Veteran transforming lives through local apprentice program

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Roger Hermeling Headshot

U.S. Veterans Magazine recently had the chance to interview Air Force veteran Roger Hermeling about the apprentice program.

USVM: Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your background?
RH: After graduating high school, I went to Bowling Green State University and graduated as a Second Lieutenant commission from the USAF ROTC program. In my 20+ years in the Air Force, I served as Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) on B-52 crews at Loring AFB and Plattsburg AFB.

In Vietnam, I volunteered to be an F-105 EWO in the Wild Weasel program, which was a very select group of elite fliers who put their lives on the line to take down radars guiding Soviet missiles. The program had a 45% loss rate and I still vividly recall one mission where I hit two enemy airplanes. My pilot and I barely escaped.

I completed my active duty in 1982 and then got my master’s degree from Golden State University during my assignment at Langley AFB. My first job after USAF retirement was with Hughes Aircraft Company at Fullerton, CA as Survivability Project Management for the F-117 aircraft.

In addition, I worked for Northrup B-2 program, to provide mission analysis on how to employ the aircraft against high priority targets. Later, I worked for Raytheon Munitions Division and SAIC to find ways to employ their munitions and market their products.

Later in my career I wanted an opportunity to put my military training and experience into practice, so I started working at local community centers in my home state of Texas to help students earn their GEDs. That experience ultimately led me to my current role with SSC Services for Education, where I oversee an Apprenticeship Program as the Director of Training and Procedure.

USVM: Can you tell us about the SSC apprenticeship program that you run?
RH: I spearheaded the Apprenticeship Program in May of 2016. The program is designed to help students, some of whom are Veterans, develop vocational skills for jobs that are in great demand, such as an air conditioning technician or an electrician, so they can find success once the program is complete.

The SSC Apprenticeship Program is a tough one. The four-year apprentice program requires apprentices to take 576 hours of maintenance system operations and log 8,000 hours of on the job training.

The program first started at Texas A&M where I’m located, but we have doubled the program size with 15 apprentices at College Station, TX and a total of 14 more in Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Commerce, Prairie View and Tarleton State, TX.

USVM: How did your military background prepare you for your current role at SSC?
RH: The leadership experience I gained in the Air Force has shaped how I approach every situation both personally and professionally. During my tour at the Fighter Weapons School I was tasked to develop a program syllabus, provide aircrew qualifications, provide classes and flight evaluations for 36 F-4 Wild Weasel aircrews. The situations you’re thrown into in the military give you a crash course in responsibility, accountability, flexibility and teach you how to make critical decisions on the fly.

USVM: What have been your top three accomplishments in your time running the program?
RH: For me, my proudest moments are when I see my students complete the training program. I have graduated nine apprentices from the four-year program and knowing that I helped them find their career calling means the world to me.

Another moment that stands out is when I was able to help three former students, who were also Veterans, get pay bonuses through the VA. I heard about the opportunity, suggested it to them and guided them through the process of applying. I was excited to hear they were all able to get their well-deserved bonus!

Additionally, I’m proud to have helped SSC apply for grants that assist with funding the Apprentice Program. So far, I have secured over $1M in grants. It is a great feeling knowing I can help keep these great programs moving strong for years to come.

USVM: Why would you encourage someone to join the apprenticeship program?
RH: These are the jobs of the future. I often tell students that these jobs are in high demand and pay better than certain careers you can earn with a bachelor’s degree. I would tell any prospective student to consider the numerous benefits of a skilled trade job – it might be the perfect fit for their career.

USVM: What is one piece of advice you have for other Veterans returning to civilian life looking for employment?
RH: Many core values you learn in military service are useful no matter the career path. Responsibility, teamwork, hard work and determination; these are all areas valuable in civilian life. Look at what you learned and see where it can help you in your next endeavor. Trade-licensed professionals are in high demand, well-paid, have job security and projections for tradesman are increasingly positive.

99-year-old World War II veteran finally gets his medals

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Veteran Sgt. 1st Class Marvin Cornett sits tall in wheelchair on sidewalk in his military uniform

Shaky but sturdy, retired Sgt. 1st Class Marvin Cornett stood tall in a uniform he hadn’t worn in more than half a century to receive an overlooked award he’d been due since 1944.

Donning his “Eisenhower jacket,” a green, waist-length jacket worn by the famous general in the later stages of World War II, a garrison cap and matching trousers, Cornett was the center of attention at American Legion Post 84, in Auburn, California, Monday for an outdoor ceremony in which he finally received his Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal.

Photo: WWII veteran Jimmie H. Royer attends the ceremony where he was awarded France’s Legion of Honor at VFW Post 346 in Terre Haute, Ind., Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. Image Credit: Austen Leake/The Tribune-Star via AP

Cornett, 99, came in not an inch shorter or a pound heavier than in his fighting shape of three-quarters of a century past, when he stood 5-foot-2-inches tall and carried 110 pounds on his frame.

More than 77 years ago, after having helped capture Sicily, completing a nighttime combat jump in the rain and seeing heavy combat during the Allied invasion of Italy, Cornett was wounded during a combat assault at Amzio on Jan. 31, 1944, which pulled him from the front lines.

His wounds, severe enough to send him home, were listed in unit paperwork. But in the blur of wartime bureaucracy, they were lost.

Members of the 82nd Airborne, along with other active duty and retired military members, were on hand to see Cornett get the awards he was due at the outdoor ceremony in California. Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, spoke with Cornett on a remote video call during the ceremony.

Recounting Cornett’s wartime and post-war service — along with the anecdote that until a few years ago, the man still regularly did 100 pushups a day — Donahue made an offer.

“If you want to come back, come on back,” Donahue said. “We need men like you.”

Cornett served in Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne.

“You represent everything that is great with this country. You represent everything that is great with paratroopers,” Donahue said. “You are the 82nd Airborne Division.”

Read the full article at Army Times.

Marines, rejoice: Someone made crayons that are actually meant to be eaten

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cartoon image of solder in uniform sqatting down with crayon in hand

Marine veteran has spent the last several years trying to turn a joke at the Corps’ expense into a successful business, and it looks like he’s nearly there with Crayons Ready to Eat. Created by Frank Manteau and Cassandra Gordon, Crayons Ready to Eat are not only edible, but writable chocolate crayons that come in a range of colors — though unlike those actual little color spears and waxy-practice-pencils, these have a triangular shape, and that’s by design.

“It’s so they don’t roll off a table,” Manteau said, and so “parents, [noncommissioned officers] and [staff noncommissioned officers] can say ‘this is okay to eat because of its shape,’ and ‘this one is not okay to eat.’”

They also come in packaging modeled after the military’s Meals Ready to Eat, hence the name Crayons Ready to Eat — and yes, a lot of this humor is on the nose, but considering that 90 percent of those reading this story will be Marines, I wanted to break it down Barney Style for my fellow ‘crayon eaters.’

Now, if you’re a little confused on some, or all of the above, and find yourself wondering: What does eating crayons — something you expect from a young child without adult supervision — have to do with being a Marine? Well, you’re not alone. Manteau was a bit lost back in 2017 when he learned that Marines had added ‘crayon eaters’ to an already long list of nicknames.

“When I was in the Marine Corps we were not crayon eaters,” said Manteau, a former infantryman who served from 1995 until 2002. “We were not crayon eaters,” he said again, just for emphasis. “We were jarheads, grunts, ground pounders, bullet sponges.”

The term, its mocking tone, and its origins piqued his curiosity, so he started to ask around “Where did this come from?” he wondered, but nobody knew.

“I could not figure out how we became crayon eaters,” he said. And while there were plenty of memes, and even a few videos that referenced, or fully embraced the “Marines are dumb and eat crayons” joke, none of it explained how that came to be. Instead, he simply accepted it as the new normal for Marines; So long ‘Devil Dogs,’ we’re ‘crayon eaters’ now.

So Manteau accepted the joke and wore it like a badge of honor “in true Marine Corps fashion,” he said. “We embrace every joke that comes at our expense and we will make it our own. We will laugh with you, not be laughed at by you.”

Manteau is right after all: ‘Leatherneck’ and ‘Devil Dog’ are hardly laudatory nicknames; one is a reference to an uncomfortable uniform item that Marines long ago had to wear; the other, according to Marine Corps lore, was bestowed on World War I Marines by horrified German soldiers. And let’s not forget ‘jarhead’ which was most definitely meant to be an insult, but instead had to settle for being the third-best nickname.

As for how a joke about being in the Marine Corps is a lot like being in kindergarten segued into an idea for a business, well, that’s another matter. (Now, it’s worth noting that there have been other Marines who tried to turn the ‘crayon eater’ trope into a business, or at least a product, like the Marine vet who created edible crayons through her company, Okashi Sweets, though the venture appears to have been short-lived as the link to the site is now broken.)

Manteau, a carpenter by trade, said the idea began to take shape while he was working on an art project, and just so happened to find himself drawing on a piece of wood near a box of crayons. Without thinking, as he reached for a different color crayon, he put the one he was using in his mouth and began to chew.

“And then it hit me: Maybe there is something to people chewing on crayons,” he said. Naturally, the next thought was: Okay, so how do you make a crayon that’s meant to be gnawed upon?

Immediately, Manteau called up Cassanda Gordon, a former colleague and pastry chef.

“Can you make chocolate writable?” he asked. “She said ‘yes,’ and that’s all I needed to hear,” Manteau said.

By September 2017 she’d developed a working model for edible and writable crayons.

Read the complete article on Task & Purpose here.

General Lloyd Austin Chosen as Biden’s Secretary of Defense

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Headshot of Army General Lloyd Austin III, commander of the US Central Command

By Natalie Rodgers

Retired General Lloyd Austin has been chosen as the United States’ Secretary of Defense under President Joe Biden, making him the first black person to hold the position.

Before earning his four-star general rank and officially retiring in 2016, General Austin led the command on various historical events. He served in the U.S. Army for almost 41 years, spending much of his time as a General and commanding officer. After working for the Pentagon as the Chief Joint Operations Division for two years, Austin oversaw issues in Iraq; overseeing Operation Iraqi Freedom and the combat aspects of Operation New Dawn.

Photo Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

In 2010, Austin became the Commanding General of the United States Forces in Iraq and played an integral part in handling negotiations between the United States and Iraq governments.

In 2011, Austin was nominated to be the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army (VCSA), where handled the organization’s budget and improved upon issues concerning suicide, mental health, and disability. From there, he took on the commanding position of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) under President Barack Obama’s nomination, making him the first black man to ever serve in the role.

Upon his retirement in 2016, Austin worked on the boards of large name companies such as Raytheon Technologies, Nucor, and Tenet Healthcare. He also runs his own operating firm.

Outside of his professional and official positions, Austin has been known to care for Gold Star Families, the loved ones of military personnel who passed away in service. It is highly believed that Austin’s extensive experience in the field and his understanding of the cost of life are two of the main reasons why he was nominated for the position by President Biden. Austin, much like previous Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, will need be waived from a law calling for a seven-year gap between service and the position.

Source: Washington Post and Wikipedia

Kellie Pickler, Wilmer Valderrama Named USO Global Ambassadors

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In honor of its 80th anniversary, the United Service Organizations (USO) has named country singer and actress Kellie Pickler, and producer, actor and activist Wilmer Valderrama as USO Global Ambassadors.

USO tour veterans Pickler and Valderrama will help lead the effort for Americans, united in spirit and action, to give more than thanks to the military community.

“We are honored to have these two longtime advocates come on board as USO Global Ambassadors,” said J.D. Crouch II, USO CEO and president. “Kellie and Wilmer have seen firsthand the importance of the USO mission and the impact it can have when we express the nation’s gratitude to our Armed Forces. We hope their continued support will invite more Americans to join them in honoring service members and their families.”

As USO Global Ambassadors, Pickler and Valderrama will support the organization’s Give More Than Thanks initiative, a campaign encouraging all Americans to find actionable ways to express their gratitude for the service and sacrifice of our troops and their families. Throughout the year, Pickler and Valderrama will participate in events and entertainment engagements for service members, raise awareness of our military’s needs and share ways Americans can help the USO give more than thanks.

Pickler and Valderrama have dedicated their time and talents to give back to service members and their families throughout their careers, including touring together in 2018 for the annual USO Holiday Tour with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Ways Pickler and Valderrama have served with the USO include:

Kellie Pickler

  • First tour in 2007 to Iraq
  • 12 USO tours visiting 13 international locations (Afghanistan, Germany, Iraq, Kosovo, United Kingdom, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Norway) and a ship at sea; and three domestic locations
  • Five USO Holiday Tours with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2008, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018)
  • USO Military Virtual Programming (MVP) session with husband, Kyle Jacobs, broadcast worldwide to 34 locations in the U.S., Qatar, Guam and Japan
  • Recipient of Department of Defense Spirit of Hope Award, Operation Troop Aid Chris Kyle Patriot Award and USO of North Carolina Heart for the Warrior Award

“I am honored to join the USO as a Global Ambassador for their 80th anniversary of supporting America’s military, especially in support of this campaign encouraging all Americans to give more than thanks,” shares Pickler. “The USO has allowed me so many opportunities to serve those who serve us, and this is another way I can help shine a light on something that matters … supporting our servicemen, servicewomen, their families, and letting them know we don’t take what they do for granted.”

Wilmer Valderrama

  • First tour in 2007 to Germany
  • Eight USO tours visiting nine international locations (Germany, Poland, South Korea, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Greenland, Norway, Bahrain, Iraq) and a ship at sea; and three domestic locations
  • One USO Holiday Tour with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2018
  • More than 40 USO performances
  • USO MVP session broadcast worldwide to 13 installations in the U.S., United Arab Emirates, Germany, Japan, Italy and Iraq

“Touring with the USO has been one of the proudest moments of my career because it has given me the chance to pay my respect and personally express my gratitude to our servicemen and women,” Valderrama said. “I feel honored to now serve as a USO Global Ambassador, to help others understand how important it is to support the military and encourage Americans to follow our heroes example in becoming a more united community in a more united nation.”

Generations of Americans have answered the call to step up, serve and sacrifice. Wherever they are deployed or stationed—on the front lines overseas or the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response at home—the USO stands by our heroes in uniform. Since 1941, the USO has been a resource for more than 40 million individuals, from providing morale-boosting entertainment to delivering millions of care packages.

To learn more about ways to give more than thanks, visit USO.org/morethanthanks. Follow the USO’s Give More Than Thanks campaign and join the conversation using the hashtag #MoreThanThanks on social media.

About the USO:

The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort and support. The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission and learn more about the USO, please visit USO.org and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

The Rosie Network National Veteran & Military Spouse Awards

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Stephanie Brown in blue dress speaking behind Podium

The Rosie Network is a national award-winning nonprofit that works to empower our nation’s active-duty, veteran, and military spouse small business owners and budding entrepreneurs around the country for more than six years.

The Rosie Network supports our small and diverse military community through our customized, no-cost Service2CEO Entrepreneurial Program. Our program is delivered to service members, veterans, and spouses through chapters. Rosie Chapters serve military spouses and female service members or veterans; the Warrior Chapter delivers the Service2CEO program to veterans and active-duty soldiers; and Valor Chapters serve diverse-minded people in the military community and people of color.

Photo Credit:  Leona Sublett –  Stephanie Brown, CEO & Founder of The Rosie Network announcing the awardees of the 2020 Veteran & Military Spouse Entrepreneur Awards; Stephanie Brown, The Rosie Network

The Veteran & Military Spouse Entrepreneur Awards were created to recognize and celebrate military business owners’ accomplishments around the world when The Rosie Network launched this event in 2017. In our fourth year, we would love to present the 4th Annual Awardees across ten different categories, as reviewed by an independent panel of judges.

The 2020 National Veteran and Military Spouse Entrepreneur Awards were presented during Veteran Small Business Week, November 2nd-6th. A special thank you to Newman’s Own & Fisher House Foundation, USAA, GovX, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Wells Fargo for taking the time to present The Rosie Network Paddle Awards to the winners. For more information about the presentations, finalists, and awardees, please visit The Rosie Network website at the rosienetwork.org
2020 National Veteran and Military Spouse Entrepreneur Awardees

Active Duty Owned Business of the Year

Anthony Gantt

At Ease Rentals Corporation, pcsatease.com
At Ease Rental Corporation provides comfortable, convenient, safe, and welcoming short-term/vacation rentals to federal employees and their families.

Veteran Owned Business of the Year

Paul Salopek

Advanced Integration, LLC, advint.com

ADVINT is Testing the Limits of Technology® to provide the competitive advantage needed to succeed in today’s demanding business environment.

Inspirational Leader of the Year

Shirley Walker-King, shirleywalkerking.com

SWK Management and Consulting Services, LLC

Offering a variety of services to meet both individual and organizational needs.

Health & Wellness Professional of the Year

Chris Kaag

IM ABLE Foundation, imablefoundation.org

Removing obstacles that prevent people affected by disabilities from being physically active by redefining what is possible.

Military Spouse Owned Business of the Year

Lindsey Litton

MilHousing Network, milhousingnetwork.com

Connecting military families with pre-screened realtors specially trained in serving the military community.

Trailblazer of the Year

Vernice Armour

VAI Consulting and Training, LLC, vernicearmour.com

Vernice’s global mission is based on the Breakthrough Mentality mindset, helping leaders to step up, lead, and get gutsy.

Military Spouse Owned Start-up of the Year

Maya Edinburgh-Taylor

M.E.T. Speech Therapy, metaylorspeech.com

Providing individualized, naturalistic, culturally competent, and client-centered speech, language, and swallowing services in the comfort of your own home.

Veteran Owned Start-up Business of the Year

Travis Arnold

Caisson Shaving Company, LLC, caisson-shaving.com

Handmade to order in the U.S., Caisson Shaving’s soap is tolerant of austere conditions and packaged in a leak-proof container, designed for the soldier and adventurous gentlemen.

Media Professional of the Year (Tie, #1)

Jen Amos

Jen Amos holding the 2020 National Veteran & Military Spouse Entrepreneur Award, a Navy Paddle hand crafted by Valhallas Forge
Jen Amos holding the 2020 National Veteran & Military Spouse Entrepreneur Award, a Navy Paddle hand crafted by Valhallas Forge; Jen Amos, Holding Down the Fort Podcast, photo credit Jen Amos

Holding Down the Fort Podcast, holdingdownthefortpodcast.com

Dedicated to making the lives of military spouses easier by curating knowledge, resources, and relevant stories.

Media Professional of the Year (Tie, #2)

David Johnson

The David Johnson Show, thedavidjohnsonshow.com

The Veteran Talk Show and podcast for the post-9/11 era Veteran and Military Community, bringing stories, perspectives, and fascinating new content to our community.

Franchise of the Year

Joe Klimek

Sport Clips Haircuts, sportsclips.com, www.facebook.com/SCTX201

Provides championship haircut experiences in an exciting sports-themed environment.

Admiral’s Circle

Todd Cline, Senior Business Consultant at Cetera Financial Group

The Rosie Network presents this special award to an individual who goes above and beyond to support our military community.

Find these and other veteran or military spouse-owned small businesses around the country at Rosie’s List powered by Grow With Google and verified by GovXID (rosieslist.org).

Army Veteran Dave Wyatt Grows Minuteman Press Franchise During COVID-19 Pandemic By Helping Local Businesses

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Dave Wyatt stands with his family in his Minute Press Press shop

During his first year in business as Minuteman Press franchise owner in Medina, Ohio, Dave Wyatt was faced with the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We reached out to local businesses early on to let them know we were there to help them in their time of need. They learned we were open as an essential business and that they could trust us, and that sparked our growth.”

One of the ways Dave helped other local businesses when they needed it most was through their free initiative Bounce Back Medina. “Bounce Back Medina simply connects local businesses with community members who are looking to shop local and support local. This is completely free and we also provide participating businesses with free COVID-19 awareness posters. This was our way of letting everyone know that we are all in this together and we will help in any way we can to lift each other up.”

Dave also reached out to local bars and restaurants, providing them with 100 free printed menus. “I knew they needed to make changes to their menus or simply needed to use them to reach out to customers, so I thought it was the right thing to do. They were very appreciative and once again they saw that we were there to help them at a critical time.”

He also printed free 10-minute parking signs for all businesses in the square downtown. “Curbside pickup became very big, and I just wanted to do my part to help other businesses adapt and stay safe.”

Goodwill goes a long way to growing sales

As a result of his efforts in giving back and building authentic relationships with other local businesses he truly cares about, Dave has seen his sales grow 30% despite the challenges of the pandemic. “Some of the businesses I reached out to through Bounce Back and these other giveaways have remembered us and stuck with us. They see that we can meet their printing and marketing needs. More importantly, they know I am there for them and that I can empathize with them since I am a local business owner too.”

At Minuteman Press Medina, Dave is able to provide high-demand products and services that local businesses need right now. He explains, “We provide general printing services, custom branded apparel, wide format printing and signage, and direct mail campaigns. These are all items being ordered and used by our clients during the pandemic.”

He continues, “For example, we were honored to be able to help our graduating students last year by printing over 1,200 signs for families. We are proud to help keep businesses safe with social distancing signage and branded face masks. They can safely reach out to their target audiences through direct mail postcards as well as Dynamic Direct Mail, where people are contacted both through the mail and online.”

Dave adds, “We are local and we care about our community. We have that personal touch you won’t find elsewhere, and you certainly won’t find it online. You will not find another team to take care of your printing and marketing needs like we do at Minuteman Press Medina.”

Dave also credits his local in-house staff of three employees who he is able to lean on to make sure his clients receive that personal touch and outstanding customer service. “We have a great team that works well together. Sierra is our Graphic Designer; Mary is our Customer Support Rep; and Eric is our Production Specialist. I am humbled to have the support I do from them. As a business owner you want to be comfortable when you are away from the shop and they make it that way for me.”

Furthering his local ties to the community, Dave makes sure to get involved and stay active. “Community is so important. I am a Chamber Ambassador for the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce and also a member of the Wadsworth Chamber of Commerce. This allows me to get to know the new businesses as they are coming in or just joining the Chamber.  I am a member of the Medina County Economic Development Corporation as well.  I join as many networking groups as I can and still be comfortable with my time. Networking and growing relationships through the ‘know, like and trust’ platform was key in thriving during this pandemic.”

“Printing will never go away but you must be more than a printer. You need to be a marketer, a designer, a promoter, and most importantly, a business partner.  People need to trust you and your team. Once you have that trust, you have a customer for life.” -Dave Wyatt, Minuteman Press franchise owner, Medina, Ohio

From the US Army to the American Dream of Business Ownership

Prior to owning his own business at the end of 2019, Dave Wyatt says, “I spent 8 years in the Army as an Aircraft Electrician. I spent the next 19 years with Konica Minolta (16 years in service and 3 years in sales). During that time, I did a lot of training and calibrating equipment so I was in many different types of businesses. I saw independent print shops, UPS stores, and Minuteman Press franchises. When I decided to own my own business, I knew I didn’t want to open without support so I went the franchise route.”

Why Minuteman Press? Dave answers, “What I liked about Minuteman Press from what I learned in research and what I saw while working for Konica Minolta is that they allow the personality of the business to shine. They offer the most flexibility in terms of how to run your franchise, so while I am following their system, I still feel like an entrepreneur. I didn’t see that from other franchises and I also didn’t want something like foodservice where I’d be working long hours at night and on weekends. Having that freedom to be me and the Monday-Friday hours were huge along with their training and support.”

“Minuteman Press has guidelines and if you follow those guidelines you will be successful, but they also allow you the freedom to make many of your own choices when it comes the way that you actually run your business. During my search for a franchise, I felt many other franchisees were just glorified managers for their franchisors because they seemed to have very little freedom to make decisions on their own without corporate breathing down their backs. Between that, their training and support, the Monday-Friday hours, and their cap on royalties, I was sold.” -Dave Wyatt

Dave expands on the ongoing local support he receives from Minuteman Press International. “I have a great local support team in Regional Vice President Gary Nowak and Area Manager Rich DeRosa, who are only a call or email away. Everyone at Minuteman Press has been helpful during this pandemic and they have really shown me that they have my back with constant communications and additional marketing strategies.

He adds, “Our Minuteman Press FLEX software system is also a huge game-changer for us. We have implemented customer dashboards, which allows for easy online ordering and reordering. If people come to me and say that they prefer online ordering, we make that available to them while also still being their local trusted provider they can still talk to and meet with. They can have the best of both worlds.”

Advice for Others

Dave shares the following advice for others who are looking to own a business. He states, “Ensure you have enough capital; my bank has been a good business partner and because of that I was prepared when the pandemic first hit. With that said, you can’t be afraid to spend money in ways that will help you market and grow. Invest in people, inventory, and equipment where it makes sense. I also encourage you to study, read books, and listen to podcasts.  Always be learning, and never stop.”

For more information on Minuteman Press in Medina, Ohio, visit https://www.medina.minutemanpress.com. Learn more about #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise opportunities and read Minuteman Press franchise reviews at https://minutemanpressfranchise.com.

Meet the bomber pilot who will be leading the Super Bowl flyover

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Sarah the female bomber pilot close up image of her in military uniform smiling

By Jennifer Holton Fox29 Philadelphia

Captain Sarah Kociuba has a pretty impressive resume. She’s a B-2 instructor pilot, has flown more than 90 combat missions, and has more than 1,700 flying hours in five different aircraft.

Come Sunday, she’ll be adding “Super Bowl flyover flight lead.”

“It is very exciting, I am very humbled,” she told FOX 13. “We are certainly doing our prep for it.”

Kociuba, call sign “Gucci,” will lead a formation in her B-2 Spirit, along with a B-1B Lancer and a B-52 Stratofortress. She says a lot of planning helps missions like these come together.

“We’ve been working for weeks making this plan very precise, so that we can execute it,” she said. “So we’ll all brief together, and plan together, and make this rejoin happen.”

The military flyover on Super Bowl Sunday is planned down to the second.

The bombers are coming from three different bases in the Dakotas and Missouri. It’s a mission that takes coordination, and precision timing.

First, they’ll meet up in a whiskey area – that’s military jargon for “restricted airspace” – before the pass over Raymond James Stadium and Super Bowl LV.

“We will rejoin very low altitude, very high speed and very close together in this whiskey area, and then we’ll work our timing, and then do the flyover,” she explained.

The entire flight will take about seven or eight hours round trip because the Air Force is including training in the sortie. That means Kociuba won’t return to base until long after the fourth quarter ends.

“I’m not going to get to watch the game, so I hope there’s no spoilers before I land,” she added. “I’m going to have to watch it afterwards!”

Read the complete article on FOX29 News Philadelphia

Soldier is Seeking Support to Help Save Her Rescued Puppy From Being Left Behind

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US Soldier holding her puppy while sitting on the ground

When one person tries to pay for the expenses to bring a rescued soldier’s dog back to the US from overseas it’s a costly endeavor.

When 1,000 people come together and each chip in just $5 it’s a total game changer. With a small donation like that they can help to change the life of the soldier who has adopted the dog, and help ensure that the dog will live a healthy and safe life in land of the free.

“We absolutely want to help bring PupPup back to America. These overseas rescues are extremely challenging and have a high cost,” explains Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “If we don’t step in to save these dogs and cats, the soldier is forced to leave behind an animal they rescued from a bad situation. An animal they deeply love left behind can become subject to abuse, neglect and unfortunately death. It sounds harsh but that is the truth on the ground for our hero soldiers.”

PupPup is a puppy that Army Sergeant Char, who is stationed overseas, fell in love with and rescued. Her mother was a stray dog who hung around the base and ended up giving birth to a litter of puppies trying to hide them from danger. The dog was moved to a safer place, giving her the ability to care for her babies. On several occasions the soldier’s had to hide the dog and her puppies from many potential deadly threats.

While all the other puppies were quick to warm up to the soldier’s, one stayed hidden. She was too shy and afraid to come out. Sgt. Char was immediately drawn to the one that was so shy, she focused her love and attention on this little pup trying to help the puppy get comfortable and ensure she was being fed. She ended up gaining the trust of the dog she named PupPup, and they formed a loving bond. Now that Sgt. Char is scheduled to head back to the US, she can’t bear the thought of having to leave her dog behind. She knows PupPup won’t survive. Sgt. Char is still the only person PupPup will go to.

“I’m desperately asking Paws of War to help me bring my beautiful helpless PupPup back to America with me because I can’t stand the thought of leaving her behind,” says Sgt. Char. “This spot can be very harsh to dogs and I fear she will die if she is left behind. Plus, we have formed such a strong bond that means everything to me. I can’t turn my back on her and would be forever grateful for the help to get her home.”

The only way Paws of War can successfully bring PupPup back to America to live with Sgt. Char in a loving forever home is with financial help from people in the community. Paws of War is asking for donations to help cover the costs of bringing this special dog home. They are urgently accepting donations so they can save this dog and help this soldier.

To see get more information or make a donation, visit the site: https://pawsofwar.networkforgood.com/projects/122504-pup-pup.

Paws of War has helped numerous soldiers to bring their rescued animals back to the U.S. However, this year the mission is more challenging to pull off. The pandemic has added additional quarantines, medical treatments and challenges transporting animals from remote locations. There are a severely limited number of flights coming into the U.S., especially those allowing dogs. Plus, flights from overseas are costly, and there is a lot of red tape that needs to be addressed and logistics to overcome.

Paws of War helps soldiers bring their rescued dogs and cats back to America after serving their country overseas through it’s War Torn Pups and Cats program. Those who would like to learn more about supporting Paws of War and its mission can go online to: http://pawsofwar.org.

About Paws of War

Paws of War is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets. They rescue cats and dogs in the U.S. and overseas. They train dogs to be service, support and companion animals for veterans and first responders. To learn more about Paws of War and the programs provided or to make a donation visit its site at: http://pawsofwar.org.

A bridge from the Navy to civilian life

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two student veterans are pictured in the center of a Raytheon warehouse background

Raytheon Missiles & Defense awards SPY-6 scholarships to US Navy vets.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, has partnered with the Student Veterans of America to award two $10,000 scholarships to U.S. Navy student veterans.

The recipients are Francheska Salazar, a sophomore at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Chris Ricks, who attends Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.

The scholarship, named for the Navy’s SPY-6 family of radars, helps veterans achieve their educational goals and succeed in their transition to civilian life. It is part of the company’s longstanding support for military veterans, which includes a $5 million commitment to SVA.

Photo: Francheska Salazar and Chris Ricks received the 2020 Raytheon Missiles & Defense SPY-6 scholarships offered exclusively to U.S. Navy student veterans pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree.

A humanitarian at heart

Pride in service runs deep in Francheska Salazar’s family, as she is a fifth generation veteran, but her decision to enlist in the Navy extends beyond tradition.

“I realized how much each generation of my family sacrificed so I may have the privilege to have choices,” Salazar said. “I was not about to waste this opportunity.”

While serving 13 years in the military, Salazar deployed to Latin America on humanitarian missions that helped shape her career trajectory and life purpose.

“I want to be part of a team that works to find long-term solutions,” said Salazar, who aspires to work in immigration and human rights policy.

After separating from the Navy, Salazar used her GI Bill at a community college where she earned paralegal degrees. It left her with limited benefits to complete her bachelor’s degree and attend law school.

“The SPY-6 scholarship gives me peace of mind and hope,” she said.

A life of service

Chris Ricks wanted to be a part of something bigger than himself, so he joined the Navy’s Submarine Force.

“Every day on a nuclear submarine was something special,” said Ricks, an 8-year veteran. “Every sailor has a unique role in accomplishing the mission.”

The former sailor will use the SPY-6 scholarship to help pay for his MBA.

“I look at it as a long-term investment that will serve as a foundation for the next chapter of my life,” he said.

Ricks hopes to someday use artificial intelligence to improve the lives of others in agriculture, health, finance and education.

“My military experience has given me a passion to empower others, improve systems and solve problems with cutting-edge technology,” he said.

Source: Raytheon

Air Force Veteran Becomes New Mexico’s First Senator

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Air Force Veteran Senator Harold Pope Jr. poses outside wearing a suit and tie and smiling

By Natalie Rodgers

In his first-ever political race, retired Air Force Captain and Democratic Candidate Harold Pope Jr. became New Mexico’s first black Senator against Republican opponent and longtime Senator, Sander Rue.

Senator Pope will be representing New Mexico’s 23rd district, making the coronavirus and the need for public education the focal points of his platform.

Before being elected into the Senate, Pope balanced his military service with his college studies, serving as a dental technician in the Air Force by day and taking classes at night. After earning his degree in biochemistry, Pope went on to serve in the Air Force for over twenty years, mainly working as a security cooperation officer, a program manager and a chemist.

His military experience, along with his extensive work in non-profit organizations and his time working in education, helped to shape Pope’s focal points for his platform: community and education. Throughout his campaign, Pope advocated heavily for the importance of public education, healthcare, and race issues–a heavy contributor in his campaign,

“We have to see other people in those positions and see people that look like us,” Pope told the Coloradoan. “We really have to see people that look like us or came from our situation.”

Though the first black Senator for New Mexico, Pope was not made aware of his potential status until later in his campaign.

“I just want to set the example and take a lot of pride in it,” Pope said of his representation, “but because I am the first, I don’t want to be the last. I just want to be that voice and have that seat at the table.”

While in office, Pope is hoping to expand upon his platform in addition to help foster a more inclusive community in New Mexico.

Source: Coloradoan and Popefornm.com

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