AVAST: Amputee Veterans of America Support Team; Tampa, Florida. We are made up of Veterans from all branches of the service, who have dedicated their lives to helping other Veterans who are amputees or have other disabilities. We have partnered with James Haley Veterans Hospital, Adaptive Golf program. This group meets every Friday at Terrace Hill golf course, along with Ken Juhn, golf pro who teaches the fundamentals of golf. AVAST has also put together the only amputee color guard in AMERICA. We present the colors around the country to honor all Veterans past and present.
I grew up in a military family and joined the Air National Guard right out of high school. When I deployed last year MMO kept me connected back home by sending me cards an packages while overseas. It made my time there much easier.
I am also an officer in the University of Iowa Veterans Association at my college. MMO has been extremely helpful by supporting our organization and the events that we do. We would not have such a good turnout at our fundraisers and events if it wasn’t for the tireless work that MMO provides.
I grew up in a military family where my Father served in the Army, my sister served in the Navy and I had a relative who was killed in action in Vietnam. Supporting veterans and their families has always been near to my heart. I am a military dependent and have three young children, whom I am raising on my own. I work full-time as a Marketing and Membership Associate at Costco and attend college full-time. As you can imagine, I was feeling isolated and overwhelmed due to my limited time and limited financial resources.
A little back ground on my education and career:
I graduated High School May 2006. I am currently attending Kirkwood Community College with a major in Criminal Justice.
In the fall of 2012 Midwest Military Outreach, Inc. (MMO) pulled together a team of military veterans to coordinate and assist with a dramatic flag display at the University of Iowa Kinnick Stadium. In particular; they provided leadership, administration and guidance for the entire project – a major undertaking that included the coordination of 200 volunteer veterans as they unfurled a United States flag the size of the entire football field.
It is hard for me to believe that this year is the 10th Anniversary of my discharge from the US Military. I spent over 16 years of my life in a uniform; whether on Active Duty or in the National Guard, then I suddenly found myself in “Civilian Land.” In the Military I was the person in charge, but in “Civilian Land” I was just a newbie and I had no idea how to navigate. The transition to civilian life was difficult.
As President of Military Affairs Association (MAA) – I have worked with Midwest Military Outreach, Inc. (MMO) on many projects to empower Veterans over the years; and it is with honor that I fully endorse their work.