Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘helping military families’

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.

saicblogstevemahon

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!

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Drew's Profile PictureOne of the best feelings in the world is to see the smiles on the faces of our military families at our Back-to-School Brigade events.  A close second is the honor of seeing so many come together in a shared mission to make a real difference for part of their community that often does not have the roots and support system that their neighbors enjoy.

It is that shared mission that drives volunteer Drew Aquino. Drew is the Director of Military Outreach for the Southeast Armed Services YMCA Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs.  Not only is Drew helping make our Rocky Mountains Field Office Back-To-School Brigade event possible at the YMCA, he is also picking up school supplies at 13 local Dollar Tree stores. In addition, he is managing the whole process to sort and pack thousands of supplies into backpacks that will be given to military kids in the area.

Drew grew up in a military family, and is himself a former Marine. Having been stationed and worked all over world serving U.S. military & their families, Drew understands the challenges of settling into a new community and a new school.

On being a part of our Back-To-School Brigade, Drew says, “It is an honor to be involved with Operation Homefront and Back-To-School Brigade because we are all working towards a common goal of making a positive difference in the military community. As a former U.S. Army Brat and U.S. Marine, I am reminded of the memories of what my family endured while my father deployed multiple times. Nothing is more honorable than to give back to the military community and be a humble servant leader.”

ASYMCA and Operation Homefront have similar missions, helping and serving military service members and their families. Working together, both organizations identified opportunities to synergize and make a bigger impact and positive difference for military families in and around Colorado Springs.

Drew encourages others to find a way to help affect change in their communities. “Get involved in your local community. Give back. Make a positive difference in a person’s life and build community. We are the leaders who must set the example for our kids and the future.  Passion, hard work & a positive attitude is a force multiplier!”

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 and find out how our “1 Military. 1 Family” campaign is making a difference for military families across the country.

Read Full Post »

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

 

 

Read Full Post »

We asked. You heard and responded. Thank you for answering the call!

On Giving Tuesday last month, we announced that our friends at Murphy-Goode Winery had offered a $100,000 match for donations to Operation Homefront. Many of you jumped on board and gave! And we met our match…quickly…with flying colors!

But it’s more than just dollars and numbers. It affects real people, like:

  • Amanda, a single mom from Arkansas, who joined the Army and was injured while deployed. Operation Homefront helped her with food, diapers, and her mortgage payment, helping her get back on her feet again.
  • David, a sailor from Arizona, who has a long legacy of military service in his family. He was injured while serving on an aircraft carrier, underwent many surgeries and got caught up in VA delays with no money to make ends meet. We helped him with food, utilities and travel costs for his medical appointments.
  • Sean, a wounded Marine from Illinois, who joined the service after Sept. 11. He battles PTSD and brain cancer. Operation Homefront helped him with car repairs so he could get to his medical appointments.

And the list goes on and includes thousands of families we’ve been honored to serve. We asked you to answer the call and you responded. When you gave to Operation Homefront, you helped them too. You played a part in making life a little easier for our military families and wounded warriors.

So, from us to you, thank you!

And thank you to Murphy-Goode for generously supporting our military families for another year!

Assistance is in the form of grants, not loans, and covers some of the most basic of needs like food, rent, utilities, and critical home repairs. Transitional and permanent mortgage-free housing, as well as family and caregiver support, round out the host of services our organization provides to thousands of military and veteran families each year. Donations can be made using our online donation form or given to our ongoing list of Current Needs.

 

Read Full Post »

It’s National Volunteer Week. What can we say about volunteers…

They are the heart and soul of not just our organization, but of every organization that strives to make a difference and have an impact in their corners of the universe.

As the quotes goes… “Volunteers are love in motion”. And we’d like to share some of that love (and some favorite quotes) with you as we say “Thank You” to the thousands of volunteers across the country that help Operation Homefront make a difference in the lives of our military families and wounded, ill or injured veterans.

 

“A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.”- Washington Irving

A young volunteer gives back to our military families at Holiday Meals for Military 2013

A young volunteer gives back to our military families at Holiday Meals for Military 2013

 

“If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life.” ~Author Unknown

Every day, our volunteers are out in the community raising awareness of our mission and support for military families

Every day, our volunteers are out in the community raising awareness of our mission and support for military families

 

“The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers.”~ Everett Mámor

 

Volunteers help welcome the newest members of our military families at Star Spangled Baby Showers for military moms all across the country.

Volunteers help welcome the newest members of our military families at Star Spangled Baby Showers for military moms all across the country.

 

“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” ~James Matthew Barrie

The wonderful mother and daughter teams of the National Charity lend a helping hand to the Easter Bunny visiting military families in Texas 2013

The wonderful mother and daughter teams of the National Charity lend a helping hand to the Easter Bunny visiting military families in Texas 2013

 

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” –Benjamin Franklin

The wonderful mother and daughter teams of the National Charity lend a helping hand to the Easter Bunny visiting military families in Texas 2013

The wonderful mother and daughter teams of the National Charity lend a helping hand to the Easter Bunny visiting military families in Texas 2013

——–

To learn how you can Get Involved with Operation Homefront’s mission, click here or visit www.operationhomefront.net and find the Field Office closest to you. Also check out Points of Light, a non-profit dedicated to the promotion of volunteer service.

Read Full Post »

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” — Mulan

MCOY_blog_squareEdelweiss, Edelweiss…

Although this flower was made famous by the beloved musical, “The Sound of Music”, and admired for its beauty, this is no hothouse flower. Growing from a rock at high altitude in frigid air, resistant to radiation, needing little water, Edelweiss’s strength and resiliency is the stuff of legends. So much so that it has been honored on currency, coats of arms, and to this day is an insignia for the Alpine troops of several militaries.

When one takes a moment to marvel at the beauty of this world, you will find no shortage of examples of resiliency. We don’t have to look any further than the young patriots raised in our military families for examples of not only surviving but blossoming in the harshest conditions and under extreme adversity. For those young men and women daring enough to look the world in the eye and say “Show me what you got,” April is the Month of the Military Child.

Think about it. Many of our military children have never known a country not at war. Even those who are old enough to have been born before our current conflicts were probably too young to remember what it was like to serve in peace time (and make no mistake, families serve, too). On average, they move 6 to 9 times between kindergarten and 12th grade.[1] They go long periods of time not seeing Mom or Dad. They long for a hug but have to settle for Skype. They lose parents, or have friends that lose parents. Sometimes, their parent returns, but isn’t the same.

And yet still they maintain outstanding GPAs, volunteer in their communities, find others in need and help them. They are class presidents and varsity athletes. They find the silver lining and turn it into gold.

So why Month of the Military Child? Because, however we can make it happen, they deserve to take center stage. For their stories are our stories.

Over the next couple of weeks, it will be the honor of Operation Homefront to share more about these amazing young men and women as we celebrate this year’s recipients of our Military Child of the Year Award®. We’ll check in with our past recipients to see where the next chapter of their lives has taken them. We’ll also post information and stories about our military children on our Facebook page. Hopefully, you’ll be as inspired by them as much as we are. Every day.

The sixth annual Military Child of the Year Award® will be presented April 10, 2014 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA. In addition to the trip to our nation’s capital, recipients are awarded a $5,000 cash prize. General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will speak, and legendary musician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist (and military child himself) Bret Michaels will give the keynote address. Mike Emanuel, chief congressional correspondent for Fox News Channel, will emcee the dinner and award portion of the evening event.

 

[1] http://www.dodlive.mil/index.php/2013/04/infographic-wrapping-up-month-of-the-military-child/

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: