Vet's View (November 2022)

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During the Thanksgiving season, we often reflect on our many blessings. One of the most significant blessings for any American is the service and sacrifice of our Veterans. So, in this quarter’s Vet’s View, I wanted to highlight a brief history of Veterans Day. Veterans Day, observed annually on November 11 (originally known as Armistice Day), is a federal holiday when we honor all who have served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated around the world to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities of World War I formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Peace agreement with Germany went into effect. At the urging of major U.S. veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. Veterans Day is distinct from Memorial Day, in that Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day (celebrated each year in May) honors those who have died while serving in the military.

During this season, as we pause to acknowledge our blessings… let us all remember to also celebrate our Veterans as we continue to uplift each Veteran and honor their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice. God Bless!


Craig J. Knierim, USAF, Col (ret) Senior Vice President - Veteran Services

“I immediately thought of the benches at the memorial. The poster is a compilation of three different photographs of the Erie Veterans Memorial Park. The one on the bottom comes from the Vietnam memorial wall. The middle, the duty… honor…country, is engraved on the granite benches [near the wall]. I feel the hierarchy of the images symbolically flow well, the flag in the sun on the top, the bench in the middle, and the silhouettes of the service members supporting them from below.” - Briana Cummings, Poster Contest Winner

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We Are the Mighty is a Veteran-led digital publisher and Emmy-awardwinning media agency with the mission to engage with the military community. Recently, they acquired the Military Influencer Conference (MIC) – which was back and better than ever with “The Relaunch” from October 26 to 29 in Las Vegas. MIC is a hub for all things pertaining to military transition, entrepreneurship, social impact, entertainment, and culture. It’s a meetup of service members, Veterans, and spouses from around the world. WestCare’s Senior Vice President for Veteran Services, Colonel Craig J. Knierim, USAF, (ret) attended and noted the remarkable content and chance to network and discuss opportunities for collaboration with over 900 other attendees. In particular, Col. Knierim had the privilege of meeting one of We Are the Mighty’s “MIGHTY 25” changemakers – Rey and Sam Domingo. This dynamic couple are co-founders of LinkedInMilCity and The K.E.Y Mentors (Keep Elevating Yourself), which hosts workshops, panels, and presentations for the military community - linking Veterans and their families to resources and keeping them connected.

WestCare salutes We Are The Mighty and The KEY Mentor Group for their commitment to authentic, apolitical, and inspirational content about service as well as for their dedication to employing talented Veterans and their families.

Our Featured Spotlight The K.E.Y. Mentor Group was founded by Rey and Samantha Domingo, a proud Veteran and military spouse, in February 2021 with the dream to make a difference for the global military community during the height of the pandemic. The KEY Mentor Group has over 250+ vetted mentors from over 150+ companies. They offer a robust network of mentors spanning multiple industries and verticals ranging from entrylevel to CEO's. From corporate for-profits to military employment non-profits. From government and federal services to entrepreneurs of Veteran and military spouseowned businesses. Through The KEY Mentor Group, a mentee can seek guidance, employment, or moral support in every stage of their military or civilian career. The cost? Free! All that the Domingos ask is for the mentees to pay it forward, elevate, and lend a hand to those that follow behind. Over the past year, The KEY has continued to expand its footprint by adding additional services to the organization with a mission focused on the core vision of creating opportunities for connection, collaboration, and career elevation.

Uplifting the Human Spirit

The Need: SSVF For very low-income Veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) provides case management and supportive services to prevent the imminent loss of a home or identify a new and more suitable housing situation. SSVF also rapidly re-houses Veterans and their families if they are homeless and likely to remain homeless without assistance. SSVF operates off a set of three interrelated core concepts: housing first, crisis response, and choice. WestCare .

understands the unified philosophical framework well, and is pleased to have been a high-performing SSVF provider in three of our locations since our very first SSVF grant was awarded to San Joaquin Valley Veterans (SJVV) in Fresno, CA in 2010. Given our deep roots in the communities we serve, we are uniquely positioned to assist Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. This year, we have helped over 200 Veteran households across the country stabilize in permanent housing of their own. Just recently, our Fresno SSVF program was ranked in the top five nationally for successfully housing the most Veterans. Stay tuned for more updates on WestCare’s SSVF success stories!

Guam’s Veteran community has long struggled because of a lack of services “on-island” and Veterans often find themselves suffering through a domino effect of physical, emotional, and financial problems. All this despite the essential role that Guam plays in the nation’s armed forces – with one of the highest rates of enlistment in the United States. This is why WestCare Pacific Islands (WPI) is leading the way and recently co-hosted the 2022 Veterans Wellness Symposium with Transforming Ourselves through Healing Growth & Enrichment (TOHGE) and Hinanao yan I Minagahet yan I Ininna (HMI). A scaled-down version, due to the pandemic, of the Veterans health conferences that WPI held annually from 2016 to 2019 with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Pacific Islands Health Care System and other community partners, the symposium provided Veterans and their family members with a wealth of information on the supportive services available on-island. There was also a VA benefits and claims workshop. Over the course of three days, the symposium served 176 participants. WPI’s wraparound approach to Veterans services helps vulnerable Veterans overcome the limitations and difficulty of obtaining the support they were promised when they took the oath to serve.


Uplifting the Human Spirit


The Solid Start Act of 2022

The Solid Start Act of 2022 was signed into law by President Biden on October 17. Introduced by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in April 2021, the now public law improves and expands the Department of Veteran Affairs’ (VA) Solid Start program. Many Veterans are unaware of all the resources available to them in the community and from the VA. Strengthening outreach to recently separated service members will help them navigate their first year and transition to civilian life. The VA will now be required to proactively reach out to service members at least three times during their first year of separation from the military to connect them with the variety of benefits they have earned.

WestCare is grateful for Congress’ bipartisan work on behalf of Veterans – it uplifts our efforts to better the lives of the courageous men, women, and their families who have selflessly served to protect America’s independence.

"Veterans know better than anyone else the price of freedom, for they've suffered the scars of war. We can offer them no better tribute than to protect what they have won for us." President Ronald Reagan From a 1984 radio address to the nation

Connect with WestCare Foundation to follow our journey across 17 states, 3 U.S. territories, and 2 republics.