Fernandina Beach, Fla., July 12, 2012
Kristen Barnfield, Easter Seals
Marcia Scott, The Lavidge Company
GratitudeAmerica, a nonprofit whose mission is to connect, coordinate and collaborate support and assistance for military service members, veterans, their families and the families of the fallen, commemorated Independence Day 2012 by launching its website, www.gratitudeamerica.org.
GratitudeAmerica’s goal is to collaborate with other organizations – not to compete with them – and provide vitally needed services and assistance to members of the military, their families and veterans. GratitudeAmerica Founder and CEO Lewis Jordan, a recently retired commercial aviation executive, believes combining efforts and best practices will allow those seeking to support veterans to achieve the greatest results.
"I had the privilege of working with many dedicated professionals who were active military and veterans during my years in the airline industry,” said Jordan, the co-founder and former chairman of AirTran Airways. “Their training, experience and dedication were unparalleled. I have been fortunate in my life and career and want to give back to those who have given so much. I believe a stronger and better America will result from supporting these heroes and their families as they navigate the path of returning to their chosen roles in civilian life. We owe them our support.”
Knowing that many Americans are passionate about doing what they can to support members of the military, veterans and their families, people are encouraged to visit www.gratitudeamerica.org to research volunteer and donation opportunities and acquire branded gear to help promote the organization’s mission.
In addition to launching the website, GratitudeAmerica has joined forces with Easter Seals and the Staff Sergeant Donnie Dixon Center to assist communities and individuals throughout the United States with their initiatives for these heroes and their families.
Together, this dedicated team will work to significantly expand Easter Seals’ role as a service provider and collaborator across America to close persistent, systemic and harmful gaps that diminish opportunities and the quality of life for millions of military service members, veterans, their families and families of the fallen. This new partnership’s focus will be to align the myriad of supports and directly assist thousands with reintegration, employment, education, wellness and family stability, as well as expand options for housing, transportation and recreation.
Named for Staff Sergeant Donnie D. Dixon, a career soldier who was killed in his second tour of duty in Iraq, Dixon Center will be a clearing house for advice, information, community collaboration and outreach. It will focus on employment, education and access to health care. The Dixon Center will act as an advocate and mentor on issues and solutions affecting quality of life for veterans, military service members, their families and families of the fallen with a grassroots focus.
An event to commemorate the opening of the Dixon Center is scheduled Friday, July 13, at the Hyatt Magnificent Mile Hotel in Chicago.
Lewis Jordan founded and serves as CEO of GratitudeAmerica, Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on community support of veterans, their families and families of the fallen in the areas of employment, training, health and wellness, housing and family relationships through a network of experts in these fields. Prior to devoting himself to this mission, he had a distinguished career in commercial aviation spanning nearly 50 years. Highlights include serving as president and chief operating officer for both Flying Tigers, the world’s largest international cargo and military transport airline and for Continental Airlines during its major growth and acquisition period. In 1993, Jordan co-founded ValuJet Airlines and served as president of the company and as president and chairman of its successor AirTran Airways until his retirement from active management in 1997. He remained an active member of the AirTran Board until the company’s acquisition by Southwest Airlines in May 2011. During his career, Jordan served on the Military Airlift Committee of the National Defense Transportation Association and on the board of the Air Transport Association. For more information visit www.gratitudeamerica.org .
Easter Seals has provided direct services to the military community since World War II. In 2005, recognizing the new and unmet needs of so many returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the organization renewed its commitment to military families and veterans by establishing a Military and Veterans Initiative to address serious gaps in service and mobilize its national community-based provider network. Today, Easter Seals serves thousands of military families across its 73 affiliates, 450 nationwide service sites, 24,000 professional staff and 40,000 local volunteers.
Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. For more than 90 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play. Visit www.easterseals.com.