Major Events in October with Free Tickets for Service Members, Veterans, and Families

By Debbie Gregory.

Veteran Tickets Foundation (VetTix), a national 501(c) 3 nonprofit founded by veterans, is dedicated to supporting and honoring the U.S. military community, veterans and their families.

Vet Tix has provided veterans, service members, caregivers and the family members of those killed in action with more than three million free tickets since 2008. Events include major sports games, concerts and a diverse mix of other ticketed activities. And because they’re a non-profit, individual ticket holders and businesses can receive tax deductions for their donated tickets.

So, if you’re looking for some fun things to this month, check out Veteran Tickets Foundation.

Here are just some of the hundreds of events available at VetTix.org.:

October 7: Denver, Colorado: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest

October 7: Houston, Texas: Houston Museum of Natural Science

October 8: Peekskill, New York: Buddy Guy – Live in Concert

October 13: San Diego, California: Top Gun Party and Movie Night

October 14: Hagerstown, Maryland: Bach to Beethoven and Beyond!

October 14: Fresno, California: Fresno State Bulldogs vs. New Mexico Lobos NCAA Football

October 14: Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Hoosiers vs. University of Michigan Wolverines NCAA Football

October 14: Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Blue Devils vs. Florida State Seminoles NCAA Football

October 21: Manchester, Maryland: Autumn Armageddon 2017 – Live Professional Wrestling Presented by Maryland Championship Wrestling

October 21: East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State Spartans vs. Indiana Hoosiers

October 22: Peekskill, NY: Steve Solomon’s My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m in Therapy

October 27: Washington, DC: Washington International Horse Show 2017 – Military Night

October 28: Richmond, Virginia: University of Richmond Spiders vs. Stony Brook Seawolves NCAA Football Homecoming

October 28: Rosemont, Illinois: Chicago Wolves vs. Milwaukee Admirals AHL

To become a Vet Tixer and request tickets to these and hundreds of other events, which are free except for a very small delivery fee, visit VetTix.org to create a free account. Once you’ve created an account and verified your military service, you can review hundreds of upcoming events across the country.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

 

Free Tickets for Vets

By Debbie Gregory.

The Veteran Tickets Foundation (VetTix) is a national 501(c) 3 nonprofit founded by veterans dedicated to support and honor the U.S. military community, veterans and their families.

Since 2008, Vet Tix has provided veterans, service members, caregivers and the family members of those killed in action with more than three million free tickets to major sports games, concerts and a diverse mix of other ticketed events. And because they’re a non-profit, individual ticket holders and businesses can receive tax deductions for their donated tickets.

So, if you’re looking for some fun things to do before summer is officially over, check out Veteran Tickets Foundation.

Here are some of the events remaining for August:

August 15: Phoenix, Arizona: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Houston Astros – MLB

August 16: Washington, DC: Washington Mystics vs. Los Angeles Sparks – WNBA

August 16: Portland, Maine: Goo Goo Dolls’ Long Way Home Summer Tour with Phillip Phillips

August 18: Rochester, New York: Nitro Circus Live

August 19: San Diego, California: Fleet Science Center

August 24: Evansville, Indiana: An Evening with Olivia Newton

August 23: Anaheim, California: Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers – MLB

August 24: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – MLB

August 31: Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals – MLB

To become a Vet Tixer and request tickets to these and hundreds of other events, visit VetTix.org to create a free account. Once you’ve verified your military service, you can review hundreds of upcoming events across the country. Other than a very small delivery fee, all the tickets are free! If you have tickets to donate, click here.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Paralyzed Army Veteran Walking Again

By Debbie Gregory.

In 2004, Eugene Simpson Jr, 26, was an Army tank commander with the1st Battalion, 77th Armor, based in Schweinfurt, Germany. His unit deployed to Iraq to help train the Iraqi Army and conduct patrol missions.

One day his patrol unit was struck by the force of an improvised explosive device as they drove by it. He was ejected from the vehicle and badly injured. He was flown back to Germany for multiple surgeries. The prognosis was not good.

Simpson, an athletic soldier, was paralyzed from the waist down with a severed spine. As is often the case for many disabled Veterans who have returned home from war, the father of two became divorced within the year.

“Once you get home, someone has to make things accessible for you, and you have to find your way around it,” he recalls. “And that was a little difficult.”

Simpson was re-married in 2013 to his wife, Aerial. He adjusted to his “new normal” with the help and support of his family.

While at McGuire for an annual checkup, Simpson saw another veteran on one of the exoskeletons. “It looked awesome,” Simpson said. “And my head was rushing and I was thinking how amazing it would be to stand up and walk around a little bit again.”

Simpson, who now is 40, was accepted as a volunteer in one of the VA‘s multicenter Cooperative Study Programs based on new powered exoskeleton technology that can provide eligible paraplegics a chance at a better quality of life.

The program is based upon pilot research by Dr. Ann Spungen of the Bronx VA Medical Center’s Center of Excellence on Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury.

“Exoskeletons allow upright ambulation in the household and community for persons with SCI who otherwise lack functional ambulation,” said Dr. Lance Goetz, site investigator for the Richmond McGuire study.

Simpson was already in shape, so he had very little preparation to do for the study.

The FDA approved exoskeleton, called the ReWalk 6.0, is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion for independent, controlled walking while mimicking the natural gait of the legs.

The ReWalk 6.0 not only improves mental, social and physical health by standing and walking, but also helps overcome bowel and bladder management difficulties.

“The importance of the study [to me] is just that it’s giving guys that are paralyzed just the opportunity to feel normal and do the things they couldn’t do because of the wheelchair. People don’t realize that, just one or two steps, it changes guy’s lives. Mentally it can do amazing things.”

Military and Veteran Medicine has become world-class and has evolved well beyond the “Six Million Dollar Man”.   Tell us what you think at: [email protected]

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Fleet Week 2016 Coming to the Port of Los Angeles

By Debbie Gregory.

The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, proudly announced that his city has been selected as an official Fleet Week market.

The Port of Los Angeles will host L.A. Fleet Week, in which active military ships will be on public display, culminating on 2016’s Labor Day holiday.

“As a Navy reservist representing a city and port with a rich military history, it’s an honor to announce the addition of Los Angeles to the Navy’s annual Fleet Week roster,” said Garcetti. “

“L.A. Fleet Week at America’s Port will be a great annual tradition for Angelenos to visit the L.A. waterfront, tour ships, enjoy a variety of activities and gain a deeper appreciation of our enlisted men and women.”

Fleet Week will give civilians access to ships and equipment. Among the week-long events will be meetings between the Navy and local first responders, an air show, and participation of U.S. Marines and Coast Guardsmen.

“L.A. Fleet Week will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the greatest fleet and sailors in the world [to] further strengthen the connection between the citizens of Los Angeles and their Navy,” said Vice Admiral Nora Tyson. “We look forward to participating in this exciting event and appreciate the opportunity to bring the Fleet to L.A.”

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said the goal is to “work with partners — like the Battleship Iowa, the United States Navy League and a host of other local stakeholders — to develop LA Fleet Week into a world-class event and honored Labor Day holiday tradition here in Southern California.”

If you would like to receive updates regarding this event, you can do so at http://www.lafleetweek.com/

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Altavita and R.A.W.- A Winning Combo!

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By Debbie Gregory

It’s often said, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” At MilitaryConnection.com, we are proud to know the great folks at Altavita. Altavita is Southern California’s premier not-for-profit continuing care retirement community.

When Altavita Marketing was organizing a 5K charity run/walk, they asked Military Connection’s CEO Debbie Gregory to recommend a deserving non-profit that could benefit from the race proceeds. It just so happens that we are also lucky enough to know the great folks at Rebuilding America’s Warriors (R.A.W.)

As it turns out, this was a perfect match.

The 5K took place on Saturday, November 14th at the Altavita Continuing Care Retirement Community in Riverside, CA. It was a huge success, with more than 100 participants taking part, and a great day for all. Age was no factor, as the oldest participant, 84 years young, and the youngest participant, four years old, could both attest to!

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Former Major League Baseball player and broadcaster Ron Fairly was the announcer for the day’s activities, which also featured prizes and raffles. At the end of the event, when everyone had finished the race, they sat down to a delicious pancake and sausage feast. Awards were handed out, with runner 449, grandson of an Altavita resident couple, winning the race.

Altavita is meeting the needs of a new generation of mature adults. With a broader commitment, a spirit of inclusion, and a culture of greater diversity, they seek to enrich the lives of the people they serve and strengthen the community. While guided by its mission, vision and values to serve mature adults,  Altavita demonstrates their commitment to those who serve through act of wonderful corporate citizenship.

This was on point when Altavita presented R.A.W.’s founder, Maggie Lockridge, with a check for $5,158. The donation will assist the non-profit organization’s mission to provide reconstructive surgeries on a national basis to our wounded and disfigured warriors, the brave men and women who carry scars as a result of shrapnel, burn and artillery wounds.

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Everyone is looking forward to Altavita 5K Run for R.A.W. 2016!

Congratulations to TAPS Founder Bonnie Carroll

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By Debbie Gregory.

Working with great non-profits is the best part of what I do. Working with friends who contribute so much to the families of those who serve is the crème de la crème.

I would like to congratulate my very good friend, TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll, who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her longstanding efforts to provide support to the families of our nation’s fallen service members.

On November 24th, Bonnie will join baseball legends Willie Mays and the late Yogi Berra, conductor Itzhak Perlman, lyricist/composer Stephen Sondheim, director Steven Spielberg, singer/songwriter James Taylor, NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson, and Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski as they receive the nation’s highest civilian honor.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is presented to individuals who have made “especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Bonnie, a retired Air Force Reserve major, founded TAPS after her husband, Army Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, died in an Army C-12 plane crash in Alaska in 1992, and she found few resources for surviving families.

Since 1994, TAPS has offered support to more than 60,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge.

I couldn’t be happier for Bonnie, or more proud!

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Britain’s Prince Harry Salutes All Who Serve

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By Debbie Gregory.

Britain’s Prince Harry was greeted by cheers when he entered Wells Field House at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, to officially launch the 2016 Invictus Games. The Prince, who is the Patron for the games, was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, and they all “high-fived” the athletes who had lined up to meet them.

The inaugural Invictus Games took place last year in London, England, using the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women worldwide.

In May 2012, Prince Harry met with five injured service members in Washington, D.C., before accepting a humanitarian award for his charity work with wounded warriors. He then attended the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado, which is where the idea for the Invictus Games was born.

“I saw the power that sport could play in the recovery of both mind and body,” he said. “I left Colorado with a determination to broaden this to an international audience.”

Prince Harry attributed the 10 years he spent in the British army as life-changing. He did two tours of duty in Afghanistan and shared a flight home with three British soldiers in comas and a Danish soldier who had been killed in action. That’s when the reality of war really sunk in.

“From that moment, I knew I had the responsibility to help all veterans who had made huge personal sacrifices for their countries to lead healthy and dignified lives after service,” he said.

The word ‘Invictus’ means ‘unconquered’. It embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded, injured and sick service personnel and what these tenacious men and women can achieve, post injury.

“The games epitomized the very best of the human spirit — men and women who had not only adjusted to life, but embraced it, proving what can be achieved post-injury rather than focusing on what cannot,” Prince Harry said.

Joining Prince Harry on his trip to the U.S. were two competitors from the British Armed Forces team who took part in last year’s Games.

Mickaela Richards, from the Royal Navy, won three medals at the 2014 Invictus Games. A former Captain with the Army in the Royal Engineers, Rob Cromey-Hawke won two Gold medals in the cycling event.

“Sport has played such a huge part in my recovery. The Games last year taught me that I don’t need to be defined by my injuries and that I can achieve as much as I did when I was in the military. In fact, it’s inspired me to do more and more with my life,” said Cromey-Hawke.

The 2016 Invictus Games will take place in Orlando, Florida May 8th-12th at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

 

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Are You Going to “Greenlight a Vet?”

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By Debbie Gregory.

America’s veterans are some of our nation’s bravest, hardest-working men and women. However, it’s hard to show them the appreciation they deserve when, back home and out of uniform, they’re more camouflaged than ever.

Now a major retailer is calling attention to the professional and personal struggles some veterans face once their military service comes to an end. Greenlight A Vet is Walmart’s campaign to establish visible national support for our veterans by changing one light to green.

The project should compel ALL Americans to show greater support for the men and women who have fought two wars on their behalf while encouraging veterans to seek the support they may need.

Why green? Green is the color of hope, renewal and well-being. “Greenlight” is also a term commonly used to activate forward movement. The simple action of changing one light to green is intended to spark a national conversation regarding the recognition of veterans, and “greenlight” them forward as valued members of our communities.

To participate, all you need to do is install a green light at your home and/or workplace and turn it on for Veterans Day. This will show your gratitude for the service and sacrifices made by more than 2.5 million military families since the nation went to war in 2001. Additionally it will call attention to several veteran advocacy groups, including the IVMF Syracuse University, Team RWB, Team Rubicon and Blue Star Families.

The Greenlight A Vet website launched Oct. 26th, and is collecting digital support for the initiative. As of this writing, the clicks of support surpassed 2,000,000. The final tally will be displayed during the New York City Veterans Day Parade.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year: Military Connection

Military Connection: Boys and Girls Club

By Debbie Gregory.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America is one of the nation’s largest military youth service providers, with one in four military youth attending a Boys & Girls Clubs of America-affiliated Youth Center.

In an effort to recognize young people for their commitment and contributions to family, school, community and Club, the Boys & Girls Club of America annually name a National Youth of the Year. The Military Youth of the Year honor, a distinct component of the national program, recognizes members who have overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments while participating in a Boys & Girls program on a military installation.

For the last 23 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has proudly partnered with every branch of the U.S. Armed Services, serving 456,000 military youth annually through proven programs that improve their overall wellbeing, resiliency, and academic success.
Now you have the opportunity to attend the Pacific Region Dinner and program, announcing this year’s winner of the Pacific Military Youth of the Year award. You will hear the inspiring stories of the eight finalists, and the impact the Club experience has had on their lives. The event will take place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, CA on July 31st.

The regional winner will go on to compete nationally at the National Military Youth of the Year Celebration, and then at the National Youth of the Year competition in Washington, D.C. The finalists will have the honor of meeting the President of the United States in the Oval Office. Additionally, the National Youth of the year will receive nearly $100,000 in academic scholarships, a car donated by Toyota, and many other benefits.

Today, nearly two million American children have a parent in the military, many of whom have experienced multiple deployments. On average, military youth are uprooted from their homes and separated from their friends between six and nine times before high school graduation.  Boys & Girls Clubs of America-affiliated Youth Centers provide consistency for those youth. We hope you will join us as we celebrate these resilient, patriotic, and inspiring children and thank them for their service.

If you would like to attend or become an event sponsor, please click here. If you need more information, please contact Emily Wing at 949.394.3374.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Plan to Attend the VCC World Music and Cultural Arts Festival

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By Debbie Gregory.

Mark your calendar to join Artists for Trauma (AFT) and the Valley Cultural Center (VCC) as they present the first ever VCC World Music and Cultural Arts Festival.

The celebration of the empowering, healing value of world cultural music, dance, arts, entertainment and fashion will take place on Sunday, June 7th from 1:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills, CA.

The VCC World Music and Arts Festival features performers and artisans from around the world, joining together to celebrate and promote the healing value and empowerment of engaging with positive cultural arts and traditions.

Musical artists slated to perform include world fusion powerhouse group Tizer Quartet; Aztec Dancers of the Valley; Brazilian singer, songwriter, lyricist, and painter, Kátia Moraes & Brazilian Hearts; preeminent percussionist and bandleader Chalo Eduardo; Celtic rockers, The Young Dubliners; The Family Stone, featuring founding members Jerry Martini and Cynthia Robinson.

Artists for Trauma’s valuable contribution to the festival includes music, fashion, adaptive dance and live performance painting. Additionally, AFT is presenting a comprehensive Trauma Resource Village available to all visiting civilian and military trauma survivors and their families.

The 2nd Annual Artists for Trauma Adaptive Fashion Show is once again facilitated this year in participation with Koziak Productions and Macy’s By Appointment at Topanga Plaza in Canoga Park. The show features, wheelchair hip hop dance performers from the Walk and Roll Foundation as models in the fashion show.

Not to be missed is the irrefutable emerging talent of AFT volunteer artist, Lucy Ford, in her uber cool, live painting performance focusing on the AFT theme of “all you need is love.”

“The services provided by Artists for Trauma are vital to those who are recovering from a major traumatic event, including those who have served in our nation’s military,” said Debbie Gregory, CEO of MilitaryConnection.com. “Their collaboration with the World Music and Arts Festival can truly make a difference, and I hope that everyone will come out and support them on June 7th.”

The event is free and open to the public. MilitaryConnection.com is a proud supporter of Artist for Trauma.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Military Connection: Plan to Attend the VCC World Music and Cultural Arts Festival: by Debbie Gregory