An event dedicated to celebrating local veterans, recognizing the sacrifices they have made, and discussing the ways in which the community can better support veterans’ transitions into civilian life. With approximately 1,300 homeless veterans in the tristate area and nearly 5,000 local veterans who are unemployed and struggling to find work, supporting local veterans is our duty. Our Serve benefits Easterseals programs, including veteran services, which promotes success by providing our brave men and women with emergency services, employment guidance and networking, and education resources.
Danny was a Distinguished Military Graduate from Florida State University, earned his Master’s Degree in Higher Education from the University of Florida, while assigned as an Assistant Professor of Military Science in the ROTC Department. His military career also included combat duty and his experience in Somalia was the basis for the book and movie Black Hawk Down. Hear Colonel McKnight’s inspiring story and his perspective on the unparalleled commitment and leadership required to be successful when executing operations in the most difficult and severe situations.
Guests will also view seven of fifteen images of "The Unknown Soldier," a series of large-scale black and white portraits of wounded veterans by renowned photographer David Jay. The series was acquired by the Library of Congress to document the effects of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and is on loan for a limited time only.
During the event, artist Mark Thesken will perform his unique, high-energy speed painting. The final work of art will be auctioned off to guests, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting local veterans served by Easterseals.
To learn about sponsorship opportunities for this inspiring event, contact Events Manager Erica Busch
More than 350 guests, partners, and military men and women came together in 2016 to celebrate, honor and support local veterans. The event raised more than $185,000 to benefit Easterseals' veterans services.
As said by emcee Jon Sanchez, Navy SEAL veteran and Founder and CEO of Leadership Performance Institute, “The future of America rests on how we treat our veterans.”
The story of Timothy Brown drove home the importance of veteran support. After too many disappointments in finding affordable housing, Brown called the Easterseals emergency hotline to say a final goodbye. His specialist, veteran Michelle Phillips, called 911 and got him the medical attention he needed. He now resides in a wheelchair-accessible apartment, taking pride in his independence.
The Keynote Speaker was Kris “Tanto” Paronto, whose real-life experience inspired the book and film 13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. He shared his personal account of the September 11, 2012 attack on the US Compound in Benghazi. He also spoke of the struggle that veterans encounter when transitioning to civilian life, leaving behind a high-stakes environment, and translating their unique experiences into civilian skills.
“Veterans are the best guys to hire because they’ve been through chaos,” said Paronto, addressing the need for employers to recruit veterans and the vast capabilities that veterans bring to the workforce because of their military experience.
Guests enjoyed the Easterseals hospitality tent, which included “The Eyes of Freedom: Lima Company Memorial," an exhibit honoring the 23 Marines of Lima Company from Ohio who were killed during their 2005 deployment in Iraq. Guests also received admission to the evening tennis match, which, though delayed by the rain, featured a military flyover by a C-17 from Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
A last-minute fundraiser occurred when emcee Jon Sanchez auctioned off the opportunity to join him in taking Kris Paronto to Skyline for the first time. The outing went for $5,000 to Dr. Robert S. Heidt, who then insisted that Kris Paronto take some of the military men and women from the event instead. It became an “eight-way” as Sanchez and Paronto were joined by six guests, and all declared Easter Seals Mission Skyline accomplished.
Easterseals launched Veterans Services in the fall of 2013 and these programs have assisted over 1,800 local veterans by delivering total benefits of $9.4 million over the past three years. The program’s Community OneSource phone line, 513-878-2200, is the only local veteran-focused hotline. Staffed entirely by veterans, this hotline helps more than 500 veterans each year with emergency services. Based on our extensive partnerships and collaborations, staff help veterans access our region’s vast array of services, programs, and resources. One-on-one attention ensures that our veterans identify the services they need, receive guidance filling out eligibility paperwork and making appointments with services providers, and they provide follow up assistance to ensure veterans receive the benefits and services they need and deserve.
Easterseals also provides employment assistance services such as translating a military resume for civilian employers, interview preparation, and employer networking opportunities for veterans seeking employment. Easterseals helps more than 200 veterans a year find employment, and works with more than 50 veterans a year to achieve their academic goals, up to and including Masters Degrees.
All proceeds from special events benefit Easterseals and its programs which empower people with disabilities, people facing disadvantages, and veterans in our community.For more information about Veterans Services, contact us.
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