret it and wonder about what happened to her. I appreciate any assistance people can give in helping me to bring her home with me.”

Relocating a dog from the Middle East to America can be done, but it comes at a high cost. Along with paying fees to allow the dog to leave, there is medical care, airfare, and other relocation expenses involved. Those would like to give a donation to help bring Sox home with Captain Dave can log online: https://guardiansofrescue.networkforgood.com/projects/88403-sox.

Guardians of Rescue provides assistance to animas out on the streets and investigates animal cruelty cases. They are located in New York and they help animals in many places around the country. 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 www.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 www.guardiansofrescue.org.

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.

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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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.

Best Veterans Day Deals and Freebies for 2019

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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

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