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Military Connection: College Admission Counseling for Veterans

veteranstudent

By Joe Silva

Millions of Veterans have enrolled in college through the use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill or other Veteran education benefits. Veteran education benefits provide those who served their country with the means to pay for their higher education, including vocational certificates or degree programs. While these benefits are a great way to say thank you, they do not necessarily provide Veterans with the knowledge needed to ensure that they get the education that they have earned. Many Veterans could benefit from mentorship and counseling on how to use their benefit to select the right school for them.

Unfortunately, students can’t always rely on the advisors and counselors at prospective schools. Due to the rapid influx of Veteran students onto college and university campuses, several practices have been initiated by institutions of higher learning designed to help the school more than the Veteran. Additionally, many schools and  staff members who actually do have Veterans’ best interests in mind, aren’t always knowledgeable about Veteran education benefits and how they work.

It is for this reason that MilitaryConnection.com would like to let every Veteran student know about Service to School.

Service to School is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was created to provide free college application counseling to Veterans, with the goal of maximizing their education benefit. The organization was founded by three combat Veterans, Gus Giacoman, Tim Hsia, Khalil Tawil while they were enrolled in elite graduate programs. The three joined forces with Anna Ivey, the former Dean of Admissions from the University of Chicago Law School. The group began a dialogue on how Veterans have a very different struggle when it comes to admissions policies, and how there aren’t enough resources for Veteran students.

Service to School connects Veteran college applicants with “Ambassadors,” who are volunteers and very often Veterans and/or higher education staff. The ambassadors are proficient with both Veterans education benefits and higher education admissions. Service to School Ambassadors are available to coach Veterans as to how to gain admission into the very best undergraduate or graduate programs at the finest schools in the country.  The organization provides Veterans with mentorship, application assistance, résumé assistance, application essay assistance, interview preparation and network assistance.

Easing the process will make the road to higher education easier to navigate, therefore presenting a better chance of arriving at the final destination…the coveted graduation, with degree in hand.

For more information about Service to School visit www.Service2School.org.

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: College Admission Counseling for Veterans: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Why Choose Veteran-Friendly Schools? By Joe Silva

American Sentinel University Logo

For Veterans, going back to school can be a daunting experience. The first obstacle is selecting the school where you will be using your GI Bill benefits. With so many choices, the selection process can seem like a considerable undertaking. How are Veterans supposed to know which school is the right one?

Steve Hicks retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2006 as a Command Chief Master Sergeant (E-9). Anyone who served should know that someone in Hicks’ pay grade has been there, done that, and should have a pretty good handle on decision making. But in a recent interview, Hicks admitted that like hundreds of thousands of other Veterans, he found the prospect of going back to school intimidating. The Air Force Chief wasn’t sure about how to use his education benefits, or how to start the application/enrollment process.

The one thing that Hicks did know, for sure, was his area of study. Hicks is now enrolled in the Bachelor of Science Geographic Information Systems at American Sentinel University.

“From my job, I knew I wanted a GIS degree,”  CMSgt. Hicks said. “I looked online and found several schools that offered the program. I chose American Sentinel because their military-friendly aspect caught my attention.”

American Sentinel University prides itself on its military-friendly education programs and distance learning. Their military education programs offer an online format that is ideal for military students from any branch of the military, including the Guard and Reserves. Online courses are flexible, and allow for students to log in to their classrooms anomalous to set location or time as with a traditional program. It is for these reasons that American Sentinel University was selected to receive the final Military Connection Veteran School Salute for 2014.

Veterans should take into consideration factors such as: schedules, availability and ability to complete the course when selecting a school and degree program. The staff at American Sentinel University walked Hicks through every step of the admissions and enrollment process, ensuring that he understood and was comfortable with the decisions that he was making.

Hicks said that the online coursework was ideal for his post-military career as a contractor who still deploys. He also said that he had enrolled in one class while he was deployed in Afghanistan. With each online course offering engaging discussion forums, there are ample opportunities to remain connected with the other students and faculty in the class, regardless of where in the world they are. At the start of one particular class, he logged in and saw a familiar name appear in the class discussion board… it was his co-worker, an Army Veteran, in the very next room.

American Sentinel’s commitment to Veterans doesn’t stop once they are enrolled. Hicks said that there is consistent support at the school, and that he was always able to find the answers to any of his questions regarding benefits or academics. Hicks was happy with the support he received from American Sentinel beginning with the very first phone call.

Retired CMSgt. Hicks is scheduled to graduate from American Sentinel University with a B.S. Geographic Information Systems in October 2015. He offered these words of advice to any Veterans thinking about using their GI Bill benefits to go back to school, but who might be feeling intimidated:

“Just do it! Get it started. There are all kinds of reasons to quit or stall your schooling. But you just got to suck it up– adjust your schedule, do whatever it takes to get your education.”

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: Why Choose Veteran-Friendly Schools? By Joe Silva

Military Connection: GI Bill Spared from Cuts: By Debbie Gregory

BAH 2015

Housing allowances for Veteran students using their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits have been spared from the cuts made by the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The NDAA, which is essentially the defense budget, was approved this week by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. One of the most unfortunate provisions in the bill is the one percent decrease to Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for all active service members that will go into effect next year. The one percent decrease will cost service members and military families a few hundred dollars over the course of the year, but will save the DOD millions.

Earlier drafts of the NDAA originally called for a five percent reduction to BAH over three years. But the final bill as it stands was changed to only one percent due to pressure from Veteran advocacy groups on behalf of active duty service members. Many believe that lawmakers will end up getting their five percent BAH decrease by dropping BAH by one percent each year.

The housing allowance decrease was also supposed to affect Veterans enrolled in college with their Post-9/11 GI Bill. Veteran students, along with paid tuition and a book stipend, receive a monthly allowance for housing (MAH) that is currently the equivalent to the E-5 with dependents BAH rate.

A provision was inserted into the NDAA by the House Veterans Affairs Committee which exempts the Veterans from the one percent reduction in housing allowance that active-duty service members are in line to receive next year.

It is extremely unfortunate that lawmakers deemed it necessary to save money at the expense of service members. It is always important to keep track of what your elected officials are doing in Washington. If their actions are not in line with your wishes, be sure to contact them and let them know. Also, remember their actions when they are up for re-election.

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: GI Bill Spared from Cuts: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: VA Tops 21 Million Home Loans: By Debbie Gregory

VA 21 Million loansAs of October, 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has guaranteed 21 million home loans for Veterans since the Home Loan Guaranty program was established in 1944. The program was one of the original benefits of the original Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the “GI Bill.”

This colossal milestone for the VA comes during its year-long commemoration, celebrating 70 years of the “GI Bill.” The bill established a wide range of benefits for Veterans returning from World War II. The original GI Bill provided zero-down, low-interest home loans, as well as education and vocational training benefits.

The VA Home Loan Program provides housing and home loan related benefits and services for eligible Veterans, service members and surviving spouses, in order to make home ownership possible and affordable. The majority of all VA loans are made with zero down payments.

In fiscal year 2014, the VA Home Loan Program guaranteed around 35,000 loans per month, resulting in a total of 438,398 VA home loans guaranteed for the year. The total value of all outstanding VA loans is over $380 billion. The program also approved 1,253 grants to disabled Veterans for the purchase, modification, *or* construction of a home adapted to meet their individual housing needs.

Despite what many people believe, the VA does not give loans directly to Veterans. The VA partners with approved lenders who provide the loans to eligible Veterans, and essentially vouches for the Veteran. Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that mortgages guaranteed by the VA Home Loan Program had the lowest foreclosure rate for more than the last five years, when compared to all other types of home loans in the nation, including prime loans. But the VA will assume part of the responsibility on the rare occasion when a Veteran is unable to pay off a VA loan.

Through GI Bill home loans and other loan serving efforts, the VA has helped 21 million Veterans fulfill their dream of becoming homeowners, and for many more, keep that dream alive. In Fiscal 2014, through loan servicing efforts, the VA Home Loan Program also helped nearly 80,000 Veteran borrowers to avoid foreclosure.  These actions saved taxpayers close to $2.8 billion in avoided claim payments.

Veterans can obtain a certificate of eligibility for a VA-guaranteed home loan through the VA Home Loan Program at: www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans.

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: VA Tops 21 Million Home Loans: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: GI Bill is NOT for Schools: By Debbie Gregory

GI Bill for VetsThe Post-9/11 GI Bill is the most current and most generous continuation of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, originally enacted by the government in 1944. Since its 2009 inception, more than 1 million Veterans have used the Post-9/11 GI Bill to attend colleges, universities and trade schools. However, there has been growing concern that Veterans are not getting the education they deserve from the benefit they have earned.

But this time, it’s not the American public questioning the federal government about an insufficient offering. This time, it’s the federal government questioning the schools that are receiving the funds from the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The government wants to make sure that the schools are providing sufficient services to Veterans.

A July 30, 2014 report from the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on the GI Bill and for-profit schools shows just how seriously Washington is looking at Veteran education benefits. The main area of concern is the predatory behavior of some for-profit institutions, the lack of worth of some schools’ degree programs, and the increasing enrollment rates of GI Bill students that some of these schools are still managing to receive.

The study found that in the 2012-2013 academic year, eight of the top ten recipient schools were large, publicly traded companies that operate for-profit schools. These eight companies received a total of $2.9 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition money since the program began, including $975 million in 2012-2013, which accounted for 23% of the total GI Bill tuition money spent that year. Since 2009, the Veteran enrollment rate at private for-profit institutions has jumped from 23% to 31%, while Veteran enrollment at public and other not-for-profit schools has dropped from 62% to 50% over the same period.

There are many for-profit schools that go to great lengths to provide Veterans with a quality education. But there are plenty of GI Bill students who can’t finish their degree program within the time allotted by the GI Bill, despite being told by their admissions officer that their military experience would count as credit, allowing them to finish in time. There are also horror stories about the Veterans who have used their GI Bill to complete degree programs, only to find that employers and graduate schools won’t recognize a degree from that school, resulting in a worthless degree that was a waste of time, energy and GI Bill benefits.

Congressional legislators are hoping to eliminate situations like these. Again, not all for-profit schools are bad. But proactive measures are being put into place to ensure that the GI Bill benefits earned through military service are being put to use to benefit the Veteran, not the school.

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: GI Bill is NOT for Schools: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Veteran Friendly Schools: By Joe Silva

Best Veteran CollegesThe Post-9/11 GI Bill is one of the most amazing benefits offered to those who serve. By using this benefit, Veterans can earn a degree or vocational certificate, get paid while in school, and jump-start their post-military lives. The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays the total tuition for all state schools, and up to $20,235 per year for private institutions, for up to 36 months of in-school time. The bill also pays Veterans a monthly housing allowance that is equal to BAH for E-5 with dependents for the zip code where the school is located. Veterans also receive a $500 stipend, per semester, for books and supplies.

With such a generous benefit, all Veterans should make completing higher education their highest post-military goal. Choosing a school should be dependent on what career field or area of study the Veteran wants to pursue, as well as the degree level they are aiming for. Internet research and campus visits are the best ways to find this information. But after narrowing down your list of potential schools, the final consideration should go to colleges and universities that know how to provide for and work with Veteran students.

Military Connection would like to acknowledge some schools that are recognized for being Veteran Friendly:

D’Youville College (DYC), Buffalo, NY: DYC has a tradition of commitment to their Veteran and military students. The school offers special grants and waivers to its Veteran students, including up to 50% off tuition, and 20% off for their dependents. DYC offers its GI Bill students a book voucher, because the book stipend usually doesn’t arrive until after the semester begins.

Sullivan University Systems, Kentucky: Sullivan operates six campuses (one on base at Fort Knox), as well as a variety of Veteran-friendly online programs, which provide a broad array of vocational certificates, Associates, Bachelors, Masters degrees, and PhD programs in management. Sullivan’s culture believes that when it comes to education, one size does not fit all. Sullivan utilizes a nine member board of military and Veteran advisors to ensure that Veterans are getting the most out of the school, and not the other way around.

Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas: Texas A&M rates among the most Veteran-friendly colleges in the country, the result of multiple polls. The school currently boasts more than 2,000 students using the GI Bill or dependent benefits. But more importantly, the school employs 400 Veterans in both faculty and staff positions. Who better to lead the way for Veterans than other Veterans?

California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, CA: Cal Lutheran ranks among the most Veteran-friendly schools in the western United States, and their ranking is likely to skyrocket very soon. Through use of the Yellow Ribbon Program, Cal Lutheran has recently been authorized by the VA to offer a 50% discount on tuition for an unlimited number of Veteran students. This means that Veterans can attend the prominent school, normally costing $36,690 per year in tuition, for no money out of pocket.

There are thousands of schools throughout the country that would like to be on the receiving end of the tuition money that Veterans bring via the Post-9/11 GI Bill. When transitioning service members and Veterans are making the decision on where they want to start their post-military lives, they should consider how potential schools provides for Veterans. If they offer programs similar to the ones that these schools provide, it is a safe bet that the school is military and Veteran friendly.

Veterans should search MilitaryConnection.com’s Education page for information about schools and programs, as well as a link the GI Bill Comparison tool.

Military Connection: Veteran Friendly Schools: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Reducing Tuition Costs for Veterans: By Joe Silva

tuition costsThe passing of the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 allots a colossal $16.3 billion for the reformation of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). While most of that money is intended to overhaul the VA’s healthcare system, the legislation also includes measures to lower the cost of college tuitions for Veterans.

A very important measure for Veteran education and the American higher education system was included in the popularly approved legislation. Essentially, section 702 of the legislation prohibits the VA from paying education assistance to colleges and universities that charge Veterans more than in-state tuition rates. Most colleges charge a higher tuition rate to students from out of state. The measure is intended to help military Veterans who are often relocated around the country during their military careers, and don’t always meet eligibility requirements. By making it the VA’s policy to stop paying GI Bill tuition money to schools that charge out-of-state tuition prices to Veterans, the government is forcing schools to comply or forfeit all of their Veteran students.

This is great news for many Veterans, whose service called upon them to serve all states and territories of the country, and not just the states that they are residents of.

This can be a game-changer for the schools. While the law does not make it mandatory for all schools to provide Veterans with the lower tuition rate, it does create an extremely strong incentive for them to comply.

Either way, the schools are losing money. If a school continues charging Veterans the out-of-state rate, they lose the ability to enroll future students into their school who will have their tuitions paid, on time, by the federal government. But if they comply with the law, they will lose the extra money from the additional out of state fees.

The VA says it has doled out more than $20 billion in benefits for 773,000 Veterans and their family members under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, since it became effective in 2009. That’s 773,000 paid tuitions to the colleges, most spanning multiple semesters.

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: Reducing Tuition Costs for Veterans: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Update on Sgt. Bergdahl: By Debbie Gregory

Bergdahl update

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl disappeared from his post in Afghanistan’s Paktika province on June 30, 2009. Bergdahl was stationed there with the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based out of Fort Richardson, Alaska. The sergeant was captured by the Taliban and held for nearly five years. Sgt. Bergdahl’s captivity finally ended on May 31, 2014, when he was traded for five Taliban detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

According to Army officials, Sgt. Bergdahl is back on duty, currently assigned to administrative duties at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, and lives without restrictions at the non-commissioned officers’ quarters there.

Since his release, several soldiers, including some who served with Sgt. Bergdahl, have accused him of voluntarily leaving his post. These soldiers, as well as other service members, have noted that several soldiers were killed, and others wounded, in the search operations for the missing Bergdahl.

The Army has been conducting an investigation into Bergdahl’s disappearance from his post back in 2009, and a completed Article 15-6 investigation was expected mid-August. The investigating officer, Army Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, now believes that his report will likely be filed in September. Once General Dahl’s report is submitted, it will be subject to a legal review that could further delay a decision on Bergdahl’s fate.

Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s attorney, says thatSgt. Bergdahl has been cooperative in the interviews, and has answered all of Dahl’s questions. Fidell also claims that Sgt. Bergdahl was never read his rights until August 6, 2014.  The lawyers said that the amount of time the reading  of his rights was withheld could be a factor, should the Army attempt to pursue criminal charges against Bergdahl.

Fidell said that if Sgt. Bergdahl is cleared of charges, he plans to leave the Army and attend college. If Bergdahl is cleared, he will be eligible for Veteran education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which requires that Veterans discharge from the armed forces under honorable conditions.

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: Update on Sgt. Bergdahl:  By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Great News for GI Bill: By Debbie Gregory

Great news for GI BillThe recent passing of the VA reform bill is great news for Veteran students and military dependents who receive benefits! Along with improving VA healthcare and articulating measures to create more transparency and greater accountability within the VA, the $17 billion measure includes a provision that will have a huge impact for Veterans using their education benefits.

Currently, private and public schools are allowed to charge two separate tuition prices to their students. Most colleges and universities charge one price for students who are residents of the state where the school’s campus is located, and a higher rate for students who are residents from another state. Residency requirements are governed by state law, and differ around the country. But typically, anyone who can show proof (lease agreement, energy/water bill etc.) of living in a state for a minimum of one year can qualify for the in-state tuition rate.

Veterans who attempt to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill, or other Veteran education benefits, have faced challenges due to out-of-state tuition rates. Service members are stationed all over the world, and often move every few years. It is not uncommon for service members to move to entirely new locations when they separate, especially if their last duty station was outside of the 48 contiguous states. These Veterans, and those who want to attend a specific school due to their academic programs, are subjected to out-of-state tuition rates. Many Veterans and Veteran advocates argue, and rightfully so, that members of the military serve every state in the union.

Apparently, Congress agreed with the case made by the Veteran advocates, and have included provisions in the bill, on its way to the president, to make it easier for Veterans to receive in-state tuition rates.

Out-of-state tuition rates can make the yearly cost of tuition soar over the maximum paid by the benefit. The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays 100% of the tuition for in-state Veteran students attending a public school. The benefit is capped at just over $20, 000 for Veteran students attending a private school, or a school where they are considered a non-resident student.

While the legislation doesn’t mandate that all schools must grant Veterans the reduced rate, it does force their hands. The bill proposes to disapprove future benefits for all Veterans and their dependents at any public school that charges higher than in-state tuition rates to any Veteran who served more than 90 days active service, and separated less than three years before enrollment. Losing the Veteran tuition money from this benefit would cost schools an enormous amount of money.

There are already dozens of states and hundreds of individual institutions that have a history of only charging Veterans the in-state rate. Other schools and states claim that Congress is forcing them to take on extra expenses.

With the passing of the bill by Congress and with President Obama signing it into law on August 7, 2014, every public school will be subject to the federal legislation that will go into effect for school terms starting on or after July 1, 2015.

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: Great News for GI Bill:   By Debbie Gregory

Transfer of Education Benefits Soothes Graduate Students’ Financial Woes

A remarkable feat for the U.S. military and veterans alike, eligible recipients of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits can now transfer those benefits to dependents. The Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB) Program is a great leap for military families with children or spouses wanting to attend graduate school but lack proper funding to do so.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill’s transferability program applies to service members who have provided at least 6 years of service and agree to extend their service 4 more years; have provided 10 years of service to the military; or are currently retired or will become retirement eligible any time between August 1, 2009 and August 1, 2013. Under these provisions, service members are able to transfer their education benefits to a spouse, to a child or to a combination of spouse and child. This added provision to the bill has opened up doors to many people who otherwise would not be able to attend a graduate university.

There are stipulations regarding extra costs covered by the benefits, but the bottom line remains the same: benefits will cover up to the highest tuition cost of any public school in the state—including graduate studies programs. For many dependents (and service members) this change couldn’t come sooner.

As the economy remains unsteady, many spouses and children are choosing to go back to or continue school in an effort to remain ahead of the game. TEB has made this possible for many dependents of military service members.

As the school year comes to a close, talk with your family about your education needs and discuss your goals. As high school and college graduates enter into the next phase of their lives, now is a great time to learn about the transferability of GI Bill education benefits. To learn more and to apply for GI Bill benefits, review our GI Bill information page. You can also calculate your BAH rate by using the calculator provided.

As always, have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend. Remember why we celebrate. Pass on a high five, a low five or a simple smile to a service member this weekend. Go ahead, make their day.

To all those who serve, past and present, thank you. You are appreciated.

Thanks for reading,
Katy