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Archive for the ‘Answer The Call’ Category

Your support means real impact on real military and veteran families across the United States. Today, we’d like to share some thanks from those families to all of YOU who have answered the call when YOU were needed the most:

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If you are looking for a way to get involved in supporting our military families, we invite you to join our Answer the Call campaign.

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Today we are joined by guest blogger Steven Mahon, SAIC EVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Steven talks about his call to service and the call to service by SAIC Citizens.

Thirty-seven years ago, I made the decision to join the United States Army. I was resolute, but as a young man, I lacked the foresight of all the challenges that laid ahead, especially those that would arise as a husband and father.

Although many years have passed, the challenges of being a service member remain, especially in today’s world where our troops are frequently deployed and tasked with difficult, demanding, and dangerous work. We ask our service members to devote themselves to their mission and their duty to serving our nation, and they unwaveringly accept. However, there is a price to pay to answer the call of the nation. By asking for 100 percent of their focus on the mission, their duties as parents and spouses can’t always be a primary focus.

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Steven Mahon, SAIC EVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, and the SAIC Citizens at the Back-To-School Brigade event in Maryland.

Families are often geographically separated and this means that at times there never seems to be enough money for essentials like school supplies. As a young service member, I remember returning to the PX a modest birthday present I had purchased for my wife because we needed the cash for baby food and diapers instead — that was 28 years ago and I still remember how badly I felt about it.

I know that feeling reverberates throughout the Armed Forces, but organizations like SAIC and Operation Homefront are here to help. As an SAIC employee or “corporate citizen” as we say, my service to our country continues, most recently by volunteering with Operation Homefront as a member of its Board of Directors and by volunteering at events that build strong, stable and secure military families, such as distributing backpacks during their Back-To-School Brigade. Let’s face it, school supply shopping is stressful and expensive. Operation Homefront’s Back to School Brigade reduces that burden and financial hardship on military families by providing service members with pre-filled backpacks stuffed with commonly needed supplies. This reduces stress on families, frees up time, and saves a lot of money. For families with three, four, or more children, this is a big help!

saicbloggirlinpinkMy colleagues and I volunteered to stuff and hand deliver these backpacks to needy families, and we were thrilled to do it. The most rewarding sight was to see a young girl, dressed all in pink —including pink glasses — hugging her new pink backpack, with a huge smile on her face! We are proud to work for a company like SAIC that chooses to sponsor organizations like Operation Homefront because our support helps to reduce every day stresses on our military.

We at SAIC and Operation Homefront are honored to serve our military families by paying it forward, and we ask that you join us. Visit www.operationhomefront.net/answerthecall  for ways to help support the families of our service members and wounded warriors. SAIC Citizens will be volunteering across the country during this upcoming holiday season, and we hope to see you there!

 

 

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answerthecallblog9-22-16What motivates a young man or woman to serve their country? They have an entire future ahead of them. What causes them to answer the call to protect the American way of life and its freedoms, at a potentially great cost to themselves and their loved ones?

Here are top 10 answers we recently received from veterans and service members. Their answers are not uncommon among those who join the military.

Read them and be reminded of the courage and strength of those who serve and join us in celebrating and supporting those who answer the call.

  1. “I loved having a one purpose – protecting our country and keeping us free.” – Robert R., Veteran
  2. “What I love most about serving my country is being able to answer the call to service and stand next to my brothers and sisters to defend this great nation.” – Sabrina L., E5
  3. “I stand for my flag, my Country and my neighbor.” – Richard B., E5
  4. “The …feeling of connection and pride I have knowing that I follow in the footsteps of the men and women who have come before me.” – Julius A., E6
  5. “The community and common goal of joining American men and women of all cultural backgrounds to voluntarily serve our country.”  – Cindy C., O5
  6. “The idea that I was giving my all for my family back home.”  – Ian S., E3
  7. “When I was going through basic training, I was asked why I enlisted. My answer was simple, I wanted to be like Xena, Mulan, Pocahontas, and G.I. Jane. I serve because I want to be the 1% that fights back when the enemy comes knocking. I take pride knowing that my family and friends are safe when I am in uncomfortable conditions, wherever it may be, miles away from home.”  – Andrea B, E5
  8. “Being in military has shown me that I am capable of doing a lot more than I ever believed I could.” –Andrew F, E5
  9. “I love being a part of something bigger than myself… an organization comprised of proud Americans with shared values of selfless service, honor, integrity, and loyalty.”  – Robert Z., O4
  10. “Service before self. I serve for my country and for the people in it.” – Matthew L., O6

If you are looking for a way to get involved in supporting our military families, we invite you to join our Answer The Call campaign.

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Many of us have friends, family and loved ones who are serving or have served. You can help us honor, support and serve our our military and their families by taking part in our Answer The Call campaign.

 

Here are three ways you can make a difference today:

 

Support:

When you give to Operation Homefront, you help make life just a little easier for our military families and wounded warriors. 92% of all our donations made go directly to programs and services to support military families. Visit the Current Needs page to read the stories and needs of families we are serving, or you can support one of our ongoing needs.

Honor:

Email your Message of Thanks to AnswertheCall@operationhomefront.net or post a photo on the Operation Homefront Facebook page with #AnswerTheCall of a service member, veteran or military family member you know with their name, branch of service and when they served.

Serve:

Sign-up today to be an Operation Homefront volunteer to support military families in your area throughout the year.

If you have any questions about the campaign or other ways you want to support military families and veterans, please email info@operationhomefront.net.

We also invite everyone to get social with us:

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Instagram

 

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Post your pictures with #AnswerTheCall or email them to us at socialnet@operationhomefront.net

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NEW YORK, New York (Sept. 11)--Smoke rises in lower Manhattan after the World Trade Centers fall Sept. 11, 2001. USCG photo by PA2 Tom Sperduto

NEW YORK, New York (Sept. 11)–Smoke rises in lower Manhattan after the World Trade Centers fall Sept. 11, 2001. USCG photo by PA2 Tom Sperduto

When we reflect on the events of September 11, 2001, the horror and pain of that day is often mingled with the hope and comfort of the many images and stories of heroism. Our generation had never seen such outpouring of concern and support from Americans, coast to coast.  From those who opened their homes to the stranded, to those who passed out water bottles to first responders near the scenes of tragedy, we were buoyed in our darkest hours by the values and spirit that has defined this country since its founding.

Today, 15 years later, as we pause to reflect this Sunday on Patriot Day, many of us may wonder, “Where has that spirit gone?”  You may hear others wonder aloud whether the America reflected in those days of fellowship and unity is gone, never to be recovered.

But there is one group that still believes.

Our men and women in uniform. And they have arguably carried the biggest burden and paid a heavy cost since that fall of 2001.

We have talked with men and women who joined specifically because of the attacks of September 11.  Some were mere children at the time, but they carried that calling with them until they were old enough to volunteer.  Still others talk about an opportunity given to them, or to their immigrant parents, and of a need to give back.  In the 15 years that Operation Homefront has worked with military and wounded warrior families, we have been amazed time and again at the love and reverence that generations of Americans have for this country.

And when reflecting on their service, the vast majority talk about bonds tighter than family, in some cases, and the privilege of serving with the finest men and women that America has to offer.

It is in these conversations that we see the core values of who we are as a nation, and the resiliency and strength that allows us to weather the darker times.

The men and women of our armed forces come from our communities.  The honor, courage, commitment and call to service comes from the communities they were raised in.  In short, they are America.

And they are not alone.

Support for military families comes from all walks of life. We see it at the events we host around the country. We often partner with other organizations serving other needs in their community, such as mental health and food insecurity. We see the young and the old all doing something to make their little part of the world a better place.

Americans answered the call then, and they continue to answer the call today.

Many say there seems to be a lot of anger in the air these days, whether it’s  talk shows, the web, or social media.  They wonder how to make it better. But we ask you to take a moment and really look around and see that your fellow Americans are still phenomenally friendly, caring, generous, and quick to help when help is needed. Sometimes the opportunity to keep the spirit alive comes to you, other times you need to seek it out.  But it is there.

This September 11 anniversary, we encourage everyone to find a way to keep the spirit alive in their community. It does not always have to be a donation of money or goods, it can be your time, an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on. A smile to a stranger or stopping to take a moment to talk to someone.

doing so, we can, as in the words of President Bush in his address to the nation, “None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.”

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Our country’s service members, veterans, and their families have all Answered The Call to serve our nation, sacrificing much in the process. Service comes with many challenges – being apart as a reslt of deployment, the loss of a family member, adjusting to a new community and career, hitting a financial obstacle. Putting the needs of our country before their own, our military personnel and their families have always been committed to protecting us all.

If you are looking for a way to get involved in supporting our military families, we invite you to join our Answer The Call campaign.

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In a survey from Blue Star Families last year, financial issues rated among the top concerns for service members, veterans and their families.

Today, we host guest blogger, Clifford Cho, Bank of America Senior Vice President /Business Banking Market Executive.

San Diego is home to nearly 100,000 active service members and more than 240,000 veterans living and working right here – one of the highest such populations anywhere in the United States. While we owe a debt of gratitude for the service of veterans and their families, we also owe it to ourselves to recognize how integral they are—and will be—to our lives every day. Here in San Diego, for example, these men and women are inextricably linked to the $45 billion that the military generates for our local economy.

The need for greater financial education among veterans and military families is as great as it’s ever been. A 2015 study by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that service members carry higher credit card debt and unsecured debt balances than their civilian counterparts. And in a survey from Blue Star Families last year, financial issues rated among the top concerns for service members, veterans and their families. Nearly 90 percent of respondents said that financial readiness training should be more tailored to fit specific family needs.

Statistics aside, many simply struggle navigating the complex system of benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, and figuring out credit, lending, savings and mortgage options can be daunting for those who are facing them for the first time.

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It was our honor to participate for the 6th straight year in Operation Homefront’s Back-To-Brigade.

Recently, I joined other Bank of America employees at a volunteer event for Operation Homefront called “Back-To-School Brigade” in San Diego. During the event, over 1,000 deserving military children were each given a new backpack filled with school supplies. Nationwide, the Back-To-School Brigade served over 20,000 military children, ensuring they had all of the tools they need to be successful in school. It was our 6th straight year of participating in this event and we all witnessed first-hand how appreciative the military members were of our support. Our team has also supported Operation Homefront holiday programs with drives and volunteers.

In addition to Operation Homefront, Bank of America also works with many other military organizations. One of those groups, REBOOT San Diego and its veteran’s transition program that provides job skills and career education to returning service men and women. To date, REBOOT has helped over 1,450 transitioning service members and veterans maintain a steady 97% success rate in completion of their various workshops, attainment of a stated goal of education or employment and retention in the REBOOT program after their initial year. We’ve also been able to fund additional monthly workshops in North San Diego County to help Marines from Camp Pendleton and area veterans.

Proper financial education can make a massive difference for all of us and for military families in particular. It can help to relieve financial stress—one of the major causes of tension in service members’ relationships—and it can improve the lives of entire families. For some, it can even be the difference between homelessness and gainful employment in a fulfilling career.

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It has never been more urgent to ensure our community’s veterans have the financial education they need to succeed.

In addition, through BetterMoneyHabits.com —a financial education resource that Bank of America developed with education innovator Sal Khan and Khan Academy—we recently launched new content specifically geared toward veterans and military families. The new content offers transitioning service members guidance on issues like navigating the complexities of the GI Bill, a tutorial on how VA home loans work and a primer on buying a car.  The publication Military Times partnered with us to discuss these topics along with financial readiness as part of a free webinar available online.

It has never been more urgent to ensure our community’s veterans have the financial education they need to succeed. More importantly, as citizens and members of the community, we each have a responsibility to use our unique skills and gifts to help unlock the potential of the veterans and military families we encounter every day. We do this through financial literacy. How can your company help grow the skills and strengths of our nation’s veterans?

Bank of America has been a steadfast supporter of Operation Homefront programs and events across the country, such as our Back-to-School Brigade and the Holiday Toy Drive programs.   We look forward to continuing to work with them to build strong, stable and secure military families.

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Our Back-To-School Brigade events would not be the resounding success they are without our volunteers.  From collecting donated supplies to sorting through pencils, crayons and glue sticks, thousands of volunteers spend their summers giving selflessly of their time to show their appreciation to our nation’s military families. We asked our Field Offices to help us share a few stories of those who are helping us make a difference in the lives of the military families in their communities. They define what we mean when we say “1 Military. 1 Family.”

ViktorVolPicA Heart The Size of Texas:

A retired union carpenter from New Jersey, Victor Michaelson moved to El Paso, Texas to be close to his daughter and son in-law, who has served in the US Army for over 12 years. Victor learned about Operation Homefront from his daughter, who introduced him to volunteering in the Army community.

Sunah Noble, Community Liaison for our Southern Plains Field Office, wrote to us: “Victor is such an outstanding, hardworking volunteer!  He has been volunteering from the beginning of the Back-To-School Brigade at Fort Bliss, helping us pick up more than 600 educational workbooks from the Molina Foundation, picking up Dollar Tree store collections, helping receive supply collections from other volunteer drop offs, sorting school supplies, and helping us shop for program supplies and materials for Back-to-School Brigade.  Victor has also been working hard to support Back-to-School Brigade by promoting the event at information tables and helping out at our local Shamrocks restaurant fundraiser.”

Victor shares, “I love the opportunity to give back to the men and women serving our country.  The words of encouragement I would give others thinking about getting involved with military families and the local community is:  if you have the opportunity to work with great people, jump at the chance to give back to the people who give so much for us!”

 

ErikaVolPicA Born Volunteer:

Erika Stewart is a new Operation Homefront volunteer, but she was born for it.  The daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, Erika is a military spouse whose experience with service and leadership has been an invaluable asset to our Rocky Mountains Field Office.

“Erika… has stepped into the (volunteer) role with relish!” wrote Christine White, Program Manager for our Rocky Mountains Field Office. “She is our “volunteer wrangler” at school supply sorting sessions, and will do so again at our Back-To-School Brigade event.  We appreciate her willing spirit and dedication—Erika is always ready to jump in and do what needs to be done with lots of enthusiasm and energy.  Working with her is a pleasure!”

About getting involved in the community, Erika offers these words of wisdom, “Volunteering is rewarding, and makes you thankful for what you have.  Glass is half- full rather than half-empty.  Look for the positive in every situation.  Smile on kids’ faces when they get their backpacks.  Military families are part of our communities, our neighbors, our community.  The friendships we create are the family we choose for ourselves.”

Maybe you were born to volunteer too? Click here to learn more about how you can get involved with Operation Homefront in your community.  Find a list of our upcoming Back-To-School Brigade events here.

Check back with us this weekend as we feature more of our All Star Volunteers. #1Mil1Fam

 

 

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