A mom, Monster Jam® driver and military veteran, Kayla Blood is a force to be reckoned with. She proudly served in the Louisiana Army National Guard for six years and now brings her tenacity to the dirt, competing in Monster Jam competitions around the world.
Kayla competes in Soldier Fortune®, a camo-clad, tank-inspired Monster Jam truck dedicated to the thousands of men and women in the U.S. Military around the world. During her six years of service in the Louisiana National Guard, Kayla served full-time in Force Protection. Just as her unit received word of deployment to Afghanistan, Kayla learned she was pregnant with her son and had to stay home in Louisiana. While she wanted to serve overseas, her son is her greatest blessing, and the Guard helped lead her to so many great experiences.
Kayla is also the first female National Guard veteran driver for Monster Jam, crashing through glass ceilings as she competes in a male-dominated sport. Kayla never turns down a competition, and her signature move if an attempt goes awry? Military pushups on the wreckage.
“I want to win fair and square,” says Kayla on competing against men. “I love being able to show little girls watching that they can do whatever they set out to do and to never back down from a challenge.”
Kayla Blood took her fiercely competitive talents to Monster Jam World Finals®, the series marquee event, which took place in Orlando May 21-22, 2022. Each year, Monster Jam World Finals highlights the best of the best in Skills, Racing, High Jump and Freestyle competitions. Drivers pull out their best moves and risk it all for the championship title.
“It’s truly an honor to drive Soldier Fortune in competitions around the world and to have done so at Monster Jam World Finals,” says Kayla. “Representing the brave men and women who have served the United States is a something I take great pride in doing.”
FOX Nation is hosting its fourth annual Patriot Awards at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida, tonight. You can catch the patriotic show live at 7 p.m. ET on FOX Nation, and it will also be offered in a repeat presentation on FOX News Channel on Sunday, November 27, at 10 p.m. ET.
Each year, the awards show honors standout Americans who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in support of this great nation. The event gives true American heroes the recognition they deserve.
“It is the awards show that America needs and that America deserves,” said FOX & Friends Weekend co-host and Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran Pete Hegseth, who will return for his fourth year as the emcee.
Hegseth will join FOX News Media personalities Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Jesse Watters, Greg Gutfeld, Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, Brian Kilmeade, Judge Jeanine Pirro, the cast of The Five, Harris Faulkner, Will Cain, Rachel Campos-Duffy, Dan Bongino, John Rich, Mike Rowe, Nancy Grace, Lawrence Jones, Johnny Joey Jones and Abby Hornacek.
This year’s Patriot Awards include the Most Valuable Patriot Award, Heroism Award, Service to Veterans Award and Back the Blue Award. Additionally, The Five (weekdays, 5 p.m. ET), Tucker Carlson Tonight (weekdays, 8 p.m. ET) and Gutfeld! (weekdays, 11 p.m. ET) will present live shows at the venue.
Last year’s Patriot Award recipients included “Most Valuable Patriot” Olympic Gold Medalist Tamyra Mensah-Stock; Award for Heroism recipient Lt. Col. (Ret.), Former Green Beret Scott Mann for his work in Afghanistan with Task Force Pineapple; “Modern Warrior” recipient Army Sergeant First Class John Goudie, and the “Courage” award recipient posthumously awarded to Todd Beamer in United Airlines Flight 93 (accepted by his parents David and Peggy Beamer).
They also paid a humbling tribute to the nation’s 13 fallen heroes killed on August 26, 2021, during the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan – Marine Corps Lance Corporal David L. Espinoza, Marine Corps Sergeant Nicole L. Gee, Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Darin T. Hoover, Army Staff Sergeant Ryan C. Knauss, Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Rylee J. McCollum, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Dylan R. Merola, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Kareem M. Nikoui, Marine Corps Sergeant Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Marine Corps Corporal Humberto A. Sanchez, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jared M. Schmitz, Navy Hospital Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak and Marine Corps Corporal Daegan W. Page.
Keep an eye out in the next issue of U.S. Veterans Magazine for a full feature on the event.
The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Equity Honors awards are presented to corporate chief officers who have been recognized by their peers as the true leaders at the vanguard of economic equity and minority business integration.
Submit an application for your CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, CMO, CDO, and CPO of the Year. All applications* must be started** by Dec. 20 to be considered.
*Qualified applications submitted for The Equity Honors in 2022 have been cloned for consideration for the 2023 Equity Honors. Simply log into the NMSDC Awards Portal and update your application, then submit. Previous winners of The Equity Honors are ineligible to apply again for a minimum of 3 years.
**We will reopen the applications in March of 2023 to collect 2022 comparative data that will complete the application. All applications that have been started by Dec. 20 will constitute The Equity Honors Nominees for 2023 with nominees highlighted on the Forum website and invited to the 2023 Minority Business Economic Forum.
The Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference is embedded as an annual entrepreneur ecosystem event for transitioning veterans, disabled veterans, National Guard, active and reserve component members and military spouses who are interested in growing the U.S. economy and its employment base while adding value to the communities in which they live and serve.
The October 5‑7 three-day hybrid experience hosted more than 200 attendees from 15 states at the Sheraton Arlington Hotel in Arlington, Texas. This year’s conference included an exclusive and in-depth two-day pre-conference financial statement workshop facilitated by Steve Lefever, founder of ProfitMastery, for 20 selected military-connected business owners. Kimberly Henry, who attended the pre-conference workshop, stated, “the content was challenging, but I have a better understanding of how I need to manage and present my business financials to lenders and pitch competition judges.”
More than 30 conference speakers shared information to increase awareness of entrepreneurial resources, facilitate access to SBA resource partners and access to capital partners, and deliver a memorable experience. Dynamic speakers included SBA Associate Administrator Larry Stubblefield; Andy Williams, former HGTV Flip or Flop Fort Worth star and founder of Rehab Warriors; a lineup of SBA resources partners, including leaders from the Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, the Veterans Business Outreach Center Program and the Women’s Business Center. Existing veteran business owners shared their paths to success through panel discussions. “I attended BBBC19 and learned about franchise opportunities, and now I own two franchises,” said PK Kelley, who presented as part of the franchise panel.
In addition to the NFL Thursday Night Football watch party at TexasLive, the 2022 conference highlights included Melissa Washington presenting a check for $3,500 to Jaquelyn Garrick, who won the Women Veterans Giving Entrepreneur of the Year Award. BidExecs Franchising, LLC (BidExecs), the first and only franchise supporting government contractors to grow their business through robust business development, capture support and proposal solutions partnered with Business Beyond the Battlefield to identify highly qualified veterans to join their network. As such, Archie Smith was awarded a $30,000 BidExecs franchise. “Archie’s knowledge, experience and deep-rooted commitment to serving his local community businesses directly align with BidExecs’ servant leader values,” said Reena Bhatia, CEO of BidExecs, who sat down for a fireside chat at the conference.
“I love the conference. I was able to come in here and [receive] a variety of information about franchising, government contracting, how to get capital…,” said one attendee. Another attendee said, “If you’re just starting out and you want to know how to operate a business, this is the place to be…” Like the attendees, Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference founder Patrick E. Alcorn said, “It was a great experience, and I can’t wait until next October.”
Bombshells Restaurant & Bar: Offering free entrees for veterans at all 12 company-owned and franchised locations in Texas on Nov. 11. Other items will be discounted at 20%, and accompanying families will receive a 20% discount on entrees and other items. Note: This free meal doesn’t apply to active duty; but active duty will get a 20% discount. All other days of the year, active duty and other veterans can receive a 20% discount.. Check beforehand what identification can be used for the discount.
California Pizza Kitchen: Offering a free nonalcoholic beverage and choice of one entree from a special menu, to active duty and other veterans, on Nov. 11.
Krispy Kreme: Offering a free doughnut and a small brewed coffee to active duty and other veterans, on Nov. 11.
Little Caesars: Offering free lunch combo at participating locations while supplies last, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Nov. 11, to active duty and other veterans. Features four-slice deep dish pizza with pepperoni, and a 20-ounce Pepsi product. Military ID or DD214 required.
Starbucks: Free tall hot brewed or iced coffee. Also applies to military spouses
TGI Friday’s: Free lunch for dine-in on November 11th from 11am-2pm from a select menu.
Tuscan Brands Restaurants: Offering a free family style meal to veterans and their guest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 11, at their locations in Boston, Burlington and Newburyport, Massachusetts; and Salem and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. RSVP by calling the restaurant or online at tuscanbrands.com/veteransday. The restaurants include Tuscan Kitchen, Tuscan Sea Grill & Bar and Toscana Italian Chop House & Wine Bar.
Crunch Fitness: Free seven-day trial from November 7-13th and discounted membership rates. Also applies to first responders. Free trial also eligible to military families. Other
Goodyear Tire: Free inspections on tires, brakes, and batteries. 10% off tires and services. Appointments must be made between November 10th-14th and services can be redeemed through November 17th. Also applicable to first responders.
Great Clips: Free haircut or a free haircut card for a future visit. Non-military members who visit on November 11th will be given a free haircut card to give to a veteran or servicemember in their life. These cards must be redeemed before December 9th
Hertz: 20% off base rental rate when you book between November 7th-November 11th
Jefferson Lines: Free tickets for travel. Must be obtained by November 11th and redeemed by November 23rd.
Just Tires: Free inspections on tires, brakes, and batteries. 10% off tires and services. Appointments must be made between November 10th-14th and services can be redeemed through November 17th.
La Quinta: 12% off best available rate. 1000 bonus points will be given for stays booked by December 11th and completed by December 12th
Magnolia Wash Holdings: Free Car Wash at Magnolia Wash Holdings, Whistle Express, Camel Premium Express, and The Wave Carwash locations
Red Roof: 15% off bookings from November 1st to December 30th. Must use code: VP 623095
“Women veterans are a strong group of people. They worked hard, deployed, raised families and sacrificed their time, energy and selves to earn their ranks, titles and places in history books that have not yet been written.
Women have great instincts and deserve a seat at every table, in every boardroom, at every town hall meeting and at any discussion where decisions need to be made. Women have always been an integral part of society and [the] future of the world. It’s time that women are put out front to receive the recognition of all the decades of hard work that has been put in to establish a legacy in the armed forces.” -retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Carla Perez, USMC
Let’s meet one of these esteemed women, 28-year USMC veteran retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Carla Perez. MGySgt Perez began her career in the Marines on May 17, 1993, and retired on December 31, 2021. Her service included three deployments: Bosnia in 1996, Iraq in 2008-2009 and Afghanistan in 2010-2011. She was stationed in many places around the globe, including 29 Palms, California; Iwakuni, Japan; Camp Pendleton, California; Vancouver, Washington; Marine Corps Air Station, Mira Mar in San Diego and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Although Perez was raised in a family of veterans, the military was not initially in her plans. She graduated high school and went on to college at the University of Montana but returned home to Oregon when she didn’t have the funds to continue her studies. There, she worked a few odd jobs until a recruiter found her and offered her the opportunity to join the Marine Corps. You can say the rest is history!
While serving in the Marines, Perez found that women progressed in the Marine Corps in both rank and job opportunities at a fair rate. She never felt as though being a woman held her back. Previously closed jobs in the combat arms MOS had opened, and women were assigned to traditionally male units. Early in that transition, women were doing combat supporting jobs, admin, supply
In 2008 for one year as their Logistics/Supply Chief. The unit was assigned a Civil Affairs mission. There were only a handful of women assigned to that battalion for the duration of that deployment.
Transitions can be difficult. Moving from a career in the military to civilian life is one of those challenging transitions. I asked Perez how she prepared for her retirement. She had been thinking about the transition for a few years before submitting papers to retire and felt as prepared as she could be. Perez is a few college courses shy of a BS in Criminal Justice and initially thought about returning to school at the beginning of her transition. Throughout her time in the Marine Corps, she worked in the Supply/Logistics field and felt that her resume would make her a strong candidate in either of those fields. She knew she had more to give beyond the last 29 years of her life as a Marine, and she was excited to see what opportunities awaited her.
Initially, she took a few months off to spend time with her family and relax. Everyone should take time off from the rigorous schedule the military requires of its service members to just exhale. She highly recommends this approach! In February 2022, she was given the opportunity to work for Liberty Military Housing. She currently holds the position of Director of Military Affairs, Southwest Marines, Housing. Her region encompasses Camp Pendleton, 29 Palms, Yuma, Colville and Kansas City — a few locations where she was stationed during her career.
I asked her how her military career prepared her for her current role in her civilian career. She responded, “Being a Marine and being a person of service was something I am very good at. I am flexible yet mission-oriented. I like to get things done and take care of people. This job is the perfect fit for me. My job responsibilities are very closely tied to the military and taking care of military families. I bridge the gap between our government housing partner and Liberty Military Housing. I am honored to be able to continue to be so closely connected to Marines and military families that live aboard our installations.”
I inquired about the advice she would give someone considering a career in the military or someone preparing to transition to the civilian sector. Perez replied, “Choosing a career in the USMC is like no other job in the world. Hard work will always be rewarded and not go unnoticed. Being a Marine is a tough job that comes with a lot of responsibility. Upholding and honoring traditions of all the men and women that have gone before us is something that sets Marines apart. There are very few Marines and even fewer female Marines — expect to work just as hard as all of those around you, if not harder, both men and women. There are so many intangible traits and feelings that make Marines who they are that cannot be explained — experiences and a sense of pride that cannot be compared to anything else. Being a good leader takes time and work. More energy and personal time spent away from your daily duties are what it takes to go the distance in the USMC. Working hard and staying focused is the best advice I can give.
”Perez continues, “Think ahead about your transition out of the USMC. A few years in advance, have a mental picture of what you want your life after to look like. Take the necessary steps to prepare to depart. It will have to be a fluid plan until you make your final decision. Be flexible and keep an open mind. You will have so much to offer the world, more than you can just write on a paper or summarize on a resume. You will have all the tools you need to make the move, don’t be afraid; just have a plan with a few options.
”And that, my friends, is proof that the long-standing slogan, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine,” is as true today as it was when Marine Corps Master Sergeant Paul Woyshner first shouted it. I enjoyed my time with MGySgt Perez and appreciated her insight into navigating the transition after a career in service to our country.
The United States is currently experiencing a massive demographic shift, led in large part by the nation’s Latinx population. This group is growing rapidly, quickly becoming the most culturally and economically influential community in the country.
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the country’s Hispanic or Latinx population grew from 50.5 million in 2010 (16.3% of the U.S. population) to 62.1 million in 2020 (18.7%). That’s an increase of 23 percent. In fact, slightly more than half (51.1%) of the total U.S. population growth between 2010 and 2020 came from growth in the country’s Latinx population.
It is no surprise then, that Latinx people have a massive effect on the U.S. economy. Their buying power is expected to reach $1.9 trillion by 2023, according to a report from Nielsen. This is up from $213 billion in 1990, marking an over 200% growth rate, more than double the growth in buying power of non-Latinx consumers.
This community’s economic influence reaches all industries, and it is critical that businesses gain a deeper understanding of Latinx culture. Doing so will allow business leadership to both better support employees and more effectively appeal to customers.
Hypercultural Latinx people are often first-generation Americans who straddle both U.S. culture and their parents’ native Hispanic cultures. This group feels deeply connected to both aspects of their identities and has, in a sense, created their own blended, hybrid culture. As Ilse Calderon, an investor at OVO Fund, wrote on TechCrunch, a Hypercultural Latinx person is “100% Hispanic and 100% American.”
So, what do they want to buy? While Latinx people are clearly not a monolith, there are a few key trends across the community. According to research in the PwC Consumer
Intelligence Series, the Latinx population is especially enticed by new tech products. They are active on TikTok and exceedingly more likely to use WhatsApp and other social media platforms than other groups.
Nielsen also found that 45% of Latinx consumers buy from brands whose social values and causes align with theirs. This is 17% higher than the general population. Latinx people also share strong family values, as well as pride in their distinct cultural heritages. That is why organizations must engage the Latinx community and invite Latinx people to share their experiences.
It is pivotal that business leaders understand that “Latinx” is not a single streamlined culture. Rather, it is a diverse mix of traditions, nationalities, and values.
Embracing these cultural nuances is a key to understanding Latinx audiences. Organizations must consider methods to appeal to distinct Latinx groups, rather than marketing to the group as a whole.
Cultivating and advancing Latinx talent in the workplace
It isn’t only consumers that businesses should be thinking about. Latinx talent has also accounted for a massive 75% of U.S. labor force growth over the past six years, according to Nielsen. Nevertheless, only 3.8% of executive positions are held by Latinx men, and only 1.5% of are held by Latinx women.
Clearly, companies have a lot of work to do to attract and cultivate Latinx talent—and it all starts with recruitment. To ensure a diverse work force, companies must utilize culturally competent recruitment strategies that not only make new positions appealing to a variety of job seekers, but also give every applicant a fair chance.
According to an article in Hispanic Executive, understanding cultural differences can help recruiters create job descriptions that more effectively appeal to different communities. For example, the Latinx community feels a more communal sense of identity, compared to the more individualistic sense of identity in European-American culture. Recruiters should keep this in mind when thinking about what necessary skills they are highlighting for available roles.
Click here to read the complete article on Bloomberg.
This year’s Annual Department of the Navy Gold Coast Conference, held September 6-8, 2022, focused on “Thriving as a Department of the Navy Small Business in a World of Global Challenges.”
In its 34th year, the Navy Gold Coast Conference is the nation’s premier Navy-centered small business procurement event and the only procurement event co-sponsored by the Department of the Navy’s(DON) Office of Small Business Programs.The Navy’s primary purpose in co-sponsoring the event with the San Diego Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is to educate, guide and assist businesses in providing vital goods and services to meet government needs, particularly in the Navy and Department of Defense.
This year’sNavy Gold Coast Conferenceattracted over 1,700 defense industrial base attendees, and almost 250 booths lined the exhibit hall with representatives from government acquisition offices and small, medium and large businesses.Many of these are owned and operated by service-disabled veterans (SDVOSBs) or participants in the federal government’s 8(a) Business Development Program.The federal government’s goal is to award at least 3 percent of all federal contracting dollars to SDVOSBs and 5 percent to disadvantaged businesses each year, and the Navy Gold Coast Conference
This year’s Navy Gold Coast Conference sponsors included Bank of America (Platinum), Unanet and Deltek(Diamond), Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, L3 Harris, BAE Systems, Raytheon Technologies (Gold) and over 40 small business sponsors.
navyNavyThe Keynote presentation was from the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), the Hon. Carlos Del Toro.Additional presentations included a discussion on Small Business and the Future by the Hon. Isabella Casillas Guzman, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); a briefing on Getting Started in Government Contracting from Mr. Michael Sabellico, Senior Procurement Advisor of the San Diego Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC); and a round table discussion on DON Supply Chain Readiness including Mr. Jimmy Smith (SES), Director, DON Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) and RADM Peter Stamatopoulous, Commander of Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP).
In addition to professional networking and small business matchmaking,a wide variety of issues affecting small business federal contracting were covered, includingExporting, Accounting Requirements, Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR), Mentor Protégé Programs, Racial Equality and Support for Underserved Communities, Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and How to do Business with the DON and Other Government Agencies
Navy Gold Coast Conference is also the venue for the NDIA San Diego Chapter’s“Twice a Citizen Award.” This award is given to Reserve Service or National Guard members from the San Diego Area.Nominees demonstrate leadership, self-sacrifice, commitment to service and outstanding overall performance.Nominees must also have provided exceptional professional performance while participating in contingency/support activities outside drill weekends.This year’s winners are Chief Petty Officer Joshua R. Berman, Chief Petty Officer Joseph A. Pisano, Chief Melanie A. Maldonado and Commander Ron Giusso.
Next year’s Gold Coast is scheduled for 26-28 July 2023 in San Diego.
Check out these multiple hiring events throughout the year, and the United States, that are connecting veterans with military friendly employers!
“Mission To Change The World, One Veteran At A Time”.
Who are we?
Our mission is to serve those who have served our country by assisting with the transition from military service to civilian employment. We help service members and military spouses become successful in the workforce. Our services are geared towards two types of candidates: those who are looking to join a top-tier company and those who are looking to start their own business.
Rockstar has become the latest in a string of energy drink companies to add a hemp-infused beverage to their offerings, so consumers can chill out while they rage.
But soldiers beware, these drinks have a slim chance of causing you to pop positive on a drug test.
“A single use of some hemp products may result in a positive drug test result for THC,” Matt Leonard, Army spokesperson, told Military Times.
“[Regulation] AR 600-85 prohibits soldiers from using products made or derived from hemp, including CBD, regardless of the product’s claimed or actual THC concentration and whether such product may be lawfully bought, sold, or used in the civilian marketplace,” Leonard said.
Hemp plants contain more cannabidiol (CBD) than cannabis, which contains more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although it’s unlikely, there’s no guarantee that hemp or CBD users will avoid showing positive for THC, which is what the Army tests.
“No test currently exists to identify the source of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a urine sample to determine if it was derived from illegal marijuana, or other products such as hemp energy drinks or Cannabidiol (CBD) infused products,” Leonard added.
“Hence, to protect the integrity of the Army’s drug testing program the only type of hemp products authorized within the Army Substance Abuse Program, Army Regulation (AR) 600-85 are those used as a durable good (eg. rope or clothing).”
So soldiers should avoid the hemp, unless you’re taking up twine-braiding or decide go on a hippie handmade hemp clothing bender. But it seems easy enough to abstain. These drinks aren’t exactly designed to keep the average soldier awake on duty.
Rockstar Unplugged, which comes in three flavors — blueberry, passion fruit and raspberry cucumber — isn’t meant to keep an exhausted person alert.
Click here to read the complete article posted on Yahoo!News.
RUSSELLVILLE, Arkansas — A large American flag hung by the local fire department blows with the wind as motorcyclists ride over a hill to the River Valley Veterans Memorial Park in Russellville.
They are riding as part of ‘Run for the Wall’, and are stopping to rest and eat at the memorial park along their journey. ‘Run for the Wall’ is an annual motorcycle ride in the United States that features parades around the country supporting Veterans and patriots traveling from Ontario, California to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.
They ride across the country to remember those Veterans missing in action, killed in action, or others who are prisoners of war.
Their ride through Arkansas counts as day 5 for them traveling from the West Coast to the east. While resting, they also honored the veterans remembered at the memorial.
“It’s the longest and hardest ride through the entire journey. We have a lot of miles to put in,” said Christina Roulston, the Arkansas state coordinator for ‘Run for the Wall’.
Roulston said the stop in Russellville is a new one. They usually stop for lunch in Coal Hill, Arkansas but the usual organization they work with has veterans who are aging and dealing with health problems. So unfortunately they weren’t able to feed them this year.