It is this simple… we put a page up, with our .pdf to make it easier to spread the word about the single best Veteran’s Day Event in Colorado!
Your support is greatly appreciated. We believe in 100% transparency at Veteran’s Passport To Hope (VP2H). The below numbers were reported back to us from the organizations that we support through our grant program (2013 numbers were estimated based on historical data).
GRAND TOTAL ESTIMATED BY THE END OF FY 2016 (2013 + 2014 + 2015 + 2016 est.):
Amount Given: $745,633
Number of Veterans Helped: 4,430
Number of Veteran families helped: 3,673
Total number of people helped or positively affected: 9,472
GRAND TOTAL TO DATE (2013 + 2014 + 2015 ACTUAL)
Amount Given: $545,633
Number of Veterans Helped: 2,986
Number of Veteran families helped: 2,423
Total number of people helped or positively affected: 6,672
2016 (Estimated by end of this year)
Amount Given: $200,000
Number of Veterans Helped: 1,444
Number of Veteran families helped: 1,250
Total number of people helped or positively affected: 2,800
Amount Given: $150,000
Number of Veterans Helped: 1,083
Number of Veteran families helped: 837
Total number of people helped or positively affected: 2,235
Amount Given: $150,000
Number of Veterans Helped: 98
Number of Veteran families helped: 86
Total number of people helped or positively affected: 237
Amount Given: $245,633
Number of Veterans Helped: 1,805
Number of Veteran families helped: 1,500
Total number of people helped or positively affected: 4,200
* If you would like to show your continued support and want to set-up a recurring monthly donation: https://www.veteranspassport2hope.org/support-our-vets/
Thank you! We couldn’t help all of these veterans and their family members without your support. Remember, we are a 100% volunteer organization. If you want additional detail regarding these numbers, please email me.
Veteran’s Passport To Hope
Angels of America’s Fallen is a wonderful organization, and one of 17 charities who received grants from Veterans Passport To Hope last year. We are so happy and proud to help such a great organization. We had a chance to talk to Joe Lewis, the founder and president of Angels of America’s Fallen. Read further to learn more about how Angels of America’s Fallen was created, and about their mission and what they do to create positive influences on the lives of children affected by the loss of a parent as a result of their service.
In 2013, Joe Lewis founded Angels of America’s Fallen, after 25 years of service in the U.S. Military and Government. Joe’s military service includes time in the Army National Guard Field Artillery, the Marine Corps flying F/A 18 Hornets, and the U.S. Air Force as a reconnaissance pilot flying RC-26s. He also worked closely with other U.S. government agencies including in the FBI, DEA and U.S. Secret Service (you can read more about his service here).
Joe stated that the idea for Angels of America’s Fallen began with his growing concern about the children whose parents had served in the military or as a first responder, and lost their lives as a result of their service – especially in light of the fact that Joe has children himself and has spent his entire career serving his country (Joe broke his back during his time in the service). What would his children’s lives be like, and the lives of others’ children, if something were to happen to them?
Today, there are more than 16,000 children in the United States who have lost a parent who had volunteered to serve their country in the military or as a first responder. Joe had donated to scholarship funds for children of his fallen friends, but realized that wasn’t enough, particularly since most of the children were very young at the time they lost their parent; the average age being around 7 years old. Statistics show that these children have a greater likelihood for depression, anxiety, and even suicide. How can they be helped during the period of time before they turn 18?
Research studies show that providing these children with opportunities to engage in activities including sports, music, and the arts, as well as fun outings such as summer camps, will provide them with a better chance of developing into healthy individuals. Through participation in activities, the children will be able to learn who they are and what they want to be in the future. They have the chance to develop into their own identities to become viable adults as part of a community.
Angels of America’s Fallen provides a program of long-term engagement and follow-up for children through age 18. Once accepted into the Angels of America’s Fallen program, children choose the activity they wish to participate in, whether it’s dance, soccer, gymnastics, cheering, hockey, swimming, etc. Largely due to the opportunity provided by Angels of America’s Fallen, a boy who participated in the program was able to earn a soccer scholarship for college. Here are some video stories of Angels of America’s Fallen and the children they have helped.
Joe’s wife Shelli serves as the program services director – she is there to be a point of continuity for the children, so that they do not simply become another number. Angels of America’s Fallen forms a long-term relationship with the children who enter into the program – the children choose their activity, and receive follow-up to see how they are doing and to help them if they wish to choose another activity. If one doesn’t work, Angels of America’s Fallen won’t quit until the child finds the right activity for them.
Once a child selects an activity they want to participate in, Joe and his team make the arrangements with activity coaches and instructors, providing the funds, and the guidance of how to relate with the children, keeping in mind that all children are different and deal with the loss of their parent in different ways. The way a child experiences and grieves the loss of their parent at age 4, for example, is different as they get older, and as they revisit the loss of their parent at different stages of their childhood.
In this way, Angels of America’s Fallen, and their contributors and donators, are honoring the sacrifice, memory and the loss of the child’s parent, and at the same time, providing the child with a healthy outlet, and activities they can participate in as they grow into healthy adults. Government-provided services meet a wide variety of needs, but Angels of America’s Fallen can help fill in some gaps and provide further services to the children of those who have sacrificed their lives. The organization sends each child a letter from them stating how they respect the sacrifice of their parent, and the child’s sacrifice of losing their parent. The parent made the decision to serve their country, and this decision has impacted them. The parent’s death is honored, and the child’s sacrifice as well.
The program accepts children of military and first-responders who lost their lives as a result of their service, regardless if the cause of death was from a combat situation, training operation, transport accident, illness/disease, or suicide. The only limitation Angels of America’s Fallen has to admittance is the level of funds they have or anticipate receiving. Currently, there are 325 children in the program, with 43 of those located in the state of Colorado. At one point, there was a waiting period of two years because of the great interest and need. With current funding, Angels of America’s Fallen has seven Colorado children waiting for support. With more funds, they will be able to admit additional children.
Angels of America’s Fallen is located in Colorado Springs, CO, but they accept and provide services to children across the country. One of the advantages of the program is that it is scalable – should a child relocate to another city or state, they are able to contact Angels of America’s Fallen to arrange for activities in their new location. And to help stretch their funds, Angles of America’s Fallen are able to do what they can to arrange for discounts with activities providers.
They also work together with other non-profits. One child, Ethan, who is in the program, has cerebral palsy. To help him be more mobile and get to where he needs to go, Angels of America’s Fallen worked together with Second Chance Veterans Charity, who supplied him with a wheelchair ramp. Additionally through Angels of America’s Fallen, Ethan’s adaptive stroller was replaced when it was damaged in a move.
Because of their success, strong commitment, and relationships with the families in the program, Angels of America’s Fallen experiences a high participation rate of their families in the form of spreading the word about their program (the “Voices Program”), and from volunteering and participating in different events, festivals and fundraisers that they hold throughout the year. Participation is never obligatory, but more about honoring the children in the program.
Angels of America’s Fallen is one of those organizations who tightly reigns in any administration, funding and over-head costs, with about 84% of all money going towards providing funds for the children’s activities. This is the reason why Joe appreciates organizations like Veterans Passport To Hope, who provides funds to other like-minded non-profits such as them.
The mission of Veterans Passport To Hope (VP2H) is not only to raise and provide funds to vetted charities who provide a wide range of services to Veterans and their families in need, but also to raise awareness of issues that affect Veterans such as the situations of children who lose a parent as a result of their service. VP2H also encourages the collaboration of non-profits who provide various services, so that they work together under one common cause – helping Veterans and their families.
Joe says that after retiring from his military service, he was offered other positions in consulting and with the U.S. Government, but the underlying cause which Angels of America’s Fallen addresses is so important, that he wishes to dedicate all of his time to it. What keeps him so motivated is that he worked out the numbers – with more than 16,000 children having lost a parent as a result of serving in the military or as a first responder – if only one child per day were to enter a program such as Angels of America’s Fallen, it would take 43.8 years.
Angels of America’s Fallen serves a lofty purpose – helping children who have lost a parent due to their service – learn more about who they are as individuals, what they want to do to do in the future, and who they will become. To donate to Angels of America’s Fallen and for more information about them, please visit: aoafallen.org.
To help support organizations such as Angels of America’s Fallen and other non-profits who provide a wide array of services to Veterans and their families in need, please donate to Veterans Passport To Hope.
Looking for employment or a new career? Here’s your opportunity! The “Hiring Our Heroes” hiring fair takes place on Monday, February 29 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
The event is open to all military and military spouses, including Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve, and Veteran.
The event, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in partnership with lead sponsor Charles Schwab, and the Denver Nuggets, begins at 9:00 – 11:00 am with an employment workshop for attendees, followed by the hiring fair with employers from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Click here for a list of hiring companies who will be onsite.
9:30 am – 11:00 am – Employment Workshop
11:00 am – 2:00 pm – Hiring Fair
PLUS, all registered attendees can receive two free tickets to the evening’s Nuggets vs. the Memphis Grizzlies game at the Pepsi Center (Monday, February 29, 7:00 pm) while supplies last. Make sure to register to be eligible to receive the tickets!
► Job Seekers, Employers, and Service Organizations: Click here to register.
Job seekers can upload their resumes to be viewed by employers ahead of the event.
This Hiring Our Heroes employment workshop is led by HR and workforce professionals and covers a variety of topics including resume building, networking, and interview tips, taking into account the job seeker’s military background and lifestyle. Hiring Our Heroes digital tools, including the Resume Engine, are also integrated into the workshop curriculum.
Click the links below for additional information:
This Denver Nuggets and Charles Schwab sponsored hiring event is being conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Denver Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS), Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, American Legion, Goodwill Industries International, NBC News, and other local partners.
Today is the last day to buy tickets.
– You will be able to buy at the door, but, we REALLY prefer that you buy today so that we can have proper seating arrangements and meal plans for you.
– If you are a veteran and would like to go, but, can’t afford to pay: Email me your and your guest’s full names and email addresses (we still have some donated veteran tickets available to give away). Email: email@example.com
– If you still want to donate for veteran, you may: * I will do my best to fill the slots with worthy veterans. If I can’t, the money will still go toward helping Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines.
– If you have already purchased your ticket online; simply show up and give your name at the registration desk in order to gain entrance.
5:30 PM – Guests Arrive
Reception with Passed Hors d’oeuvres
7:00 PM – Guests in Seats
Welcome and Special Thanks
Live Auction and Special Appeal
8:40 PM – Keynote Speaker: CPL Daniel Riley (RET)
8:55 PM – Live Music and Dancing
Buy tickets here: https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/…/rsvp_ticket_purchasebt.…
Info on VP2H and on the Gala:https://www.veteranspassport2hope.org/2015-gala/
I’m personally looking forward to seeing you and your guests on Wednesday evening,
Veteran’s Passport To Hope
Veterans Passport To Hope, a Denver-area charity, is thrilled to collaborate with LinkedIn at our 2015 Gala, “Stay The Course.” The 2015 Gala is an annual event held in Denver, Colorado on Veteran’s Day (November 11) this year at the Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Museum. All proceeds will be used to fund charities that provide a variety of services to Veterans in need and their families.
LinkedIn is committed to helping veterans connect to opportunity, and will be on location at the Gala between 4:30-9:30 p.m. to help event guests take their LinkedIn profiles from good to amazing. LinkedIn will help attendees create an account, build their profiles and write a great headline; they will also offer free headshots.
To honor their service and help them strengthen their skills and build their networks, LinkedIn will offer Veterans a one-year subscription to their ‘Job Seeker’ service, which is (a $360 value), and one-year free to LinkedIn’s online learning company Lynda.com (a $420 value). They will have access to the entire library of 4,000 courses teaching business, creative and technical skills all taught by industry experts.
The onsite consultation will be open to all attendees. If a Veteran/service member already has a LinkedIn account, they can visit www.veterans.linkedin.com and follow the steps. Their status is automatically checked and validated but they must have their military service experience indicated in their profile. If they don’t have a profile, they can create one at the 2015 Gala.
To purchase tickets to the 2015 Gala, click here.
More about the Veterans Passport to Hope 2015 Gala “Stay The Course”:
The 2015 Gala recognizes and honors United States Military Veterans of all branches. Proceeds are used to fund veteran’s charities which provide a wide variety of services to veterans in need. Some of these organizations include Project Sanctuary, Angels of America’s Fallen, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless – Homeless Veteran’s Reintegration Program, and Patriot Anglers; they have all made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of veterans and their families. Over the past three years this event has raised more than $729,000 from over 1,500 guests and sponsors for Colorado based veteran non-profits.
This year’s gala will feature speaker Cpl. Daniel Riley, former Marine Corps Infantryman and Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran. “Stay the Course” is the theme of this year’s event, encouraging all of our veterans to continue to work to achieve their goals, no matter the obstacles and challenges they may face.
The 2015 Gala will provide the opportunity to honor veterans and better understand their situation, and how our community can spread awareness and provide assistance. You will hear inspirational speakers like Daniel, visit partner organizations such as LinkedIn who will be on-site to provide assistance, and enjoy the historical Hangar 30 which is part of the Wings Over the Rockies gala venue.
Additionally, there will be wonderful catered food and drink, entertainment provided by Buckstein and the Denver Youth Symphony, as well as fantastic items donated by local companies and individuals for both the live and silent auctions. Items being auctioned include a fantastic fishing trip to Wyoming, an elk hunting trip to Montana, and the opportunity to witness the launch of a NASA rocket launch in Cape Canaveral, donated by Lockheed Martin.
To purchase a ticket or table for Veterans to attend the evening please visit: https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/online_sales/rsvp_ticket_purchasebt.cfm?rsvpid=11323
For tickets and table sponsorship purchases please visit: https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/online_sales/rsvp_ticket_purchasebt.cfm?rsvpid=11323
For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
More about Veterans Passport To Hope:
Veterans Passport to Hope is 100% volunteer based and serves to raise awareness for Veteran issues, foster collaboration between other veteran focused non-profits, and raise funds that will directly benefit Colorado based veterans and their families as well as veterans throughout the country through our partner non-profits.
For more information on Veteran’s Passport To Hope: www.VP2H.org
LinkedIn is collaborating with Veterans Passport to Hope for their fourth annual gala taking place on Veterans Day, November 11, 2015 at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver, CO.
Veterans Passport to Hope is 100% volunteer based and serves to raise awareness for veteran issues, foster collaboration between other veteran focused non-profits, and raise funds that will directly benefit Colorado based veterans and their families as well as veterans throughout the country through our partner non-profits.
“Stay the Course” is the theme of this year’s event, encouraging all of our veterans to continue to work to achieve their goals, no matter the obstacles and challenges they may face. Over the past three years this event has raised more than $729,000 from over 1,500 guests and sponsors for Colorado based veteran non-profits.
LinkedIn will be onsite at our gala with their LinkedIn bus and veteran trained staff which will allow veterans and their spouses to create their LinkedIn profile, get a professional LinkedIn profile head shot, and to get on-site mentorship in order to make the most of their LinkedIn profile and network. In addition, LinkedIn will be providing veterans and their spouses with a 1-year free subscription to their Premium Job Seeker Account.
Past beneficiaries have been Colorado based non-profits such as the Wounded Warrior Project (Colorado Springs Office), The Home Front Cares, Project Sanctuary, and the Vail Veterans Program.
“This year we were able to open up the VP2H Grant which will serve as a funding platform for Colorado based veteran non-profits to together achieve our mission in helping Colorado based veterans and their families. The VP2H Grant allowed us to help fund 17 different veteran focused non-profits here in Colorado in 2015.” – Shane Schmutz, Founder.
With emcee Mandy Connell from 830 KHOW, guests will enjoy a silent and live auction, dinner, live music, and inspirational keynote speaker Cpl. Daniel Riley – A combat veteran, triple amputee, and leader who has continued throughout his challenges to “Stay the Course”.
For more information on Veteran’s Passport To Hope: www.VP2H.org
For tickets and table sponsorship purchases please visit: https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/online_sales/rsvp_ticket_purchasebt.cfm?rsvpid=11323
To purchase a ticket or table for Veterans to attend the evening please visit: https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/online_sales/rsvp_ticket_purchasebt.cfm?rsvpid=11323
To make a one-time or monthly recurring donation: https://www.veteranspassport2hope.org/donations/
For more information email: email@example.com
After seperating from the service, many U.S. Military Veterans transitioning into civilian life require a variety of types of assistance in the form of physical, mental, emotional and financial.
Veterans Passport To Hope works in conjuction with a number of organizations in Colorado who provide many of these services. A large part of how we help these organizations is by holding our annual gala, which will be held on November 11, 2015 this year at the Wings Over The Rockies Air and Space Museum.
The RK Foundation is a Platinum Sponsor of the gala, and without their incredible generosity and other organizations like them, we would not be able to provide funds which offer different services to U.S. Veterans who are in need. Some of these organizations include Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation – Warrior Avalanche Sled Hockey Program, Helping Hands for Freedom – Colorado Arm, and Mountain Resource Center – Support for Veteran’s Re-Integration.
RK and their RK Foundation have generously helped us, and we would like to tell you a little more about them.
RK is headquartered in Denver, CO, with their facility located in Henderson, CO. They are the Rocky Mountain Region’s top supplier of mechanical and industrial solutions for construction and commercial applications. RK operates six business units: Mechanical, Service, Steel, Energy, Water, and Mission Critical. With over 1,200 total employees, RK is Colorado’s largest single source for mechanical contracting, manufacturing, steel fabrication, prefabricated construction, facilities maintenance services, electrical expertise as well as water treatment products and solutions.
RK is a second-generation family-owned business and has been ranked among the Denver Business Journal’s Top 10 Places to Work and Top 10 Healthiest Places to Work. Additionally, RK received the 2012 National Excellence in Construction Pyramid Award for The History Colorado Center (located in Denver) from Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc.
For over 50 years, RK has supported numerous nonprofits and charities that improve the quality of life in our community. RK has been dedicated to providing financial support for organizations that help people in need. They continue their tradition of philanthropy through the RK Foundation.
Established in 2011, the RK Foundation is directed by the Kinning family and oversees their charitable efforts. The foundation allocates grant funding and supports employee volunteer hours to local nonprofits and causes including U.S. Veterans.
To learn more about RK, please visit: rkmi.com
To learn more about the RK Foundation, please visit: rk-foundation.org
To purchase tickets for Veteran’s Passport to Hope 2015 Gala or to become a sponsor, please visit: www.veteranspassport2hope.org/2015-gala
Veteran’s Passport To Hope depends on the support of members of our community to provide funds for a wide range of local organizations who help U.S. Veterans and their families in the Colorado region. These organizations offer assistance to veterans to help with their physical, mental, emotional and financial needs.
This year, one of our corporate table sponsors of Veterans Passport To Hope’s 2015 Gala, “Stay the Course” is Haynes Mechanical Systems of Greenwood, Colorado.
Haynes Mechanical Systems is a Platinum Sponsor of the gala, and without their tremendous generosity and other organizations like them, we would not be able to provide funds which offer different services to U.S. Veterans who are in need. Some of these organizations include Project Sanctuary, Angels of America’s Fallen, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless – Homeless Veteran’s Reintegration Program, and Patriot Anglers, just to name a few, who have made a positive impact on thousands of veterans and their families’ lives.
Haynes’ has generously helped us, and we would like to tell you a little more about them.
Haynes Mechanical Systems is located in Greenwood Village, Colorado, and has been in business for more than 45 years maintaining and upgrading mechanical systems in commercial buildings across Colorado, and Arizona.
They have experts in energy, building automation, and mechanical equipment that assist companies in navigating the increasingly complex world of building technology. Their services span Mechanical, Energy and Technology.
To learn more about Haynes Mechanical Systems, please visit: www.haynesmechanical.com
To purchase tickets for Veteran’s Passport to Hope 2015 Gala or to become a sponsor, please visit: www.veteranspassport2hope.org/2015-gala
Each year, Veterans Passport to Hope presents three awards to well-deserving recipients at our annual gala. Descriptions of each of the awards are listed below.
To see the presention of these awards and help recognize and honor the people receiving them, please purchase tickets for the 2015 Gala which will be held on November 11 at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum here.
Veteran’s Passport to Hope – CPT Kevin J. Smith Award – This award is named in honor of CPT Kevin J. Smith, who was killed in action on December 9, 2005 in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV. This award recognizes an outstanding present or past service member who has served in a conflict in post Desert Storm who has inspired the lives of others by overcoming adversity. This award endeavors to appreciate and celebrate the work in which a recent veteran has selflessly contributed to their community, to other veterans, or to veteran’s organizations especially those who are peer mentors, fund raisers, or community volunteers.
Veteran’s Passport to Hope – Mort Marks Award – This award is named in honor of Mort Marks who is a veteran of World War II and the Battle of the Bulge. Mort continued to work for American freedom even after entering civilian life. This award recognizes an outstanding past service member who has served in a conflict prior to or including Desert Storm who has inspired the lives of others by overcoming adversity. This award endeavors to appreciate and celebrate the work in which a recent veteran has selflessly contributed to their community, to other veterans, or to veteran’s organizations especially those who are peer mentors, fund raisers, or community volunteers.
Veteran’s Passport to Hope – Beatrice Montoya Award – This award is named in honor of Beatrice Montoya. Beatrice has been helping veterans since 1979 and has volunteered 10,991 hours in a 33 year period at the Denver VA Medical Center. This award recognizes an outstanding civilian volunteer who has passionately helped wounded warriors through their actions and/or inspired others in an effort to help service members as they return home from wartime. This award endeavors to appreciate and celebrate the work in which a civilian volunteer has selflessly contributed to their community, to other veterans, or to veteran’s organizations especially those who are peer mentors, fund raisers, or community volunteers.
To see the awardees and presentation ceremonly at the Veterans Passport To Hope 2015 Gala, please purchase tickets here
Hilton Garden Inn, Cherry Creek, CO is generously sponsoring a free hotel stay give-away on behalf of Veterans Passport To Hope 2015 Gala!
Register for Veteran’s Passport To Hope 2015 Gala, “Stay the Course” between Monday, August 17 and Sunday, August 30, and you will get two chances for every seat you register for to receive a one-night stay at the beautiful Hilton Garden Inn in Cherry Creek for the night of the event, which is Wednesday, November 11. Sponsors who register for a table (each table includes 10 seats), receive 20 entries.
Wait to register between Monday, August 31 and Sunday, September 13, you still get the chance to receive the one-night hotel stay. However, it becomes one chance to win for every seat you register for.
Winners will be notified the first week of October.
The Veterans Passport To Hope 2015 Gala will be held at the wonderful Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, and will feature speaker Cpl. Daniel Riley, former Marine Corps Infantryman and Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran. His motivational talk will address the challenges he and many other disabled U.S. Veterans face coming home, and about overcoming them to “Stay the Course,” which is our gala theme this year.
The 2015 Gala will provide the opportunity to honor veterans, and better understand their situation and how our community can spread awareness and provide assistance. You will hear inspirational speakers like Daniel, enjoy the historical Hangar 30 which is part of the Wings Over the Rockies gala venue. Additionally, there will be exquisitely catered food and drink, entertainment provided by Buckstein and the Denver Youth Symphony, as well as fantastic items donated by local companies for both the live and silent auctions.
Hilton Garden Inn, Cherry Creek, 2015 Gala Hotel Stay Give-Away for Nov. 11 – Purchase Tickets between August 17-September 13
Register for Veterans Passport To Hope 2015 Gala click here
Veterans Passport To Hope is honored and thrilled that the Denver Young Artists Orchestra (DYAO) Association is sponsoring our 2015 Gala, “Stay the Course” on November 11, 2015 at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver, Colorado. DYAO has helped hundreds of young people reach their future goals through mentorship and opportunities to perform in high-profile venues, and now they are helping U.S. Veterans and their families by bringing beautiful music to our event with their talented musicians.
Members of DYAO will be performing at the 2015 Gala during our Silent Auction event, during which time guests will be able to bid on fabulous items donated by local companies to help raise funds for veterans.
For thirty-seven years, DYAO has nurtured the talents of the Rocky Mountain region’s finest young musicians as an integral part of their musical education, helping them to achieve their dreams. DYAO continues to transform young musicians by giving them the inspiration, support, and skills to be tomorrow’s great musicians.
The mission of DYAO is to provide the finest possible youth orchestra programs, inspiring and educating young musicians through the performance of great works of music, and offering valuable cultural opportunities to the community. The organization’s five orchestras, chamber ensembles, and group strings classes train over 300 students, ages seven to twenty-three, from more than eighty schools across Colorado.
Members of the orchestras graduate into colleges and universities across the country. Recent alumni can be found studying in various fields including engineering, medicine, music, and law. They attend prestigious institutions such as Brown University, The Eastman School of Music, Harvard University, The Juilliard School, Stanford University, and Yale University. Alumni who continued on to professional music careers are found in many major orchestras across the country including the Atlanta Symphony, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, and Metropolitan Opera.
YAO, the most advanced of the DYAO ensembles, performs four to six concerts annually, including one side-by-side concert with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Concerts are performed at Boettcher Concert Hall and Gates Concert Hall. Recent repertoire for the orchestra includes Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Brahms’ Symphonies 1, 3, and 4, Dvorak’s Symphonies 6, 7 and 9, Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet Suite No. 2, and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2. YAO is conducted by DYAO’s Music Director, Wes Kenney.
The Conservatory Orchestra is an advanced level ensemble for students who want to advance their orchestral performance skills for advancement into DYAO or collegiate programs. The Conservatory Orchestras perform three concerts annually in conjunction with the String Ensemble. Students receive regular professional coachings throughout the season and attend an overnight retreat in September. Recent repertoire includes Beethoven Symphony No. 1, Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and Swan Lake ballets.
The String Ensemble gives young music students an opportunity to experience the great wealth of string orchestra literature. The ensemble is designed for those who have developed facility in bowing techniques, reading music, and using vibrato. Comprised of approximately 30 members, the String Ensembles perform four concerts each season in conjunction with the Conservatory Orchestras.
For more information about DYAO for joining/auditioning, volunteering, donating, or their upcoming performances, please visit their website at www.dyao.org.
For tickets or sponsoships to Veterans Passport To Hopes 2015 Gala, Stay the Course, visit www.veteranspassport2hope.org.
To learn more about the excellent organizations that Veterans Passport To Hope supports, here is the second of a series of five articles that provide you with information and a description of who they are and the great things they do for veterans.
Earlier this year, Veterans Passport to Hope, with the help of numerous donors and supporters, was able to award grants to 17 local non-profit organizations who enrich the lives of many U.S. Veterans and their families in the Greater Denver, Colorado region. These are the organizations who have benefited from Veterans Passport to Hope’s fund-raising efforts and events such as our annual golf tournament which is sponsored this year by Connecting People, and our annual gala, Stay the Course.
The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless has been helping the homeless for more than 30 years. The Coalition defines the homeless to be anyone who lacks a fixed, regular or adequate residence. More than 3.5 million Americans, including more than 1 million children, will seek lasting solutions to homelessness this year. The Coalition’s mission is to work collaboratively toward the prevention of homelessness and the creation of lasting solutions for homeless and at-risk families, children, and individuals throughout Colorado, including local U.S. Veterans.
Veterans are overrepresented among the homeless population. Nationally, approximately 16 percent of homeless populations are veterans, compared to 10 percent in the U.S. general (housed) population. In the Metropolitan Denver area, 11.5 percent of the population experiencing homelessness has served in the military. The Coalition responds to the unique needs of homeless veterans through its permanent supportive housing programs at their housing developments Civic Center Apartments and Beacon Place. In 2013 the Coalition provided housing, healthcare and/or support services to 750 veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Thirteen-thousand of these veterans are female, but the number is quickly rising. The number of homeless female veterans has doubled in the past ten years. Female veterans are up to four times as likely as their male counterparts to be younger, self-identify as a racial minority, have lower incomes, experience unemployment, and are more likely to become homeless.
The Coalition advocates for and provides a continuum of housing and a variety of services to improve the health, well-being and stability of those it serves. Since its founding, the organization has earned state and national recognition for its integrated healthcare, housing and service programs. The Coalition’s comprehensive approach addresses the causes of homelessness, as well as the consequences, offering critical assistance to over 15,000 individuals and families each year. They believe all people have the right to adequate housing and healthcare and work to remove the barriers that restrict access to these rights. Society benefits when adequate housing and healthcare are available to everyone. For more information or to donate, please visit their website www.coloradocoalition.org.
The Colorado Fallen Heroes Memorial will be built in Lincoln Park next to the Capitol to honor Colorado Veterans that gave their lives to protect our freedom during the 20th and 21st century military conflicts: War on Terrorism, Persian Gulf War, Vietnam War, Korean War, World War II and World War I. It will serve as a place of reflection, honor, tribute, and communal gathering for family members, friends, and fellow Colorado citizens of the fallen so that their sacrifice is never forgotten.
Located at the Colorado State Capitol and home of the The Colorado Veterans Monument, Lincoln Park was chosen as the site for The Colorado Fallen Heroes Memorial because it has become a gathering place for veterans of all branches, supporters, and those who want to honor and remember our veterans and the service they have given to our country.
In addition to The Colorado Veterans Monument, surrounding memorials include The Civil War Monument/Memorial, Civil War Cannons, Likens Drinking Fountain, Liberty Bell Replica, Joseph P. Martinez Statue, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address Plaque, and Irving Hall Plaque.
The Colorado Fallen Heroes Memorial will be erected in the middle of the existing Rose Garden and be positioned at the western edge of the Colorado Veterans Monument. The location will allow access to all four sides of the new Memorial.
The Memorial was authorized by Colorado Senate Bill 07-086 and signed into law by Governor Ritter on April 26, 2007. The Act created the Fallen Heroes Memorial Commission and charged the Commission with erecting a Memorial to commemorate the lives of Coloradans who died during specific military conflicts.
At approximately 15 feet long and standing approximately 7′-6” in height the Memorial will be constructed predominantly of red sandstone blocks from Lyons, Colorado to match the material of the existing Veterans Monument.
For more information about the Colorado Fallen Heroes Memorial or to donate, please visit their website coloradofallenheroesmemorial.org.
Helping Hands for Freedom (HHFF) provides a wide range of assistance and services for U.S. Veterans’ families. Their primary mission is to provide military children and families the financial assistance necessary when dealing with a family member lost, wounded, or serving multiple deployments in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. HHFF works to address the gaps in the military and government’s support for the immediate needs facing our service members, the wounded, their families and the families of the fatally wounded.
It can take months for a family to receive the death benefit and often this results in a relocation from base housing. HHFF steps in to help with basic expenses during their time of transition. They assist those severely wounded who need equipment or housing modifications as they adjust to new life circumstances, and also help the children with life enrichment programs, mentorship and counseling.
More than 2 million children have a parent who is in the military, and more than 48,000 have a parent that has been wounded or killed during the current conflicts. The period before and during a parent’s deployment can be quite stressful for a child. The fear of a parent being injured or even killed can be an ongoing worry. Other difficulties include separation anxiety and the adjustments that must be made when only one parent is home: additional responsibilities with household chores or helping to care for siblings.
When parents return from deployment, they are not always the same. Major injuries, such as the loss of a limb, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are life-altering and children often have a hard time understanding the reason for a significant change in the appearance, personality or behavior of a parent.
The children of our wounded service members, and those who lose a parent to war, suffer not only from the devastating loss of a parent and a life-changing home environment, but also from the absence of a significant contributor to their growth, development, and education. Children whose parents serve multiple deployments also face considerable change.
To these children facing such significant issues, caring mentors and proven leadership provide the vital support, encouragement, and inspiration to help them reach their goals in life. All HHFF programs for military children feature curriculum and structure focusing on learning and development skills; continuing education awareness; sports, fitness, nutrition and lifestyle; and lectures series.
For more information about Helping Hands for Freedom (HHFF) or to donate, please visit their website helpinghandsforfreedom.org.
Mountain Resource Center (MRC) mission is to provide high quality, integrated health and human services that improve the lives of people in the communities they serve. The Mountain Resource Center is a non-profit, community-based organization that delivers high quality, integrated health and human services within a 1000+ square mile rural mountain area. Serving a population of over 65,000 in Jefferson, Clear Creek and Park counties, MRC provides a single point of entry to connect clients with a range of services.
MRC is known for its Food Pantry, Resale Shop, Disaster Relief and onsite pediatric clinic in Conifer for uninsured and publicly insured families. In recent years, the breadth of Community Services has grown and MRC has expanded into new areas, including Family Education, Workforce Services and health navigators with Connect for Health Colorado training. In 2014, MRC expanded veteran support services.
Veteran Support Services in which MRC provides include assistance with housing – rent or mortgage; utilities – pellets; firewood, electric gas, and propane; health – prescriptions, co-pays, glasses and oral health; employment – job search, resume writing, interview skills, work clothes, transportation, equipment and supplies; and mental health.
MRC is also a member of the Mountain Community Veterans Coalition for all veterans and their families. Formed in January 2009, the goal of the coalition is to involve local groups and professionals in developing programs to address the needs of veterans in our rural area. The coalition meets at Mountain Resource Center every other month on the second Tuesday. Anyone is welcome to attend the meetings. In addition to MRC, members of the coalition include: Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12009, and Jefferson County Staff. Private psychotherapists, physicians, Rotarians and families of veterans also attend meetings.
The experienced, professional staff of the MRC helps individuals and families connect with the services they need to achieve their potential or weather temporary challenges and return to self-sufficiency. MRC delivers both free and fee-paid services and as needed partners with other groups who augment their on-staff expertise. MRC’s success is made possible through the generous donations of foundations and individuals as well as the volunteer support of almost 300 individuals providing more than 8,700 hours of service annually.
Founded in 1990 to provide services to meet the unique needs of people living in the foothills west of Denver, MRC has grown rapidly. The founders understood that the geography of poverty is distinctly different in its service area, exacerbated by isolation, severe weather conditions, scarcity of local jobs, insufficient low-income housing and limited public transportation. They continue to alleviate the effects of hidden poverty that touches the lives of residents in some of the most rugged and rustic areas in the state – reaching out to help people at all socio-economic levels when emergencies or unemployment create a crisis.
For more information about Mountain Resource Center or to donate, please visit their website www.mrcco.org.
Please stay tuned for Part 3 in this blog series for more information on non-profit organizations who help U.S. Veterans and their families.
Earlier this year, Veterans Passport to Hope, with the help of numerous donors and supporters, was able to award grants to 17 local non-profit organizations who enrich the lives of many U.S. Veterans and their families in the Greater Denver, Colorado region. These are the organizations who have benefited from Veterans Passport to Hope’s fund-raising efforts and events such as our annual golf tournament which is sponsored this year by Connecting People, and our annual gala.
In order for you to learn about these excellent organizations, here is the first of a series of five articles that provide you with more information and a description of who they are and the great things they do for veterans:
All Veterans Honor Guard are veterans who volunteer their time to recognize departed veterans and retirees with military honors at Ft. Logan National Cemetery and other local cemeteries.
They make sure the 21-gun salute is fired at all military funerals, and serve more than 1,000 funerals each year. An honor guard for a military funeral is seven members with rifles and an eighth member who gives the commands. They use M-1 Garand rifles to fire the 21-gun salute. The traditional military funeral includes a graveside service, followed by the 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps.”
There are All Veterans Honor Guard groups in Aurora, Littleton, Arvada, Castle Rock, Littleton and Lakewood, in addition to the Fort Logan group out of the Englewood-Sheridan area. The first veterans honor guard was started about 1993 and, by 1995, the demand for service was enough that additional honor guards were organized. The only requirement to be part of the honor guard is the individual be a veteran of military service and physically able to stand at attention or parade rest for the duration of the funeral. Volunteers live all over the metro area, including Denver, Longmont, Littleton and Elizabeth (contact them through their website www.allveteranshonorguard.org if you are interested in serving or donating).
The funerals are held in all kinds of weather, including when it is raining, snowing or in temperatures ranging from lows of about 6 degrees to summer days with temperatures in the high 90s or above.
The funds they receive are used to maintain and repair the weapons they use during the funeral ceremonies (which were manufactured in 1940’s) and to purchase uniform items for the volunteers. No one on the team receives any compensation, not even mileage. The team has no paid employees, 100% of donations go to the maintenance of the team.
The primary goal of the American Patriots History Association (APHA) is to identify and interview as many veterans and support personnel as possible who are willing to participate in the Veterans History Project (VHP), part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and the National Archives.
History needs to be written by those who were there so that it is not lost forever, and to educate our generation and generations to come; and most importantly, to honor those who served. When APAH conducts an interview, they share the stories with the media as a way to honor Colorado veterans; they use the interviews for educational programs and events; and they develop the stories for TV documentaries and historical lecture series. All interviewees receive a complimentary DVD copy of their interview.
The funds they receive enable APHA to acquire, preserve, and disseminate the military and political history of the United States through the individual and collective stories of the veterans and civilians who have served our country. If you have a story to tell or would like to donate to their cause, please contact them through their website www.americanpatriotshistory.org.
Angels of America’s Fallen is an organization that helps children (ages 18 and younger) of our fallen military and first responders develop into strong and successful adults by providing them positive mentoring and activities when they are at their most crucial developmental phase of life. They focus on filling a critical gap in the support provided to children of fallen military and first responders.
It is estimated there are over 350 children of our fallen in Colorado and Angels of America’s Fallen wishes to serve every one of them. They proactively assist the children during the most crucial developmental time between the loss of their parent and adulthood. They get them engaged in a healthy activity they choose as an outlet, with a coach or instructor who can provide additional adult guidance.
Angel of America’s Fallen directly covers all costs for positive activities to help the children stay on track as they develop into adults. Because each child is different, a broad range of activities are provided to present opportunities and support based on the unique needs and interests of each child. Included are team activities such as soccer, basketball, and football, as well as individual activities such as karate, piano, photography, or guitar.
ALL of our fallen are honored; those who fell in training, in combat, from illness while serving, and from invisible wounds after their service. The sacrifices they made are recognized, and the sacrifices their families continue to make every day. The organization believes we have an obligation to help the children of our fallen as they grow up without their parent. It’s an honor to get them involved in positive activities with a coach or instructor who can mentor them.
The vision of Angels of America’s Fallen is to walk alongside the children of our fallen when they need it most, while they are developing, regardless of the cause of their parent’s death. Many children fail to qualify for benefits, and fall through the cracks because of their parent’s cause of death or unit of assignment. Each child suffers regardless if their parent died in a combat zone, training accident, on the job illness, or from suicide as a result of the stress of their jobs. From the child’s perspective, the impact is the same, their parent is no longer there. No one can ever replace their lost parent, but we can be there for them. To donate please contact Angels of America’s Fallen through their website aoafallen.org.
The Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation (CASF) aims to bolster independence, improve self-confidence, elevate social interaction and enhance quality of life through organized team sports. CASF is for people of all ages throughout Colorado who have physical disabilities including spinal cord injuries, spina-bifida, amputations and cerebral palsy.
CASF manages, promotes and raises funds for adaptive team sports across the state of Colorado, including wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, wheelchair softball, wheelchair lacrosse, adaptive curling and power soccer, representing over 200 adult and junior athletes. Providing these services allows the athletes and coaches for the teams represented by CASF to focus on learning, playing and teaching their respective sports.
CASF athletes proudly represent the state of Colorado. Several CASF team members have gone on to play their sports at the highest international levels, competing for medals as members of Team USA at the Paralympic Games and other major international competitions.
The Warrior Avs Sled Hockey Team is a group of veterans who came together looking for an opportunity to participate in a sport together. As soldiers, these brave men and women worked together in a team environment to fight for our freedom. Now after their injuries they suffered in combat, they were looking for that same feeling. They wanted to band together as a team and compete to achieve a common goal, and they found that in Sled Hockey. To donate to CASF, please contact them through their website coloradoadaptivesports.org.
To this end, DAV (Disabled American Veterans) is hosting the RecruitMilitary All Veterans Career Fair for all area U.S. military veterans, as well as transitioning military personnel, members of the National Guard, Reserve members, and all spouses. This event is free.
The RecruitMilitary All Veterans Career Fair will be held on Thursday, August 27 between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm (1500 hours for those of us who know). It will be held at Sports Authority Field at Mile High (where our Denver Broncos play). To pre-register for this event, please visit the event page: RecruitMilitary.com/Denver
Many companies understand and appreciate the discipline, focus, motivation and work ethic instilled in people who have served in the military, and dozens have committed to attend with more being added in the weeks ahead. Some companies literally have hundreds of open positions. Below is the lineup of just some of the companies; for a complete list, click here.
If you are interested, please make sure to attend on Aug. 27, or spread the word to those who could benefit from this great event!
What: DAV RecruitMilitary All Veterans Career Fair
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
1701 Bryant Street
Denver, CO 80204
When: Thursday, August 27, 2015, 11 AM – 3 PM
See you there!
Saturday June 27th 2015 was Fit-Dependence Day. The area’s top Fitness Trainers came together to bring an amazing event in honor of our Veterans, and to celebrate our countries freedom. With all parts of the event free to register, all proceeds went to Veterans Passport to Hope to benefit veterans and their families.
The event consisted of an hour and forty-five minute group workout, followed by a 5K Fun Run OR a 5K Unbreakable Race that registrants could participate in. They also held a Warrior Challenge Competition that took place during the group workout.
During the unbreakable race participants carried sandbags for part of it, and went through fitness exercises every half mile including burpees, pull-ups, tire pulls and more. And this was done after a long group workout!
During the Warrior Challenge and the Unbreakable 5K Race people were give points for how they did. Overall awards were given for points scored during these challenges. First place was Jonathan Curran, second place was Jennifer Jones, and 3rd place was Jessica Knuth.
With 88 Participants this year they raised over $400 and spread awareness about helping our nation’s veterans.
Learn more about this year’s event at: http://www.fit-dependence-day.com/
Imagine this – dozens of golf balls flying through the air, having been dropped from a helicopter hovering over the putting green of the beautiful Fossil Trace Golf Course – and your number is on one (or more) of them!
Connecting People Inc. is sponsoring the “Caring Fore Community” Golf Tournament which is benefitting Veteran’s Passport To Hope on September 11, 2015. For those who can’t make it (or can), you can purchase one golf ball for $25, or five for $100, for a chance to win one of three vacation packages worth between $5,000 and $8,000!
If a golf ball with your number lands in the putting green hole, or is the closest to it, you can choose from one of three vacation packages – a Boston Brewery Tour; Monterey Golf Experience; or Cancun Paradise Vacation! You do not need to be present to win the prize.
To purchase golf balls for the Caring for Community Helicopter Golf Ball Drop 2015 Fundraiser, please visit http://www.mygolfballdrop.com/e/Veterans_Passport_to_Hope
Connecting People’s “Caring Fore Community” Golf Tournament 2015 Benefitting Veteran’s Passport to Hope
For those of you who appreciate a great round of golf, make sure to reserve your space in Connecting People’s “Caring Fore Community” Golf Tournament, which takes place at the Fossil Trace Golf Course on September 11, 2015, in Golden, Colorado. Connecting People has chosen Veteran’s Passport To Hope to benefit from the proceeds.
Not only will you be helping the mission of Veteran’s Passport To Hope of spreading awareness of veterans’ issues and supporting Colorado-based veteran friendly non-profits, but you will also enjoy a wonderful day of golf. Fossil Trace Golf Course (www.fossiltrace.com) is considered one the finest golf courses in Denver and all of Colorado. It was most recently named “Best Golf Course in Denver” for the second time by Westword Magazine.
The golf course opened in July of 2003, approximately 64-million years after the first dinosaurs walked where holes 11 through 15 now sit. Triceratops footprints, as well as other prehistoric creatures’ fossils can be viewed adjacent to the golf courses 12th green. Also, located just inside the main doors of the golf course clubhouse is an exhibit that details the rich history of the property and shares information about the dinosaur tracks and other impressive fossils uncovered on the golf course.
Event registration begins at 7:00 a.m. and includes a four-person scramble, silent auction, dinner and an awards reception following the tournament. Prices are $175 per individual golfer; $325 per twosome; and $625 per foursome. To register, visit http://www.caringforecommunity.com/
Stay the Course, when used in the context of war or battle, means to pursue the goal regardless of obstacles or criticism. We chose this as the theme of this year’s Veteran’s Passport To Hope 2015 Gala to remind veterans that no matter the obstacles they may face, or the criticisms they may come up against, continue to move forward in achieving their goals.
This year our main speaker, Daniel Riley (Pictured top left), encompasses this spirit. In late 2007 at age 22, Daniel enlisted in the Marine Corps as an Infantryman. At the Gala, Daniel will speak about his experiences and challenges. In his own words, here are some of the events he addresses about his background:
“After attending boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, California, I was stationed at my first duty station in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina with the 3rd Battalion/Ninth Marines. Shortly afterwards I was augmented to the 6th Marine Regiment and assigned to the Personal Security Detachment, and in 2008, was deployed to Iraq.
Once there I worked on providing security for the Regimental Commander. The deployment was relatively calm as the Iraq war was winding down. Returning to the States in Oct 2009, I was reassigned to the S3 as a clerk.
In August of 2010, I heard that the Marine Corps was asking for volunteers to go to Afghanistan as combat replacements, meaning volunteers would take over the position of a wounded/killed Marine. I volunteered and within a week was on a plane to Afghanistan.
While in Afghanistan I was out on a small patrol base, no electricity or running water with the only contact to outside world snail mail and occasional satellite phone calls. Every day we performed foot patrols and security operations. This was a tough and dangerous environment, but the men with me were the best.
On December 16, 2010 I stepped on an IED and instantly lost both legs above the knee, and part of my left hand, as well as numerous internal injuries. Thankfully my Marines and especially my Corpsman were well trained and great at their job. They got me stabilized quickly and a medivac helicopter on the way. From the field I was airlifted to a trauma hospital in Afghanistan, and then sent to Germany. After many surgeries I was flown to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.”
From there he was stabilized and eventually released from ICU, however his battle in living life as a veteran was only just beginning. Daniel endured rehab, 20 some-odd surgeries, physical therapy and eventually prosthetics. While at the hospital he was introduced to adaptive sports and got involved with many of them including surfing, cycling, running, and triathlons.
“However, one sport in particular was where I found my passion: Skiing. In 2012 I went out to Vail and participated in one of Vail Veterans Program’s (VVP) events. There I learned how to mono-ski and fell in love. The sport in many ways became my continued therapy and rehab. Being in Vail that January changed my outlook and reenergized me into living my life again not just surviving. Sept 2012, I was medically retired from the Marine Corps as a Corporal and returned to Colorado. At that time VVP asked me to be on their Board of Directors, a position I gladly accepted.
It gives me the ability to share a great program and outdoor recreation with my peers, who are other injured veterans. Sports and the outdoors have become my passion and I believe that they are crucial in the recovery and rehabilitation of service members returning with combat injuries (physical or invisible).”
“The military gives you a purpose, a drive, something definitive to work for. Once you get out, that is lost. You have to find it in the real world, find your passion. Whether that is sports, arts, school, or a job. It doesn’t matter what it is: find the one the thing gets you excited to wake up in the morning. Discover it and then make it your mission. The military instills the ability to accomplish the mission.”
We invite you to join us at this year’s Gala, to be inspired by Daniel and support all veterans, encouraging them to “Stay the Course”. Table sponsorships are currently available! Tickets for this event will be available very soon. Stayed tuned to our website and connect with us on social media! If you are interested in donating a silent auction item for this event or purchasing tickets for a veteran plus one guest to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow! What a wonderful night!
A big thanks goes out to the many, generous donors who made tonight (6/10/2015) possible. $150,000.00 in cash (well,… actually, checks) were awarded to multiple Colorado based non-profits that provide direct services to our Veterans and their wonderfully supportive families. Nights like tonight, the momentum that shifts forward in many of these organizations, and the impact that is felt in our community is because of those who support us in our mission to create awareness, raise funds, and increase cooperation among like minded non-profits. This is a testament to the incredibly supporitve community in Colorado that stands behind their veterans!
Well… since we are $150,000.00 lighter in the pockets tonight, please, be sure to check out our
Thanks everyone, for everything!
– #VP2H –
Freedom Service Dogs of America, one of the leading canine service training organizations in the country and accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI), is located in Englewood, Colorado. They have been around for 27 years helping people with a variety of disabilities – those who suffer from certain diseases or a lack of mobility, to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
In early 2009, Freedom Service Dogs (FSD) launched Operation Freedom, a focused initiative identifying deserving disabled veterans and matching them with a trained service dog companion. FSD provides service dogs to veterans suffering impairments from any conflict over the last several decades. The dogs provided from FSD have made a positive impact to the lives of dozens of people throughout the years.
FSD is truly a unique organization. All of the service dogs in the program are rescued from shelters. They are selected based on physical attributes including health and vision, as well as behavioral characteristics.
These dogs who come from shelters across several states and haven’t been previously adopted are essentially given a second chance to be specially trained for a unique and vital service. What makes FSD even more special is that if a dog ends up not being a perfect candidate for the program and doesn’t complete the training, the organization has set up a special adoption service to find permanent homes for them (applications are available on FSD’s website).
Dogs are assessed to match their personalities and capabilities with each person accepted into the program, and then custom-trained to fit that person’s needs. They are trained by experts using positive reinforcements such as treats, and “clickers” which produce a noise the dogs respond to. It costs more than $25,000 for FSD to rescue, house, feed, and train each dog, as well as re-certify each dog annually, but recipients are never charged. FSD is a non-profit organization which operates solely on donations and charitable giving. They also hold several events throughout the year to help raise funds.
The waiting list for a Freedom Service Dog is between a year-to-a year-and-a-half or longer, depending on how long it takes to find the right dog and train him or her. For example, dogs who need to provide brace and balance for a person with a mobility disability must be on the large side and possess strong hips as well as have a suitable temperament and be trainable.
The difference made to the lives of each person who receives a dog is spectacular. Many of the veterans in the program have experienced combat and have survived an improvised explosive device (IED) while deployed during the war.
Many of these veterans require assistance doing everyday tasks most of us take for granted. If the veteran is mobility-disabled, certain dogs can provide balance and support including assisting someone to and from a wheelchair, and are also trained to fetch and carry items and retrieve dropped objects. FSD dogs are trained to recognize up to 50 commands including opening doors, pushing a 911 or lifeline button, finding and retrieving a phone, getting items from a refrigerator, pulling laundry out of the dryer, and much more.
FSD is also one of the few organizations who train and provide dogs for veterans with PTSD. Many of the veterans who have PTSD experience anxiety and nervousness of their surroundings due to the extremely dangerous situations they endured while deployed – situations that the majority of us will never experience firsthand.
These veterans see the world in a different way, and may understandably have difficulty leaving their homes. The aid and companionship their dog gives provides the support and confidence they need to be more independent. Veterans who suffer from PTSD may not be comfortable entering buildings alone, even their own home, and their dogs are trained to complete a sweep of the house to make sure no one is there, entering each room and turning on all the lights. Dogs are also trained to assist veterans experiencing night terrors by recognizing the symptoms and pressing against him or her so they feel they are not alone.
Often, veterans with PTSD do not feel secure in areas with many people. FSD trains these dogs to complete a perimeter around the veteran (called block and post). This provides tremendous emotional and psychological support to help veterans adjust to normal life with their family and the community. The close bond formed between dog and veteran is unparalleled – they know the dog is there for them.
If you would like to learn more about Freedom Service Dogs, please visit their website at freedomservicedogs.org. If you would like to donate to their cause, please visit https://freedomservicedogs.org/donate/, or for volunteering, please visit https://freedomservicedogs.org/volunteer/. Should this program sound like it could help you, please visit https://freedomservicedogs.org/our-dogs/apply-for-a-dog/ to complete and submit an application.
June is PTSD Awareness Month.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone goes through, sees, or learns about a traumatic event, like combat, terrorist attacks, serious car accidents and many other physically, psychologically and emotionally painful events. Going through a trauma is not rare. In fact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that of the population in the U.S., 60% of men and 50% of women have experienced a trauma, and 7-8% of them will have PTSD sometime during their lifetime.
While this is a relatively small proportion of the population of the United States who experience PTSD, military personnel are at a much higher risk due to their exposure to many dangerous situations.
The number of veterans with PTSD varies by service era:
In addition to exposure to combat and witnessing the death of another person, PTSD can also be caused by sexual trauma. Fifty-five percent of female veterans and thirty-eight percent of male veterans who use VA healthcare report experiencing sexual harassment while in the military.
It is normal to have many different reactions after a traumatic event, and much of the symptoms of PTSD can diminish over time. If any the symptoms listed below do last longer than three months, cause you great distress, or disrupt your work or home life, you should seek help:
To learn more about PTSD, diagnosing it, and effective treatments, the VA has provided a guide entitled Understanding PTSD. You can also visit the Colorado Resource Portal for Veterans on the Veteran’s Passport to Hope website to learn more about organizations that offer help.
Veterans Passport to Hope works to raise awareness and support for Colorado veterans through collaboration and fundraising. Learn more about getting involved and sponsoring our upcoming 2015 Gala themed “Stay the Course” where we will be encouraging our veterans to accomplish their goals, no matter the challenges they face. Tables are available for sponsoring and tickets will be available soon!
What better way to honor our U.S. military veteran’s legacy and what better venue to host our Veteran’s Passport to Hope 2015 Gala than the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver, Colorado on November 11th?
The museum is the pride and joy of Coloradoans as well as people from around the U.S. and the world who are thrilled to get an inside view of our rich aeronautical heritage and see historical aircrafts up close and personal.
The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum is the Official Air and Space Museum of the State of Colorado as designated by the Colorado State Legislature, as well as the site of the Colorado Aviation Historical Society. It features aircrafts and vehicles that were used by our military and space exploration missions, and is listed as one of the top attractions for tourists to see when they visit Denver; it should be on everyone’s bucket list. It features more than four dozen historical aircraft and space vehicles, as well as additional exhibits including a display of military uniforms and artifacts, and a history of avionics.
The museum is located on the grounds of the former Lowry Air Force Base which closed in 1991. Opening Day of the Wings Over the Rockies occurred on December 1, 1994, with this day being significant in that it was the 100th birthday of Francis Lowry for whom the base was named.
Francis Lowry had been commissioned in the Coast Artillery Reserve Corps in 1917. Shortly afterward, he volunteered for the Aviation Section and was trained as an aerial observer and assigned to the 91st Observation Squadron. On September 26, 1918 on a dangerous photographic mission he was leading, as his formation crossed enemy lines, a German anti-aircraft battery opened fire and he was killed instantly. Lowry was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum is housed within the 40,000 square foot historic Hangar #1 that was built in 1939. Museum exhibits cover the years from World War I up through the space age, and include such items as an Apollo Command Module replica used by NASA to train astronauts for the Apollo moon missions. Except for the B-52 which is located in front of the museum door in a place of honor, all crafts are displayed indoors in a climate-controlled environment.
The history of the actual museum location is also steeped in important military relevance. Hangar #1 was one of the first buildings constructed on the Army airfield at the time when the first unpaved runway became operational at Lowry Field in 1938.
Between 1938 and 1948, Lowry Field was used as a training base for the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) during World War II, than later for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in 1947 and through the Cold War. Lowry Air Force Base, as it was later renamed, also served as the initial site of the U.S. Air Force Academy between 1955 and 1958.
Another organization which calls Hangar #1 home is the Colorado Air Heritage Museum which has exhibits displaying the long history of the Colorado Air National Guard. It is sponsored by the Colorado Air National Guard Air Heritage Committee and served by retired Guardsmen and volunteers.
Aircrafts on display at Hangar #1 include a Grumman F-14A Tomcat (made famous by the movie Top Gun). It was built to protect an aircraft carrier battle group, and could engage targets as far as 100 miles away. Other aircraft include a Vought A-7 Corsair II, which was developed as a light attack aircraft to replace the A-4 Skyhawk. The Corsair II was used extensively by the Air National Guard. It was an efficient and quiet airplane due to its turbofan engine.
Also included in the collection is a Douglas B-18A Bolo from 1938. The Bolo was employed as an anti-submarine patrol plane on the east coast of the U.S. and in the Caribbean area, where it pioneered the use of Airborne Surface Vessel detection radar. The B-18s patrolled the Panama Canal Zone and served in the defense of Alaska against Japanese invasion forces.
In addition to the aircraft on display, other exhibits of historical significance include the Lafayette Foundation collection of World War I uniforms and memorabilia, and the Jill Haltom Smith “Dressed for Duty” collection of Women in Uniform.
Save the date and make sure to come to the Veteran’s Passport to Hope 2015 Gala to experience this wonderful museum first hand, and to meet with veterans and learn more about their lives. And most importantly, to honor them and their sacrifices for our country. There will be live entertainment, great food and drink, a live auction and enlightening speakers. Proceeds will be given to local veteran non-profit organizations to assist them in their missions to help make life better for Colorado’s veterans.
Picture provided by Vera Yu and David Li here
‘We’ve talked about the effects homelessness can have and about how cities across the nation are working to reduce and eliminate veteran homelessness across the nation. Now that it’s been a little over a year since First Lady Michelle Obama challenged mayors across the nation to end veteran homelessness, there are a few success stories we think are important to highlight.
Recently, New Orleans became the first city in the U.S. to find permanent housing for all of its homeless veterans. According to city officials there were several key aspects that helped them to accomplish this including leadership, collaboration, and access to affordable housing. Mayor Mitch Landrieu had a dedicated staff person who engaged with him daily, focusing on specific challenges being identified and pursued.
Their first task was to identify and locate each homeless veteran in the city. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) there were nearly 200 homeless veterans in New Orleans in July of 2014. Using that information as a starting point, experienced outreach teams combed the streets of the city to reach each homeless veteran. They organized a five-night push with approximately 150 active duty military personnel and veterans joining the effort to systematically contact and engage every homeless veteran in the city.
Central to their success was the coordination and collaboration of public and private partners at local, state and federal levels. Sixty-three partner agencies that are part of the Continuum of Care including the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, Housing Authority of New Orleans, Downtown Development District, Department of Veteran Affairs, Department for Housing and Urban Development, and many other organizations pitched in to help. By December 2014 New Orleans had found permanent housing for 227 homeless veterans, more than originally estimated by HUD.
New Orleans didn’t stop once they reached that number either. “Veteran homelessness is an important and challenging issue… but the work of ending veteran homelessness is never really done,” Mayor Landrieu said when speaking about the new rapid-response model they put into place to help find permanent housing for all future veterans that find themselves homeless. “It is a model that combines all available local, state, and federal resources with the work of our local active duty and former military personnel – utilizing veterans to help veterans. “
Both Phoenix and Salt Lake City have claimed to end chronic homelessness among veterans as well. Next week we are going to discuss some of the things cities in Colorado are doing as a part of the 25 Cities Initiative and their fight to end veteran homelessness. Homelessness is only one of the many issues that veterans face. If you or a loved one needs assistance, there are many organizations listed in the Veterans Resource Portal that can help.
Thank you for your continued support,