June 2021 Newsletter
Women Veterans Alliance Connects our Female Veterans
Women Veterans Alliance Founder and proud Navy Veteran Melissa A. Washington wants to help our female veterans connect with opportunities to bring together women who have served for fun and fellowship and even to help those who are currently serving. Read more…
You could say service is in her blood. In her teen years, Melissa had a dream of training for a career focused on early childhood development but found the call to serve too irresistible to ignore. Enlisting in the Navy at 18, Melissa followed in the footsteps of her father, a decorated Vietnam Veteran, and her grandfather a WWII Army Air Corps/Air Force Veteran, who served in the 509th Bomb Wing with 37 missions over Germany.
In the early to mid ‘90’s Melissa served for three years of active-duty service on both the USS Grapple out of Little Creek, Virginia and the USS Acadia, a Yellowstone class destroyer tender out of San Diego. Following her active-duty service, Melissa spent 5 years in the reserves.
Melissa knows what it means to serve, and she also knows what it feels like to be the spouse left at home to helm the ship. Just one short month after retiring from the service, the newly married Melissa had to sit by and watch her spouse deploy. Melissa knew the challenges faced by dual service member families so she decided to take a different path in the civilian sector. Jerrod, her husband would stay in the Marines for 21 years and deploy multiple times including combat missions during Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Melissa often felt a bit like a fish out of water with the other military spouses since most had not served and didn’t quite know how Melissa felt as a female veteran. Women veterans are underserved and often unrecognized as they seek to find their place beyond the service. According to Melissa, women veterans are “essentially a community within a community.”
Following her time in the Navy, Melissa went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in business management. After years spent in corporate America, Melissa found herself drawn back to her military roots and eventually founded Women Veteran Alliance and Women Veteran Giving. Both entities offer women veterans opportunities to gain valuable career experience and successfully integrate back into civilian life. WVG also helps fund women veteran-owned businesses, which are often overlooked by other organizations.
This year WVA will host its 6th Unconference, this year in Las Vegas, with speakers, events and activities to help connect and celebrate female veterans.
“Women veterans face unique challenges in recognition. Once you are out of the uniform, you can become essentialy invisible. Feeling and being connected is so important in successfully transitioning to civilian life,” states Melissa.
Volunteer opportunities are important ways our woman veterans can give back and come together with other female veterans. Scott Raab, our Outreach Director was able to connect with Melissa, and she arranged for Scott to take part in a Sacramento Kings dinner with a Veteran which took place virtually earlier this year. Scott also knows Melissa and some of her WVA members are available to volunteer at MAF to help pack and ship troop care packages and Melissa is looking forward to the opportunity.
If you would like more information about joining the Women Veterans Alliance or their mission check them out at https://www.womenveteransalliance.org
Kellogg’s Tiger Paws Jumbo Snax Treats make Snack Time Great!
Remember sticking your hand into a box of your favorite box of breakfast cereal and enjoying a crunchy snack right out of your sugar-dusted fist? Kellogg’s Tiger Paws Jumbo Snax mix makes it easy for our troops to enjoy the classic taste of Frosted Flakes in a snack-sized bag on the go. Read more…
No need for milk, Kellogg’s Tiger Paws jumbo snax transforms the childhood favorite flavor of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes into a puffy, crunch cereal snack bite inspired by beloved Tony the Tiger who knows our troops will think these treats are just, well… Great!!
We are always seeking out new products to include in our troop care packages that will travel well, are convenient and lightweight for our brave young men and women to easily carry around, and will stay fresh while providing the troops with a reminder of home.
We are delighted to add Kellogg’s Tiger Paws to our current care package offerings. What better way to bring back fond memories of home than a crisp treat that our troops will love finding among the many other special items packed with care by our amazing volunteers and brought to them courtesy of loving and dedicated sponsors who want to remind our troops that they have not been forgotten and that they too are GREAT!
Haven’t sent a care package for a while? Now might be a great opportunity to send one with your personal message of support and sought after items like gourmet coffee, Jelly Bellies, beef jerky, Gatorade, cushy boot socks and more, even a bag of crunchy, munchy Kellogg’s Tiger Paws.
Troopathon 14 to Premiers July 4th Weekend on Newsmax
We are so excited to announce the premier of our all-new Troopathon 14 broadcast featuring our amazing hosts, guests and most importantly our brave American soldiers coming to you July 4th weekend on Newsmax TV. We can’t wait to have you tune in! Read more…
Tune into our special Independence Day weekend broadcast of Troopathon 14 premiering on Friday July 2, 1:00 p.m. EST. on Newsmax TV to catch some amazing coverage featuring Jessie Jane Duff, Mark Levin, Normandy survivor Irving Locker, Diamond & Silk and more! We will also be airing encore broadcasts on Saturday July 3, 11:00 a.m. EST., Sunday July 4, at noon EST., and again on Monday July 5, 1:00 p.m. EST. so don’t miss out!
Move America Forward founder and chairwoman Melanie Morgan once again joins us to host along with national media legend Rita Cosby, Rita is an Emmy award winning television journalist, WABC Radio Host and NYT Best-Selling author.
Troopathon is our annual month-long Care Package drive that culminates in a T.V. and web broadcast where we will be interviewing some of your favorite pro-troop celebrities, movie stars, radio personalities, and military experts. The goal is to the largest single shipment of care packages to our troops this year, and with your help, we know we will be a big success and our deployed troops will benefit from all that love and support.
While there are many admirable groups supporting our veterans, we are one of the few organizations supporting active-duty troops deployed on the front lines of Afghanistan/Iraq, and in harm’s way around the world. Troopathon is the only telethon fundraiser to support the troops in the country.
Rita, Melanie and Newsmax anchor John Bachman will be interviewing some amazing guests as well as members of our very own military who will bring you their own personal stories of quiet heroism as they serve far from the comforts of home.
Care Packages sponsored through Troopathon are the easiest way to donate to the troops. No running to the store, no confusing customs forms and postal regulations. Simply donate with your credit card and MAF’s team of dedicated volunteers will send the care packages on your behalf. Remember, all donations are tax-deductible!
We are proud of the success we’ve had in fighting to make America an even greater nation. Unlike those who constantly criticize our great nation and our military men and women, we see a future where freedom and liberty create endless opportunities for Americans and our friends and allies in a more secure world.
Please join us our this very important broadcast as we salute, support, and highlight the pride of our nation: our American heroes in uniform.
Veterans’ Treatment Court offers a path forward for Justice involved Veterans
Move America Froward is proud to work with Sacramento County Veterans’ Treatment Court (VTC) an innovative approach to addressing justice involved veterans to help clean their record and get the treatment they deserve for post service life. VTC helps these veterans who find themselves in need and connects them with volunteering activities to give back to their communities. Read more…
Move America Forward is proud to work with VTC in offering volunteer opportunities and service hours to justice involved veterans though the Sacramento County VTC program. Recently we spoke with veteran Kevin Cadena who served as a Deputy Probation Officer for the Sacramento Probation Department and point person for the VTC.
I asked Kevin how he became involved in the VTC program.
“I had a supervisor that was on my initial hiring board when I started my probation career. She remembered my military background. I had served 26 years and retired from the US Army in 2014. My supervisor was in charge of street crime and drug cases on the the Collaborative Courts Unit. So she felt my military experience would make me a good candidate for the VTC program, so that ultimately led to her offering me this position and I have been here ever since.
During my time in the Army, I served multiple tours overseas, so most of the veterans I work with know I understand what they are dealing with and have experience in their boots.”
The VTC is a structured program running over a 12 month period broken down into four phases. According to officer Cadena, “The veterans that are accepted in VTC have the opportunity to make real changes through treatment and if they are successful they have the possibility to have the charges expunged and dismissed from their record. In a traditional program they most likely will not have their cases expunged or dismissed. Also, VTC is very treatment-oriented; our court would rather make a veteran do more treatment than time in jail.”
VTC has a great success rate with about 90% of the veterans who make it through the year-long program without re-offending, which is the positive outcome VTC is striving to achieve under a multi-disciplinary team consisting of Judge Lawrence Brown, District Attorney Chris Carlson, Public Defenders Addie Young and Jenny Stoneburner, Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist (VJO) Sarah Whitley, Mentor Coordinator Dale Wrigglesworth, and Probation Officer Cadena.
As a veteran himself, Cadena can relate to these veterans in a way many could not, ” I really enjoy working with the Veterans and witnessing the personal growth that many of the Veterans achieve throughout the program. I enjoy hearing from many of the former graduates just letting me know they are still doing well. I personally miss the military unit feel and this is like I get to be a platoon leader or company commander again.”
Kevin values the volunteer opportunities afforded to his charges through Move America Forward, “Sometimes I send veterans over to help pack the boxes just for them to give back. Other times it is court directed to provide a few community service hours. Most of these veterans know they have received these type of boxes with goodies and snacks while they were deployed. My thought is I would rather have them give back to the veteran population than to just pick up trash on the side of some county road.”
It makes us proud that we can play a small part in helping our veterans give back in a personally meaningful way.
“Most of my veterans have a great experience working with Scott Raab and the MAF team, and we try to help out anytime Scott needs help. I want my veterans out volunteering and getting out and interacting with others and just doing a good deed for others and MAF really helps out with this. I hope that I help our veterans when I sit and we discuss throughout the program how they can achieve their goals for a better future.”
“I would like to add that Scott, and Grandma D have always been very accommodating to all the individuals that I have sent to help out at MAF. All the individuals only have great things to say about Move America Forward.”
Our partnership with VTC is one of many that we are very proud of and because of the very dedicated and tireless work of these volunteers, our hand packed care packages reach all across the world to support combat troops currently serving in harms way.
Photo of the Month
Our volunteer Bob is all smiles as he packs his 1,000th box headed for our troops!