By Debbie Gregory.
Part of what we do here at MilitaryConnection.com is connecting our audience with great companies and non-profit organizations that work to make life better for those who serve, veterans, and their loved ones. We are not at all surprised that the vast majority of the organizations we work with are founded and run by veterans or military/veteran family members.
For the Troops is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to providing members of the American military with “We Care” packages containing basic necessities, goodies, games and—most of all—a show of support. In 2005, founder Paula Cornell realized that her husband had forgotten to brush his teeth. When she pointed this out to him, he said, “It’s no big deal, I didn’t brush my teeth for a year in Vietnam.” He went on to tell her that he also went without other comforts, such as toilet paper. Paula felt a deep need to help American freedom fighters obtain everyday comforts that civilians take for granted, and For the Troops was born.
Sword & Plough is a socially conscious brand that works with American manufacturers who employ veterans. The company recycles military surplus, incorporates that fabric into stylish bag designs, and donates 10% of profits back to veteran organizations. Founded by Army 1st Lt. Emily Nunez Cavness and her sister, Sword & Plough has grown from a humble Kickstarter campaign to a successful small business.
Prior to being cast as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” villain Kylo Ren, Marine veteran Adam Driver was bridging the cultural gap between the Armed Forces and the performing arts communities through his nonprofit Arts in the Armed Forces.
Former Army Ranger Nick Watson started VetEx — Veteran Expeditions — because he knew more fellow former troops needed to experience the power of the mountains. “I realized when I was climbing, all I thought about was climbing. That focus is addicting. It’s a like a drug, a very good drug, and I was definitely hooked,” said Watson. Since launching in 2010, VetEx has transformed 1,500 veterans into mountaineers
Volunteers from the Colorado Aviation Business Association, led by Army veteran Mike Straka, team up each year with Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Precision Flight Team to deliver toys and food to veterans’ families in remote reaches of the state.
Navy vet Jack Maxfield is a counselor at the Silicon Valley Chapter of SCORE. They have been offering free workshops and seminars to National Guard and Reserve troops and veterans in the San Francisco Bay area for the past 3 years. Their consultant services are free, and more information can be found on their website at svscore.org.