VMLC 2022 Annual Report

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Helping Veterans Avoid Crisis
2022 Annual Report Veterans

Mission Statement

To provide a forum for community leaders to advocate for initiatives that enhance the quality of Veteran healthcare and services, and to assist Arizona Veterans in crises that fall outside state and federal funding guidelines.

2022 Impact

$475,395 total distribution

$10,000 in gift cards

437 Veterans and families helped $4M+ raised and dispersed since inception

$2,300 average support per veteran

75% of funding goes to housing


Bridging the Gap for Arizona Veterans

The Veteran’s Medical Leadership Council (VMLC) and VMLC Charities provide a safety net for Veterans facing challenging and potentially dire situations due to circumstances beyond their control. They may find themselves temporarily unable to pay their rent or mortgage, raising fears of homelessness. They may not be able to pay their utility bill, phone bill or internet provider, making it difficult to apply or interview for a job. They may not be able to make a car payment or afford a repair, which can affect their employment and ability to get where they need to be. They may be overwhelmed by a stressful situation or an ongoing health challenge. There are many scenarios at play.

With the support of individuals, organizations and companies in the communities we serve, VMLC works with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help Veterans who need a hand up in times of hardship. We bridge the gap so they can remain housed, employed, self-sufficient and in good health. Our work is currently centered on helping Veterans in Central Arizona and on the Navajo Nation, and on raising awareness within the Veteran community about

the mental health assistance available to them through Boulder Crest Foundation. We are actively planning to expand our outreach to Veterans statewide. As well, we are providing counsel and expertise to those in other states seeking to replicate our programs locally.

On behalf of the VMLC, I’d like to thank our supporters for your donations throughout the year. You are truly a lifeline for many of our Veterans. Your contributions enable us to continue our work helping those on the verge of losing their homes, jobs, families, and in particularly troubling circumstances, even their lives.

We will continue to amplify our programs and successes through public relations, social media and our online presence, and we invite you to share our stories throughout your own social circles. The VMLC board of directors remains incredibly active in providing guidance and committing their time to community and corporate outreach. The army of people who attended our 20th Annual Heroes Patriotic Luncheon—close to 700 caring volunteers and financial supporters—made evident just how important these efforts are to you and to our Veterans.


Our goal for 2023 is simple: work hard to tell our story to increase donations and provide a vital bridge of support to even more Veterans and their families in the coming years. We have been told that $50,000 per month will enable us to accomplish our mission, and we look forward to your continued support.

Thank you for caring. God Bless Our Veterans.



2022 Impact

Returning Warrior - $325,395

Native America Sustainability for Veterans and Those in Uniform (NASVU) - $100,000

Mental Health - $50,000

Total Distribution - $475,395


When it comes to Veterans in need in Arizona, we are just scratching the surface. In the Phoenix area alone, the Phoenix VA Medical Center estimates that there are 400+ Veterans seeking assistance such as that provided by VMLC. We were able to help 195, just shy of half. Our aim is to assist 100% of the Veterans we serve. We are working toward achieving that goal every day but can only do so with your help.


2023 Goals –Arizona

• Increase annual donations to $750,000 to fully support VA Medical Center social programs

• Lay the groundwork for expansion into Southern Arizona to support the Tucson VA Medical Center

• Continue to focus on alternative therapies to assist with Veterans’ mental health

• Boost awareness of VMLC’s impact on the Veteran community

Veterans by Era of Service WWII - 1 Korea - 3 Vietnam - 34 Gulf War - 54 Afghanistan - 19
4 Iraq - 27 IRAQ post Sept. 2010-2011 - 1 Peacetime - 57 Not Indicated - 1

“Financial assistance from VMLC was enough to have the Veteran placed in a safe group home until he received assistance in applying for aid.”

– VA Social Worker

“VMLC was able to assist a Veteran and his family with past-due bill payments after his wife lost her job and he was struggling with mental health issues.”

– VA Social Worker

“VMLC was able to assist a Veteran and their family with utility bills and mortgage payments after they were displaced by a house fire.”

– VA Social Worker

How long does it take for a Veteran to receive funds?

Once approved, checks are mailed within a few days directly to the service provider (e.g., landlord) or organization owed the debt. Checks are never sent directly to Veterans.

Can a Veteran approach the VMLC for assistance directly?

No. Veterans are referred to us by VA social workers who have confirmed their Veteran status and assessed their needs.

Are there organizations in other states that are similar to VMLC?

We are assisting Veterans in Georgia and Oregon in their efforts to develop similar programs in their communities.

What type of in-kind support are you seeking?

We are open to all types of support that will assist Veterans in alignment with our mission. In addition to cash donations and gift cards, support has included transportation assistance, job training and logistics expertise, as well as tangible items such as medical supplies, solar refrigerators, potable water storage containers, clothing and toys.


For the second year in a row, VMLC received a $7,500 Season for Sharing grant from The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com, helping prevent 5 Arizona Veterans and their families from becoming homeless.

Averting Crisis Through Housing Assistance

A Bridge for Those in a Time of Need

The housing crisis for Veterans and their families has been exacerbated by rising home values, mortgage rates and rental costs in Arizona. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2021 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, between January 2020 and January 2021, the number of Veterans in homeless shelters in Arizona increased by 10%. Many more found themselves unhoused, living in makeshift shelters or cycling through temporary arrangements with others.

There is good news. The latest AHAR report found that the number of Veterans experiencing homelessness decreased by 11% nationwide in 2022. That said, the report’s point-in-time data estimated that on a single night in 2022, roughly 33,129 Veterans were unhoused. In Arizona, the number was 857. Vulnerable servicemen and servicewomen—whether already homeless or in danger of becoming so—are still very much in need of financial assistance to stabilize their living situations.

That’s where VMLC comes in. We provide a financial bridge for those that find themselves temporarily unable to cover housing costs. VMLC disperses 75% of its funds annually to Veterans and their families seeking housing assistance.


Returning Warrior Program

A Bridge for Those Reacclimating to Civilian Life

The Returning Warrior Program was established in 2009 to financially assist Veterans transitioning back into the civilian community who are having difficulty meeting basic needs. We have since opened the program to all Veterans regardless of their status. Veterans partner directly with VA social workers to ensure they are receiving all the benefits available to them. Social workers then refer Veterans to VMLC for assistance as appropriate.

$325,395 Total Distribution

13% Increase vs. 2021

$1,538 Average Support Per Veteran

75% Of Funding Goes to Housing

195 Veterans and Families Helped


Veteran Demographics - Q3 and Q4 CY2022

American Indian or Alaska Native - 2

Black or African American - 19

2 or More Ethnicities - 3

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander - 2

Assistance for Veterans

Housing - $229,361

Utilities - $24,847

Hispanic or Latino - 11 White - 38

Undetermined - 1

Not disclosed - 6

Transportation - $48,344

Other - $3,444

VMLC generally approves requests for:

Rent and mortgage assistance

Utility payments

Auto repair


Transportation Clothing


$100,000 Total Distribution

5,000+ Lives Impacted

Improving Lives on the Navajo Nation

A Bridge for Indigenous Veterans

VMLC coordinates with Indigenous Veterans and their families to assist with essential living assistance for water, power and housing. The program was established in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That initial outreach, supported by MD Helicopters and Jack Travis Trucking, resulted in the delivery of:

• 1,600 300-gallon water tanks for Navajo Veterans and their families who lack running water

• 52 helicopter loads of personal protective equipment (PPE), chainsaws for cutting home heating firewood, and toys for Veterans’ children and grandchildren at Christmas

• 14 solar refrigerators for insulin-dependent Veterans who lack the electricity required to keep their life-sustaining medicine at the proper temperature; we are planning to deliver at least 30 additional solar refrigerators in 2023


As part of its work with VMLC to deliver solar-powered refrigerators to Veterans in need on the Navajo Nation, the U.S. Department of Labor trained a team of Indigenous women to install the systems, giving them valuable skills they can use on and off tribal lands.



USAA has pledged a $75,000 grant for the purchase, distribution and installation of lifesaving solar refrigerators for Veterans on the Navajo Nation in 2023.


Pete Tsinnijinnie was a one-man army throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He volunteered thousands of hours coordinating nonprofit efforts on and off tribal lands and put more than 100,000 miles on his vehicle to ensure Veterans and Gold Star families could safely make it through the healthcare crisis. A tireless advocate for the Veteran community on the Navajo Nation, he is the Commander of the Chinle Chapter of the Veterans Organization and the Central Navajo Veterans Organization, which comprises 16 chapter organizations. We have nominated Tsinnijinnie to the prestigious Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame for his service on behalf of his fellow Navajo and VMLC.


Chainsaws to replenish winter firewood. Tanks for a reliable water source. Personal protective equipment and solar-powered refrigerators to keep people healthy. Toys to put smiles on young faces during the holidays. Your donations to the VMLC have an incredibly positive impact on the lives of Navajo Veterans. Watch the video to learn more.


Caring for the Mental Health of Our Veterans

A Bridge to Innovative Treatment

The Boulder Crest Foundation is a leader in advancing the science behind recovery from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress (PTS).

Founded by University of North Carolina Charlotte psychologists Dr. Richard Tedeschi and Dr. Lawrence Calhoun and based on decades of groundbreaking research, Boulder Crest’s innovative Warrior PATTH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes) methodology is used to treat PTS symptoms and combat-related stress and anxiety. In addition to Veterans, the foundation assists first responders and their families in their recovery.

Initially, VMLC provided vital financial assistance to the mental health program, bridging the gap as state and federal government programs were being developed to support it. The VA and State of Arizona have since funded Boulder Crest, and we have shifted our attention to raising awareness about this groundbreaking mental health program among the Veteran community.

VA mental health providers can refer Veterans in need to Boulder Crest programs in Arizona, Virginia and, through its mobile training teams, other states nationwide.

Learn more about the work of Boulder Crest Foundation and its positive impact on the lives of Veterans.

“This generation’s Agent Orange is traumatic brain injury and PTS. For them, there are no battlefields. No front lines. Recently, enemies of the U.S. have used asymmetrical warfare, drones and IEDs to inflict maximum damage. Our Warriors return to civilian life with double the rate of post-traumatic stress than the general population—and veterans with traumatic brain injuries are three times more likely to commit suicide than their civilian counterparts. VMLC is committed to helping today’s Veterans recover, and Boulder Crest is a lifeline for many.”

“I felt so alone in my struggles and truly broken. But my biggest takeaway from the Warrior PATHH program: I’m not alone, and I’m not broken. I learned how to transform my trauma from my military and law enforcement careers into strength and growth, so I can thrive in life. I’m committed to going home and creating a deep connection with my wife, my children, and my grandchildren.”


Honoring Veterans and Supporters at the 20th Annual VMLC Heroes Patriotic Luncheon


Our next luncheon is November 2, 2023, at the Arizona Bilmore.

At our 20th Annual Heroes Patriotic Luncheon, we were able to honor 6 outstanding heroes. (Left to right) Arthur Agosta, USN, Korea; Wayne Snider, USMC, Vietnam; Dale Glendenning, US Army, World War II; Kiamesha Guy, USN, Iraq/Afghanistan; Sean Stoddard, US Army and National Guard, Iraq; Lee Huff, civilian, Patriot Award.

Medal of Honor recipient Major

(US Army, retired), did not disappoint as the guest speaker at this year’s luncheon. He flew more than 2,000 combat missions and evacuated more than 5,000 wounded over during his two tours in Vietnam.

Luncheon attendee Colonel Bruce Crandall received the Medal of Honor for actions at LZ-Xray, which was depicted in the Mel Gibson movie, “We Were Soldiers Once.” Bruce was played by actor Greg Kinnear.

One of VMLC’s good friends and ardent supporters, Jack Holder, passed away in early 2023 at 101 years old. The Pearl Harbor survivor always attracted a crowd of well-wishers, including the Cowgirls Historical Foundation.

The women who supported the war effort as real-life “Rosie the Riveters” during World War II are always a welcome sight at the VMLC luncheon.

General Patrick Henry Brady The Tom Browning Community Award was accepted by Patrick Fitzhugh on behalf of USAA for their support of our solar project for Navajo Veterans at our 2022 Luncheon. Their team of supporters joined Patrick for a photo. Thank you to Joel Barthelemy, CEO of Global Med and a VMLC ambassador, for highlighting VMLC in his interview with Paradise Valley City Lifestyle Magazine.

Learn more about our support for Arizona Veterans. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.


Helicopter Association International presented its 2022 Salute to Excellence

Humanitarian Award to MD Helicopters for conducting 52 volunteer rescue supply missions to the Navajo Nation. The MD Helicopters team, which offered exceptional support in terms of volunteer time, pilots, fuel and maintenance, flew missions weekly for more than a year, delivering more than 40,000 pounds of supplies and equipment.

VMLC presented George Ertel (left) with a gift of appreciation for his service to the organization. A founding member of VMLC, George was member of the organization for 23 years (19992022) and was instrumental in building it into the organization it is today. We wish him luck in his retirement and thank him for all his contributions!

Arizona PBS Cronkite News interviewed solar generator manufacturer New Use Energy (NUE) for their support of Navajo Nation Veterans. The VMLC team joined Tom Eisiminger at the Integrity Summit, where Jerry Colangelo presented him with an Integrity Award for his tireless efforts on behalf of VMLC and the Phoenix business community. Over 400 toys and gifts from the Maag Toy Foundation filled a sleigh (aka van) for a trip to Chinle, Arizona. Santa’s Helper Bob Dalpe met Helper Pete on the Navajo Nation to deliver the gifts, along with food donated for the holidays. Brian Collet, Scott LaPoint, Curtis Smith, Sarah Nicholas, Tom Eisiminger (VMLC), Rich Gohl and Melissa Moreno present a $2,500 grant from the SUNDT Foundation to VMLC. All are Veterans and SUNDT employees.

Primary Donors

Eisiminger Family Foundation

VMLC Board Members

Tom Eisiminger President US Army

Dave Rosenfeld 1st Vice President US Army

Bob Dalpe 2nd Vice President US Air Force

Jake Gregory Treasurer US Marine Corps

Vanessa Robinson Secretary US Air Force

Sam Young Past President US Air Force

VMLC Council

George Bliss US Air Force

Aaron Bohannon US Army

Arni Cook US Army

Dave English US Marine Corps

Kiamesha Guy US Navy

Michael Jackson US Air Force

Gordon James US Army

Jim Kasselman US Marine Corps

Abe McCann US Army

Mike Milliken US Army

Cynthia Vargas US Marine Corps

Bill Ward US Army


Dr. Danita Applewhite US Army

George Ertel US Army

Dr. Leonard Kirschner US Air Force

Thom Meaker US Marine Corps

Gregg Ostro US Army

Pete Reiniger US Navy

John Rivers US Army

Lea Seago US Army


Dennis McComb

A World Without Disparity of Care™

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