2020 Veterans Day free meals and restaurant deals and discounts - We Are The Mighty
Veterans

2020 Veterans Day free meals and restaurant deals and discounts

The following is a list of Veterans Day discounts at restaurants for 2020. Visit often as the list is now being updated as new discounts come in.

All of the discounts have been confirmed, either through press release or direct communication with the company. Check out all the other discounts being offered this Veterans Day.

Keep in mind that most businesses require proof of military service. What identification do you need to prove that you’re a veteran? Click here for a few common options.

Not all franchise locations participate in their national chain’s Veterans Day programs — be sure contact your nearest establishment to make sure they are participating.

Make sure to visit the Military.com Discounts Center for more discounts and articles. And sign up for the Military Deals and Discounts Newsletter to get even more discounts and information in your inbox on how Military Families can save big.

2020 Veterans Day Restaurant Discounts:

54th Street Grill — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal up to $12 on November 11. Dine-in only.

7-Eleven — Active-duty, retired, veteran, guard, reservists and family members get a free coffee or Big Gulp on November 11. (7-Eleven app and Veterans Advantage membership required.)

Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant — Veterans and active-duty military can choose one free entrée from the Veterans Day menu on November 11 at select locations.

Bandana’s BBQ — Veterans and active-duty military get a free Budget Buster Meal on November 11

Bar Louie — Active or retired military get a free craft burger or flatbread of your choice on November 11. Dine-in only.

BJ’s Restaurant and BrewhouseOn November 11, all current and former military members receive a free entree up to $14.95 plus a free Dr. Pepper beverage. Dine-in only.

Black Angus Steakhouse — On November 11, veterans get the All-American Steak Plate for $10.99. This deal is available for restaurant dining and takeaway orders.

Bob Evans — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal from a select menu on November 11. Dine-in only.

Brick House Tavern + Tap — Veterans get 20% off on November 11. Dine-in only.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. — Military personnel and their families receive 20% off on November 11. Dine-in only.

Buffalo Wild Wings — Veterans and active-duty service members get a free order of 10 boneless wings and fries on November 11. The offer is available for dine-in or takeout.

California Pizza Kitchen –Veterans and active military get a complimentary meal from a select menu. Dine-in and walk-in takeout only. 

Casey’s General Stores — Service members both past and present get a free coffee on November 11 across its over 2,200 locations.

Cattlemens — Active, inactive, and retired military personnel get a complimentary 8 oz. Sirloin Steak dinner on November 11.

CentraArchy Restaurants — Veterans and active-duty military members get an entree from the full menu at any location for half price on November 11. Guests are encouraged to make reservations.

Chili’sVeterans and active-duty service members get a free meal from a select menu on November 11. Available for in-restaurant only.

Cicis Pizza — Active and retired military get a free adult buffet on November 11. Dine-in only. Coupon required.

Coco’s — On November 11, veterans and active-duty service members get a free slice of pie, along with a “Buy One, Get One” free deal at all locations. The offer is valid for dine-in or take out orders; online and delivery not included.

Country Kitchen — Active and retired military get a free Country Scramble on November 11 at participating locations. Dine-in only.

Cracker BarrelVeterans get a complimentary slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake when dining at any location on November 11.

Eat’n Park — All former and current military personnel and their families will receive a 10% discount for the entire month of November. Dine-in only.

Einstein Bros. Bagels — Veterans and active-duty military get a free hot or iced medium coffee on November 11.

Famous Dave’sMilitary personnel get a free Free Georgia Chopped Pork Sandwich + Side at participating locations on November 11. Valid for Dine-In, To Go, and Online Ordering. Not valid for call in orders.

Farmer Boys — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free Big Cheese cheeseburger on November 11 at participating locations.

Friendly’s — Veterans and active-duty military get a free All-American meal for lunch or dinner, which consists of the All-American Burger, served with a side of fries and a drink on November 11. Dine-in only at participating locations.

Frisch’s Big Boy — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free meal, all day, up to $10 at participating locations on November 11. This tribute is available at Frisch’s dine-in, drive-thru and carryout.

Golden Corral — Golden Corral Restaurants’ Military Appreciation Night free dinner will be available on November 11. Military retirees, veterans, active-duty, National Guard and Reserves are all welcome.

Green Mill Restaurant and Bar — Veterans and active-duty military get a free menu item at participating locations on November 11. Dine-in only.

Hamburger Stand — Veterans and active-duty military get a free hamburger, regular fries and a small Pepsi on November 11.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar — On November 11, veterans and active-duty service members get a free Classic Burger (with or without cheese). This offer is redeemable for in-store dining or to-go orders placed by phone. 

Houlihan’s — Veterans, active-duty military and military families get $10 off a $30 food purchase at participating locations on November 11. This offer is valid for in-restaurant dining or for carryout. Orders made via houlihans.com or a third-party delivery service are not eligible.

Hy-Vee — Veterans and active military members get a free curbside pickup breakfast November 11 from 6 – 10 a.m.

Kolache Factory — Veterans and active-duty military get a free kolache and a cup of coffee on November 11 from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m.

LaMar’s Donuts — Veterans and active-duty military get a free donut and 12 oz. coffee at participating locations on November 11.

Little Caesars — Veterans and active military get a free HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo at participating stores on November 11, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Logan’s Roadhouse — On November 11 between 3 and 6 pm, veterans and military personnel receive a free meal from a special menu.

Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQActive-duty personnel and veterans get a free Lucille’s Original Pulled Pork Sandwich on November 11.

Luna Grill — Veterans and active-duty service members get a “Buy One, Get One Free” deal from November 11 through 13, valid for dine-in or to-go orders. (Not valid online or delivery.)

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants — Veterans, National Guard, Gold Star parents and Gold Star Spouses can enjoy a half priced entrée from a special menu on November 8. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Menchie’s — Veterans who visit stores on November 11 get their first 6 oz of froyo free.

Mission BBQ — Veterans and active-duty military get a free sandwich on November 11.

O’Charley’s – Active-duty military and veterans can enjoy a free meal on November 11. Dine-in only.

Pilot Flying J — Veterans get a free breakfast combo at participating locations November 9 through 15 through a special offer in the app.

Red Lobster — Veterans, active-duty military and reservists get a free appetizer or dessert from a select menu on November 11. Dine-in only.

Red Robin – Veterans and active-duty military who are Red Robin Royalty members can redeem a free Tavern Double Burger with Steak Fries any time between November 12 and 30 for dine-in or to-go. The offer will be automatically uploaded to your dashboard.

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery — Active-duty service members and veterans get a free meal from a select menu November 11. Dine-in only.

Sagebrush Steakhouse — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free meal on November 11. Dine-in only.

Shari’s — On November 11, veterans and active-duty service members get a free slice of pie, along with a “Buy One, Get One” free deal at all locations. The offer is valid for dine-in or take out orders; online and delivery not included.

Shoney’s — Veterans and active-duty service members get a free All You Care To Eat, Freshly Prepared Breakfast Bar on November 11 until 11 am. Dine-in only.

Starbucks — Veterans, military service members and military spouses get a free tall (12-oz) hot brewed coffeeat participating stores on November 11.

Tap House Grill — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal on November 11. Dine-in only.

Wienerschnitzel — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free Chili Dog, small fries and a small drink at participating locations on November 11.

Yard House — Veterans and active duty military receive a complimentary appetizer on November 11.

2019 Veterans Day Restaurant Discounts:

151 Coffee — Military personnel are invited to bring your family for free drinks on November 11.

Ahipoki — Veterans and active-duty military receive 50% off any bowl at all locations across Arizona and California on November 11

Another Broken Egg Cafe — Veterans and active-duty service members can enjoy a free Patriot French Toast Combo and coffee on November 11.

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza — Veterans and active military get a complimentary 12″ pizza on November 10 and 11.

Applebee’s — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free meal from a special menu on November 11.

Army & Air Force Exchange Service — The Exchange will feature one-day only specials on November 11, including a free coffee for all shoppers at Express and participating Exchange restaurant locations. And MILITARY STAR cardholders will earn double points November 11 andadditional discounts with their card.

Aroma Joe’s Coffee — Veterans and active-duty military get up to a 24oz drink for free on November 11.

Aspen Creek Grill — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimentary meal from a special menu from 11 a.m. to close on November 11.

Back Yard Burgers — On November 11, veterans get a free Classic Burger.

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free BD’s All American Burger and side on November 11 at participating locations.

Bagger Dave’s — Active, non-active, reservists and retired personnel get a free Great American Cheeseburger and Fries on November 11.

Bakers Square — Active-duty military and veterans can enjoy a free meal on November 11.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s — Veterans will be offered a free meal with purchase of equal or greater value up to $10 on November 11

BIBIBOP Asian Grill — Veterans and active-duty military get a free bowl on November 11.

Biggby Coffee — Veterans and active-duty service members get a free brewed coffee up to 24 oz. on November 11.

Bombshells Restaurant and Bar — Veterans and active-duty military get free meals and soft drinks and a 20% discount for accompanying family members on November 11.

Bonanza Steakhouses — Veterans and active military get buffet specials at select locations on November 11.

Bruegger’s Bagels — Active-duty military members, veterans, reservists and military spouses get a free bagel with cream cheese on November 11.

Buffalo Wings & Rings — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free “Pick 2” Lunch Combo on November 11 between 11 am and 3 pm.

Burntwood Tavern — Veterans and active military get a free lunch or dinner on November 11.

Calhoun’s — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal on November 11.

Cantina Laredo — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimentary meal up to $20 at participating locations on November 11.

Carrabba’s — This Veterans Day weekend, veterans and active-duty military receive a free calamari and 10% off on all future visits.

Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse — Veterans and active-duty military get a free entree from a special menu from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm. on November 11.

Chicken Salad Chick — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military will receive a free Chick Special and Regular Drink.

Chipotle — Active-duty military, reserves, national guard, military spouses and retired military get a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deal on November 11.

Chop House — On November 11, active-duty and retired service members get 50% off any dine-in lunch or dinner entree.

City Barbecue — Veterans and active-duty military get a free sandwich, two sides, and a regular beverage on November 11.

Claim Jumper — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military get a free entree up to $15 from a special menu.

Coffee Beanery — Veterans and active-duty military get a free tall cup of fresh brewed coffee all day on November 11.

Connors Steak & Seafood — On November 11, active-duty and retired service members get 50% off any dine-in lunch or dinner entree.

Cotton Patch Cafe — Veterans and active-duty military get a free chicken fried steak or chicken fried chicken on November 11.

Country CookinActive, reserve, retired, and honorably discharged members of the military receive a free salad bar or $5 off any entree on November 11 when showing a valid military ID and filling out the service card.

Crooked Pint Ale House — Veterans and active-duty military get a free menu item on November 11 at participating locations.

Cumberland Farms — Veterans, active-duty, reserve, National Guard or honorably discharged military personnel get a free coffee on November 11.

Denny’s — Veterans and military personnel get a free Build Your Own Grand Slam on November 11, from 5 a.m. to noon.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit — Veterans and active-duty military get a free Classic Sandwich and choice of side on November 11.

Dunkin’ Donuts — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military receive a free donut at participating locations.

East Coast Wings + Grill — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal from a selected menu on November 11.

Egg Harbor Cafe — Veterans and active military get a free meal on November 11.

El Chico — Veterans and active-duty military get a free entree on November 11.

El Fenix — Veterans eat free November 11, with your choice of Cheese, Chicken or Beef Enchiladas or Chicken or Beef Tacos, served with rice and beans.

Emmet’s Social Table — Veterans and troops get a free meal on November 10 and 11.

Fatz Cafe — Veterans and active military get a free World Famous Calabash Chicken basket on November 11. And from November 1 through 30, veterans and active military members will receive 20% off their entrée.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill — Dine with a veteran or active-duty service member on November 11 and their lunch or dinner is free.

Fogo de Chão — Veterans will receive 50% off their meal, plus an additional 10% off for up to three guests, November 8 through 11.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers — Veterans and current military personnel get a free combo meal card on November 11 that can used until November 30, 2019.

Friendly Toast — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military personnel receive a free meal.

Furr’s Fresh Buffet — On November 11, veterans get a free buffet plus a non-bottled beverage at participating restaurants.

Ginger Monkey — Veterans and active-duty military will receive a complimentary entree up to $12.

Glory Days Grill — Veterans get a free appetizer or a regular order of boneless wings on November 11.

Gold Star Chili — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free 3-Way & drink on November 11.

Gordon Biersch — Veterans receive a free entrée from a select menu on November 11.

Greene Turtle — Current service members and veterans get a complimentary $14 meal on November 11.

Grillsmith — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimentary entrée on November 11.

Grub Burger Bar — Active, inactive and retired military personnel get a complimentary entree on November 11 at all locations.

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream — Veterans and military personnel get a free single cone on November 11.

Hickory Tavern — Veterans and active-duty military get a free ‘Merica’s Burger on November 11 with the purchase of a beverage.

HomeTown Buffet — On November 11, veterans get a free buffet plus a non-bottled beverage at participating restaurants.

Hooters — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal from a select menu at participating locations on November 11.

Hoss’s Steak and Sea House — Veterans get a free salad bar on November 11.

Huddle House — Active-duty, retired, and veteran military members get a free order of Sweet Cakes November 8 through 11.

Hurricane Grill and Wings — Veterans and active military get a free entrée from a special menu on November 11. Plus, participating guests will also receive a card for 10% off future visits through December 31.

IHOP — Veterans and active-duty military get a free red, white, and blueberry pancake combo on November 11 at participating locations.

IKEA — Veterans get a free meal November 9 through 11

Insomnia Cookies — Veterans and active-duty military personnel get a free traditional cookie all week, November 11 through 17.

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant — On November 10 and 11, veterans and active-duty service members get a complimentary burger or sandwich along with a non-alcoholic beverage.

J. Christopher’s –Veterans get a free meal at participating locations on November 11.

Jimboy’s Tacos — Veterans get a free meal on November 11 at participating locations. Meals have a $10 max value.

Joe’s Crab Shack — Veterans receive 20% off at participating locations on November 11.

Juice It Up — Veterans and active military receive a free 20oz Classic Smoothie on November 11 at participating locations.

K&W Cafeterias — Veterans and active-duty get a free meal on November 11 from 11 am until closing.

Kings Family Restaurant — Veterans and active military members get a free meal from a select menu on November 11.

Kwik Fill — Veterans receive a free coffee on November 11.

LongHorn Steakhouse — Veterans get 10% off your entire meal and a free appetizer or dessert on November 11.

Lucky Girl Brewing — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free pulled pork or brisket sandwich with a side at Lucky Girl Brewing or a free flat bread pizza at B52 Winery on November 9, 10, and 11.

Lucky Strike Entertainment — Active, inactive and retired military personnel get complimentary 1 hour of bowling, as well as a burger and beer for $10 on November 11.

Macaroni Grill — Veterans and active military receive a free Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs + Spaghetti on November 11.

MacKenzie River — Veterans and active-duty military receive 25% off for their entire table on November 11.

Main Event — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military receive 30 minutes of game play that can be used on more than 100 interactive video games and a free entrée from a special menu.

Manhattan Bagel Company — All active, former and retired military personnel get a free bagel and cream cheese at participating locations on November 11.

Margaritas Mexican Restaurant — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military receive two complimentary entrees.

Max & Erma’s – Veterans and active-duty military get a free Cheeseburger, Endless Fries and Fountain Drink on November 11 at participating locations.

Metro Diner — Active duty and retired military get 50% off their meal on November 11.

MOD Pizza — Active military and veterans get a buy-one get-one free MOD-size pizza or salad on November 11.

Native Grill & Wings — Veterans receive a free entrée up to $11.99 on November 11.

Ninety Nine Restaurant and Pub — On November 11 from 11 am to 4 pm, veterans and active military get a free lunch from a select menu with purchase of an entree.

Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom — Active-duty service members and veterans get a free Specialty or up to 3 topping individual pizza with purchase, November 8 through 11 at participating locations. Not valid at OC Logan or OC Manhattan.

Old Country Buffet — On November 11, veterans get a free buffet plus a non-bottled beverage at participating restaurants.

On the Border — On November 11, active and retired service members receive a free meal from a select menu at participating locations.

Orange Leaf — Retired and active-duty military receive free froyo at participating locations on November 11.

Otter’s Chicken — Active, Guard/Reserve, retirees and former service members get a free meal at participating locations on November 11.

Outback Steakhouse — Veterans get 20% off November 8 through 11.

Paisano’s Pizza — Veterans and active-duty military get a free Large 1-Topping Pizza on November 11.

Pala Casino — Veterans and active-duty military get a free buffet on November 11.

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimentary 3-course pork chop dinner on November 10 from 4 to 9 p.m. Each veteran must be accompanied by at least one guest who purchases an entree or Sunday Supper Special.

Ponderosa — Veterans and active military get buffet specials at select locations on November 11.

Price Chopper Supermarkets — Veterans, active-duty, reserve and national guard military get a free 12oz. Coffee & Donut on November 11.

Primanti Bros. — Active or retired military can enjoy a free Primanti Bros. Almost Famous sandwich November 10 and 11.

Quaker Steak & Lube — Veterans, active-duty and Reservist service members get free or discounted meals at participating locations on November 11.

RA Sushi — Veterans, active and retired military can enjoy a complimentary shareable on November 11, available all day.

Rock and Brews — Veterans and active military personnel receive a complimentary pulled pork sandwich or salad on November 11.

Rodizio Grill — Veterans eat free November 11 through 14 with the purchase of at least one Adult Full Rodizio meal at participating locations.

Roy Rogers — Present a military ID or proof of service to receive 10% off your entire purchase on November 11.

Rubio’s Coastal Grill — Get a buy one entree get one free deal on November 11 with coupon and military ID.

Ruby Tuesday — Former and active-duty service members get a free Burger or Sandwich served with fries or tots on November 11.

Ryan’s — On November 11, veterans get a free buffet plus a non-bottled beverage at participating restaurants.

Sauce Pizza & Wine — On November 11, all locations will honor veterans with 25% off their bill.

Scooter’s Coffee — Veterans and current military personnel get a free drink of any size on November 11.

Shane’s Rib Shack — Active-duty military and veterans get a free sandwich, regular side, and 20-oz. beverage November 11 through 13 at participating locations.

Sheetz — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military personnel get a free 6 inch turkey sub and a regular size fountain drink. Sheetz locations offering car washes will also provide a free car wash to veterans and active-duty military.

Sizzler — Veterans get a free complete lunch from a special menu on November 11 at participating locations until 4 pm.

Smashburger — Veterans and active-duty military get a free double burger on November 11 with any purchase.

Smokey Bones — Veterans and active-duty military get a free dessert from a select menu on November 11.

Smoothie King — On November 11, veterans and active-duty military get a free 20 oz. smoothie.

Snarf’s Sandwiches — Active-duty military and veterans receive a free 7 inch non-specialty sandwich on November 11.

Sonny’s BBQ — Veterans and active-duty military get a free Pulled or Sliced Pork Big Deal combo on November 11.

Spaghetti Warehouse — From November 9 through 11, buy one entrée and get the second entrée free. Coupon required.

sweetFrog — Veterans and active military personnel get a free 12-oz yogurt on November 11.

Taco Mac — On November 11, active military members and veterans get a free 6-pack of wings with purchase a drink.

TCBY — Veterans and active military personnel get their first 6 oz. of frozen yogurt for free on November 11 with valid proof of service at participating locations. 

Texas de Brazil — Veterans receive 50% off dinner November 11 through 13 during dinner hours.

Texas Roadhouse — Veterans and active-duty military get a free lunch on November 11 from 11 am to 4 pm.

Texas Steakhouse and Saloon — Veterans get a free meal from a select menu on November 11.

Tijuana Flats — Active-duty military and veterans will receive 50% off all adult entrees on November 11.

TooJay’s — Veterans and active-duty military get a free entree from a special menu on November 11.

TravelCenters of America — Active-duty military, veterans and reservists get a complimentary meal on November 11 at participating Country Pride and Iron Skillet restaurants nationwide.

Tucanos Brazilian Grill — Veterans get a free Churrasco meal with the purchase of another Churrasco meal, November 8 through 12.

Twin Peaks — Veterans, active-duty military and reservists will eat for free from a select menu on November 11.

Village InnActive-duty military and veterans can enjoy a free meal on November 11

Wawa — Veterans, active military members, and family members get a free cup of coffee on November 11.

West Alley BBQ & Smokehouse — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimentary 1/2 rack rib platter with two sides on November 11.

White Castle — Veterans and active-duty military receive a free Combo Meal or Breakfast Combo Meal on November 11.

Wild Wing Cafe — Veterans get 6 wings or nuggets in your favorite sauce with a purchase of a drink on November 11 at participating locations.

WingHouse Bar & Grill — Veterans and active-duty military members get a free meal from a select menu on November 11 at participating locations. Beverage purchase required.

Yogurtology — Veterans and active-duty military personnel get free 5 oz. servings of frozen yogurt at participating locations on November 11.

Ziggi’s Coffee — Veterans get a free 16 oz. drink on November 11.

Zoёs Kitchen — Active-duty military and veterans receive a free entrée with the purchase of another entrée on November 11.

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

MIGHTY CULTURE

A guy who travels the US to mow lawns for veterans has a new Christmas mission

Rodney Smith is gearing up for a trip to Alaska. He’s already been to all of the lower 48 U.S. states. He’s on a mission to provide free lawn care to the elderly, the disabled, single mothers, and veterans. He’s the founder of a nonprofit for youth which is aimed at community development.

He’s showing everyone in America his dedication to service, and he’s doing it the way he knows best: mowing lawns.


He is the founder of Raising Men Lawn Care Service, a way for young people to give back to their community while learning the ins and outs of the lawn-care industry. Smith doesn’t limit his services to mowing, just like any other lawn-care service. Raking leaves and shoveling snow are just a couple of the services he and his cadre of volunteers offer.

As he travels the United States, he takes requests, even going so far to post his phone number on Twitter. He mows lawns in the dark, just to get one more in for that day. He’ll even do what he calls a “mow by,” completing a lawn-care service for someone in need, even when they aren’t home.

Of course, it’s better if they’re home. Then the family can meet the incredible individual who enjoys giving back and mowing lawns so much he’ll go to disaster sites, like storm-stricken Virginia.

Smith started mowing lawns for free in 2015 after driving by an elderly man struggling to mow his lawn. He stopped his car, got out, and finished the lawn for the man.

A small act of kindness grew into all this,” he says. “You never know what someone is going through and you touch them a certain way.”

After that act of kindness, he founded his nonprofit in his hometown of Huntsville, Ala. while he was working on a degree in computer science. He used to mow lawns in between classes, a challenge for his studies but one he took with zeal. Then, he challenged others to something similar. He wanted kids to mow 50 lawns after posting a photo of them accepting the 50-Yard Challenge.

I show kids the importance of giving back to their community,” Smith says. He now boasts hundreds of volunteer lawn care experts through Raising Men. “At first they didn’t like it… but they see the smiles and it shows them a different side of life.

They didn’t know it when the accepted the challenge, but Smith would present the kids with a new lawn mower upon completing their 50th yard.

He challenged himself again with the task of mowing “50 Yards in 50 States.” In 2017, he drove to all lower 48 states and flew to Alaska and Hawaii. In May, 2018, he started doing it all again, visiting 20 states within three weeks. He’s not just mowing one lawn in each state, either. He often mows up to four per day as he travels. And when he comes across those in need, he stops to hear their story and help out.

And now he finds himself with a different challenge.

In 2017, Smith traveled to all the major urban areas in Tennessee and Alabama, dressed as Santa Claus to deliver gifts to the area’s homeless population. For 2018, the big-hearted lawn mower said he wanted to go even bigger. On Nov. 26, 2018, he began another nationwide tour, to visit each state and meet with at least two people or groups who are homeless and deliver gifts that will make them happy.

He wants to deliver true Christmas cheer. Not content to give and take a photo before moving on, he wants to sit with them, talk, find out how they became homeless, and try to understand what the season means for them.

Rodney Smith covered the lower 48 states in just 22 days. As of Dec. 18, 2018, he was on his way to Alaska to continue his mission.

Every day is tough when you’re homeless, but it’s terribly difficult this time of year – both physically and mentally,” Smith said. “If I can help make even a few people more comfortable and happy, I want to do it. It may sound crazy, but I believe if we all helped just one person where we live, the results would be astonishing.

To make donations, visit Hopefortheholidaystour.com. To follow Rodney and hear stories from those he meets, visit him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

This is how Vietnam War veterans will be honored at the World Series

On behalf of the upcoming film Last Flag Flying, Amazon Studios partnered with We Are The Mighty to donate two World Series tickets to a lucky veteran in the Los Angeles area.


When Army veteran Greg Alaimo was told he’d won tickets to the World Series, he couldn’t believe it. “You won’t believe it either!” he told We Are The Mighty.

Alaimo, a Vietnam War veteran and Bronze Medal recipient, had assisted the Los Angeles Dodgers in finding recommendations for Vietnam War veterans for their Hero Of The Game. After Alaimo received the final list (which includes men like Medal of Honor recipient Ray Vargas and Charlie Plumb, who was a POW for 6 years during the war), he realized he wanted to meet the men on it.

“The heroes they chose are amazing. I called my contact and thanked him for allowing me to participate. I then asked if I could purchase two tickets. He regretfully indicated no tickets were available. I wanted to visit with those chosen for this is the first time the Dodgers have honored Vietnam veterans at a World Series.”

2020 Veterans Day free meals and restaurant deals and discounts
Alaimo and his unit Bravo 1-7 on stand down in Bien Hoa, home of the First Infantry Division, The Big Red One, just below Saigon. (Photo courtesy of Greg Alaimo)

That’s when Amazon teamed up with We Are The Mighty to give out another set of tickets.

“When I was contacted about winning the tickets I thought it was a joke. I’m holding two great tickets for [Game Two] and I’ll meet those representing all Vietnam Vets — amazing.”

They’re not the only “amazing” ones. Alaimo has an impressive service history himself — during Active Duty and beyond. After fighting in Vietnam with the First Infantry Division, Alaimo returned home and became “the go-to guy” if veterans need help. A member of American Legion Hollywood Post 43, Alaimo says it’s important for him to connect with the veteran community because he doesn’t want them to be treated the way he was after he returned from Vietnam.

“They need to know we respect them and are grateful for their sacrifice, as well as the sacrifice of their families.”

Alaimo will be taking his good friend, and fellow veteran advocate, Charlie Cusumano with him to the game. We asked who they’ll be rooting for:

“Duh????? Go Blue! DODGERS!!!!!”
MIGHTY TRENDING

Now this is a proper funeral procession for a vet

After being lost for 66 years on a battlefield a world away, Sgt. Philip James Iyotte returned home to South Dakota last week. In so doing, the Army veteran killed so long ago in the Korean Conflict brought with him the tears of a nation melded with the happiness of his homecoming.


As a young man, Iyotte was given the Lakota name Akicita Isnala Najin, meaning “Soldier Who Stands Alone.” But in two days of observances on Oct. 24 and 25, Iyotte was feted as a proud warrior who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that his countrymen could live in peace. And he will never again stand alone.

Just 20 years old when he enlisted in the Army in 1950, Iyotte was assigned to the 21st Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division and soon was deployed to the Korean theater. Seriously injured in battle by fragments from an enemy missile on Sept. 2, 1950, Iyotte was hospitalized for treatment but returned to his regiment in just 19 days.

Then, on Feb. 9, 1951, while in the heat of battle yet again near Seoul, Iyotte and several of his fellow soldiers were captured by Chinese forces and marched to a prisoner of war camp. Shot in the stomach by his captors and suffering from gangrene, Iyotte could not join two of his fellow Native American POWs in their flight for freedom. Instead, the young warrior sang them a Lakota honor song before their successful escape.

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American M26 Pershing tanks in downtown Seoul, South Korea, in the Second Battle of Seoul during the Korean War. In the foreground, United Nations troops round up North Korean prisoners-of-war. Photo from the Naval Historical Center.

Then, the Lakota warrior disappeared for more than six decades, leaving behind anguished parents and 13 siblings who knew not what had become of their fearless son and eldest brother.

Waiting game

In the years since the last word of the Lakota warrior filtered down to rural South Dakota, the Iyotte family never gave up hope for the warrior who mysteriously disappeared at the hands of his Chinese captors. They maintained contact with the Army and attended meetings conducted by the Army’s Past Conflict Repatriations Branch, also known as the Army Casualty Office. And they provided DNA samples and contacted their state’s congressional delegation asking for assistance in finding their lost sergeant.

Read Also: Remains of fighter pilot hero return home after 10 years

Eva Iyotte, 63, the youngest child of the large family, wasn’t even born when her oldest brother disappeared into the Chinese POW camp. But as she grew up, revering a soldier she had never met, Eva promised her father on his deathbed that she would work to bring her brother home.

In August, the Army informed the family that Sgt. Iyotte’s remains had been identified with the assistance of Chinese officials. In short order, the serviceman’s remains were transported to Hawaii before being transferred to his South Dakota homeland.

Grand procession

On Oct. 24, Eva and her 40-year-old daughter, Dera, made the trek from their White River residence to a funeral home in Rapid City to retrieve the serviceman’s remains and begin two days of observances in honor of Sgt. Iyotte and his service to a grateful nation.

But what they encountered left them in wonderment. And what Sgt. Iyotte’s return created over the ensuing two days united Native nations, veterans of all colors and stripes, and a handful of remote reservation communities that dot western South Dakota.

“When we arrived at Kirk Funeral Home, there were probably 75 people waiting, including the Black Hills Chapter of the American Legion Motorcycle Riders, two honor guards, including Chauncey Eagle Horn and the Rosebud Legion Post honor guard, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe veteran’s group,” Dera said. “It was so amazing.”

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Photo courtesy of the American Legion Riders.

Promptly at 10 a.m., the procession left Rapid City with an escort from the South Dakota Highway Patrol and stopped in Interior to top off the bikes, before being met at the reservation border by an escort from the Oglala Sioux Tribal Police. Along the way, the procession grew to two miles in length. At Wanblee and a stop at the Eagle Nest College Center, virtually the entire town and tribal elders greeted the procession, before Richard Moves Camp offered prayers and the Eagle Nest singers sang a Korean honor song.

“It was a riveting moment, and we were so overwhelmed with love,” Dera recalled last week. “I could not believe how much love our people poured out to Philip. It was the most beautiful moment of my life, the whole day.”

“This was a man they never met, but a warrior, a hero,” she added. “They came out en masse to greet him. I loved the unity and happiness he brought to the whole state of South Dakota.”

As the procession departed Wanblee, Dera and Eva began noticing rural residents standing along the highway at the end of their driveways, many waving, others with their hand over their heart. Veterans stood alone on that endless highway, several in their uniforms, saluting the fallen soldier.

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The procession for Sgt. Iyotte rides through Wanblee, South Dakota. Screengrab from a Rosebud Sioux Tribe YouTube video.

“Somewhere along the way, we passed a young man, maybe 14 years old, who was standing on the side of the road with his hand on his heart, just crying,” Dera said. “It was clear that Philip had brought the tears of a nation and happiness to his home. It’s been a long time since our nation cried tears of happiness, and that’s what he brought.”

Leaving Wanblee and proceeding toward the Rosebud Indian Reservation, still more local residents stood along the highway paying tribute to the soldier. At the reservation line, Rosebud Tribal Police Capt. Hawkeye Waln greeted the procession and escorted it to the Corn Creek community, with families standing at every turnout, many with American flags. Rosebud Councilman Russell Eagle Bear joined the motorcade, which headed south to the Black Pipe community, where they discovered every student and teacher with the Head Start program standing outside, all smiling and waving.

“I even saw a couple of homeless veterans carrying flags,” Eva said, her voice breaking as her eyes teared. “That really touched me. They showed such heart and such compassion in bringing this warrior home.”

“They say there are bad relations in South Dakota, but everyone knows Philip was just a veteran like them. Perhaps it’s time for healing and reconciliation.”

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Flag of the Rosebud Indian Reservation from Wikimedia Commons user Elevatorrailfan.

At Parmelee, known to the Lakota as Wososo, once the capital of the reservation, the entire town turned out to welcome their lost warrior.

“They had it decked out so beautifully, with random soldiers, brothers, and sisters of the struggle standing at attention,” Dera remembered. “I just cried. To see them come to attention after so many years, their pride so evident, was all you could ask out of your people.”

And the procession continued to grow. Dera’s brother, tribal policeman Bryan Waukazoo, estimated the line of the procession at seven miles.

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The procession for Sgt. Iyotte was estimated by some as being more than 15 miles long. Screengrab from a Rosebud Sioux Tribe YouTube video.

Moving forward on BIA Highway 1 past the Ironwood community, with observers manning every approach, the convoy drove through the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Forest, sacred as the final resting place of many of the tribe’s legendary warriors.

“I wanted Philip to go by our leaders because he was a great warrior, so that they could see him as well and sense the forest because that is our greatest resource as a nation – our land and water,” Dera noted.

But the surviving Iyottes were unprepared for their greeting at the town of Rosebud. As they crested the hill above the community, they were met by the students and teachers of St. Francis Indian School and stopped for two Korean honor songs, and enough time for them to show appropriate respect for Eva, who had spent a lifetime looking for her brother. In turn, each student gave the lone sibling survivor a handshake or a hug.

As the throng headed down the hill to Rosebud, a fire engine from nearby Valentine, Neb., had its ladder extended, supporting a giant American flag, while townspeople lined the streets.

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American Flag Hanging from Fire Truck Ladders. Photo from the City of Ludington.

“As we neared the fairgrounds at Rosebud, we were met by at least 2,000 people, a huge crowd, and they greeted my uncle like he was sitting in the back of a convertible,” Dera observed. “The unity was simply amazing.”

Still 30 miles from their destination, trailing nine miles of cars, the procession turned north onto US Highway 18 for White River. Ten miles from that town stood Navy veteran Leonard Wright, decked out in his dress whites, saluting his fellow serviceman in the middle of nowhere.

Horseback riders joined the solemn parade six miles from White River and Philip’s remains, contained in a simple pine casket, were transferred from a hearse to a horse-drawn wagon driven by John Farmer, whose parents, the late Eddie and Tressie Farmer, had long supported Eva’s quest to bring her brother home.

Ever so slowly, the procession now estimated at 12-15 miles long, then followed the wagon through White River to Sgt. Iyotte’s sister’s home, where a tipi stood on the lawn in the Swift Bear community. A medicine man offered a homecoming prayer and the Red Leaf Singers, led by Pat Bad Hand Sr., sang several Wakte Gli (coming home) songs, which told the story of Philip’s enlisting, of his injuries suffered in battle, of his rejoining the war, getting captured, and, ultimately, his untimely death.

Related: WWII veteran’s remains return home 74 years after ill-fated mission

“It was powerful and one of the most riveting experiences I’ve ever seen, a tribute to Philip’s sacrifice in serving his country and his people,” Dera said.

As the sun set that Oct. 24, Philip’s casket was loaded into a pickup and taken to the White River School gymnasium, which had been decorated by family members and local veterans. Prayers were said and a POW/MIA dinner took place, conducted by retired US Marine Corps veteran Brenda White Bull, the granddaughter of Sitting Bull, One Bull, and White Bull, all noted Sioux warriors.

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After 66 years, Sgt. Philip Iyotte is finally brought home from Korea to South Dakota. Screengrab from a Rosebud Sioux Tribe YouTube video.

During a veterans roll call, Korean vets Dennis Spotted Tail, Homer Whirlwind Soldier, and Eugene Iron Shell Sr., the latter of whom attended school with Philip, were recognized. As the roll call, conducted in darkness, concluded, the final name called was Sgt.Philip J. Iyotte, whose name was repeated three times. Then someone spoke for the fallen warrior and said, “Sgt. Iyotte has gone to the great beyond.”

As the long day and reverential evening ceremony came to its finale, taps was played, followed by the Lakota Flag Song. Then every woman in attendance gave Philip a trill, the highest form of respect a woman can give a warrior.

“Never have I heard that many trills in my life,” Dera said, the memory still sending a chill up her spine. “I think some were from woman of the past, from every corner, from every place, a powerful thing in our nation.”

Laid to rest

Last week, on the sunny morning of Oct. 25, at the urging of Gov. Dennis Daugaard, flags in South Dakota were lowered to half-staff in recognition of Sgt. Iyotte’s service and sacrifice. In Washington, DC, flags also were lowered and the serviceman’s name and honors were entered into the Congressional Record.

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Photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth.

Half a nation away, at the tiny White River School gymnasium, Larry Zimmerman, secretary of the state Department of Veterans Affairs, gave remarks, followed by short speeches from representatives of US Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds, all lauding the young serviceman lost so long ago.

Before embarking on Sgt. Iyotte’s final journey to his resting place, Vietnam Army veteran Trudell Guerue, whose own uncle, John, is still missing in action from an American conflict, presented Eva with a handmade 24th Infantry Division flag made by his wife. Episcopal Church Bishop John Tarrant provided a blessing.

Sgt. Iyotte took his last ride on earth in a horse-drawn wagon to the family plot in a Two Kettle cemetery, escorted by horseback riders and making a slow, plodding trek up a hill, flags at half-staff streaming in a gentle breeze.

More prayers were made at the cemetery, followed by a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps. As the final notes spread across the prairie, a Black Hawk helicopter flew in from the east, passing over the assembled crowd and leaving several hundred people in awe in its wake. A member of the honor guard reverentially presented Eva with the folded flag that had cloaked her brother’s casket.

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A member of the Honor Guard presents a folded American flag to Eva Iyotte, the lone surviving sibling of Sgt. Philip Iyotte. Photo courtesy of South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations.

Wrapped in a buffalo robe, handmade moccasins with porcupine quillwork at his feet, and enough wasna (pemmican with crushed berries and buffalo jerky) “to last him long enough on his final journey to the new camp where he will find his relatives,” Sgt.Philip James Iyotte was laid to rest, ending a 66-year odyssey that took him from the rolling plains of South Dakota to a Korean battlefield and back home again.

As the graveside ceremony concluded, the serviceman’s nephews and grandsons began covering his casket with sacred soil. As they did, two bald eagles soared on the updrafts overhead, as if acknowledging the return of a young man taken too soon and a warrior never to be forgotten.

“That’s how we knew Philip was home,” Dera said.

MIGHTY TRENDING

This is what happened when the VA tried to slash money for homeless veterans

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin told a group of veteran advocates that he was cutting funding to a program that addresses veteran homelessness, according to a Dec. 6 report from Politico.


The conversation reportedly happened over the phone, with “advocates for veterans, state officials, and even officials from HUD” reacting to the news from Shulkin in outright anger.

The program, co-sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), allocates $460 million a year to housing homeless veterans. It seems to have been working, too, as veteran homelessness is down 46 percent from 2010.

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First, La Crosse. Next, the country? (Photo from Tomah VA Medical Center)

Nevertheless, Shulkin determined that nearly $1 billion should be moved from “specific purpose” funds to “general purpose” funds. This means moving all of the funding used specifically to ameliorate veterans homelessness.

According to a Sept. 2 memo, the VA believes that money designated to specific programs, like addressing veteran homelessness, transplant programs, amputation care, and women’s health, would be better used in a general fund, leaving veterans hospitals to decide for themselves how to use the money. The memo states that the move is designed to support “the Secretary’s five priorities” and could be used for administrative things, like hiring more VA employees.

The memo does not state how each individual hospital must use its newfound funds. Rather, it simply notes that network directors will have control over how much (if any) to give to specific programs.

Also Read: This city ended veteran homelessness in just 100 days

The Senate Committee on Appropriations responded to Shulkin’s plans to move the funds with a bipartisan, strongly worded letter signed by every member. In it, the committee reminded the Secretary of Veterans Affairs that his department had previously been extended the privilege of flexibility to move money without review because of its willingness to be transparent. That transparency, the letter argued, would all but disappear should Shulkin divert the specific purpose funds.

The letter closed with what seemed like a warning in the form of a suggestion: Stop, think, and before you do anything, submit to us a detailed “funding allocation plan” in the future.

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Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin. Photo courtesy of VA.

It didn’t take long for Shulkin to shift gears and reverse his earlier statements. “There will be absolutely no change in the funding to support our homeless programs,” Shulkin wrote in a statement released Dec. 6.

However, Shulkin added, “we will not be shifting any homeless program money to the Choice program.” It is not immediately clear whether the Choice program is where Shulkin suggested the funds would go in his Dec. 1 phone call.

Upon further review of the VA’s budget brief, the department does, in fact, plan to cut funding from “certain Veterans’ benefit programs” to offset the cost of money borrowed from the nearly bankrupt Veterans Choice Program, a program designed to offer veterans medical care closer to where they reside.

The brief does not specify which programs will be cut.

Veterans

Bettie J. Morden: A driver for women’s rights

Veteran Bettie J. Morden was an advocate for women’s rights in the military and later became a quintessential historian, sharing her stories on and off the field.

Bettie J. Morden dedicated her life to the U.S. Army in active service and beyond. She was born in August 1921 in Huron, St. Clair County, Michigan. She grew up with her parents, William James Morden and Leah Marie “Bonney” Morden, and five siblings.

In 1939, Morden graduated from high school. The following year, she attended Cleary Business College in Ypsilanti, Michigan. During this time, she also worked as a corporate office secretary.

On Oct. 14, 1942, shortly after her 21st birthday, Morden became one of the first women to enlist in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). She completed basic and administrative training at the first WAAC Training Center in Fort Des Moines, Iowa.

During World War II, Morden served at the Third Women’s Army Corps (WAC) Training Center in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. As a member of the WAC, Morden was quickly promoted to first sergeant of the Headquarters Company, South Post, at Fort Oglethorpe.

When World War II ended, Morden was discharged from the Army. She began studying at Columbia University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1949 and a Master of English in 1950.

In September 1949, Morden joined the U.S. Army Reserve. She became a second lieutenant in the WAC in 1950. In 1952, she returned to active duty as a first lieutenant. She served for 21 years on active duty and worked as a personnel officer with the National Security and Army Security Agencies. Morden also acted as a personnel staff officer at the Defense Language Institute in Washington, D.C.

Morden commanded WAC detachments at Fort Riley, Kansas, as well as Heidelberg and Pirmasens in Germany. At Fort McClellan, Alabama, she served as the commander of the WAC Training Battalion. In Washington, D.C., Morden was the first executive officer at the Office of the Director WAC. She then served as deputy director to two WAC directors, Brig. Gen. Elizabeth P. Hoisington and Brig. Gen. Mildred I. C. Bailey.

Morden also served during the Korean War and Vietnam War. On Dec. 31, 1972, she retired with the rank of colonel. For her service, she received the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Joint Services Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. She was also a graduate of the WAC Officers’ Advanced Course; Command & General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and the Army Management School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Two years later, Morden came out of retirement to write the second volume in the Army Historical Series, “The Women’s Army Corps 1945-1978,” which was published by the U.S. Army Center of Military History. Her work detailing the history of the WAC was a significant contribution to military history and highlighted women’s achievements in the military. Morden wrote about WAC directorship and outlined the WAC’s struggle to gain Army and reserve status. Her book also helped give women military credit for WAC service – only after Morden’s book was published were women able to attain a rank of lieutenant colonel or higher.

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A PDF copy of the book is available for download here.

Morden continued working as an associate staff historian at the Center of Military History until her book was officially published in 1990. In 1991, “The Women’s Army Corps 1945-1978” won the Distinguished Book Award from the Society of Military Historians.

After she retired again, Morden remained an active supporter of women Veterans. For over 30 years, she served as the president of the WAC Museum Foundation. During this time, she campaigned to raise money for the WAC Museum building at Fort McClellan.

When the WAC Museum at Fort McClellan closed, Morden successfully relocated the museum to Fort Lee, Virginia. The new U.S. Army Women’s Museum opened on May 11, 2011. It occupies 13,000 square feet and honors all women soldiers. This space is the only museum in the world dedicated to preserving and sharing the stories and contributions of women in the Army.

Five weeks after the museum’s dedication, Morden resigned as her inoperable breast cancer worsened. Morden passed away on Oct. 12, 2001. She was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

We honor her service.

This article originally appeared on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

Articles

A ‘silent service’ vet will front the military’s biggest music festival

Josh Anchondo started his adult life in the Navy, specifically Kings Bay, Georgia. Now, he’s self-styled luxury-events emcee known as DJ Supreme1 and his work takes him to the party hotspots of South Florida and Las Vegas. But he loves to give back to groups like Toys For Tots, Susan G. Komen, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

This time, he’s playing for his second family: the U.S. military.


The Palm Beach Gardens-based DJ is headlining the next BaseFEST Powered by USAA on June 2, 2018, at Naval Station Mayport, near Jacksonville, Fla. He’s come a long way from the days of being in the silent service.

“We would be deployed 90 days at a time,” says the former sailor Anchondo. “No sunlight, no newspaper… So my escape being submerged for that amount of time was music.”

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(Courtesy of Josh Anchondo)

He says it’s like living a dream to be able to provide a temporary escape to those going through similarly rough situations. He did five years in the Navy as a sonar technician and the last 20 as a DJ — yes, there’s a little overlap there.

“I know for a fact the military got me to where I am today in my career, to being a great man, a great father, and to living up to the core values that I learned in the military,” he says. “Honor, courage, and commitment. Those core values will always be with me.”

In the Navy, he spent all his spare time training to be a DJ — eating, breathing, and sleeping music. His favorite records were primarily old-school (even for the late 1990s) hip-hop. But his sounds also extend to the unexpected, like jazz and pop standards, doing live mash-ups of pop songs along the way.

“I kind of let the crowd take me wherever they want,” he says. “Take us wherever the night takes us.”

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(Courtesy of DJ Supreme1)

Anchondo, aka DJ Supreme1, is not just a DJ who does music festivals and tours like Dayglow. Like many veterans, he’s an entrepreneur with a heart. He runs his own event productions company and wants to start his own tour — the DoGood FeelGood Fest, focused on doing great work in the community. His company, Supreme Events, even prioritizes charity work.

He acknowledges that DJs have a bad reputation, given what happens in the nightlife around them, but he wants you to know they can have a positive influence as well — and that influence can be amazing. BaseFEST is a huge show for him. He wants his fellow vets and their families to come see and feel his positive vibes at the coming BaseFEST at NS Mayport.

It’s an all-day event that brings the music, food, activities, and more that you might get from other touring festivals — but BaseFEST is an experience for the whole family, with a mission of providing a platform for giving back to family programs on base, boosting morale for troops and their families.

BaseFEST Powered by USAA kicked off in 2017 with two huge festival dates at Camp Lejune and NAS Pensacola, gathering over 20,000 fans for each and creating a fun atmosphere of appreciation and support for service members and their families and friends. The 2018 tour kicked off at Fort Bliss, Texas and runs through Sept. 22 with a stop at Twentynine Palms, Calif.

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

Updates to Post-9/11 Gi Bill transfers are coming

The transferability option under the Post-9/11 GI Bill allows service members to transfer all or some unused benefits to their spouse or dependent children. The request to transfer unused GI Bill benefits to eligible dependents must be completed while serving as an active member of the Armed Forces. The Department of Defense determines whether or not you can transfer benefits to your family. Once the DoD approves benefits for transfer, the new beneficiaries apply for them at Veterans Affairs.

The option to transfer is open to any member of the armed forces active duty or Selected Reserve, officer or enlisted who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and meets the following criteria:


  • Has at least six years of service in the armed forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of approval and agrees to serve four additional years in the armed forces from the date of election.
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(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Jorge Intriago)

  • Has at least 10 years of service in the armed forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of approval, is precluded by either standard policy (by service branch or DoD) or statute from committing to four additional years and agrees to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed by such policy or statute.
  • Transfer requests are submitted and approved while the member is in the armed forces.
  • Effective July 12, 2019, eligibility to transfer benefits will be limited to service members with at least 6 years but not more than 16 years of active duty or selected reserve service. So service members with more than 16 years of service should transfer benefits before July 12, 2019.

For more information, go to https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/post911_transfer.asp.

This article originally appeared on United States Air Force. Follow @USAF on Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

Military vets are forging budding careers in the cannabis industry

After a career in the military, veterans are equipped with numerous skills that make them an easy hire for thousands of civilian jobs. At first glance, the cannabis industry might not seem like the most ideal fit for veterans, but it’s shaping up to be a fruitful union.


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U.S. Army Cavalry Patrol In Kandahar Province

(Chris Hondros/ Getty Images)

It’s no secret that many soldiers have found solace from military-related ailments with medical marijuana: everything from PTSD to slipped discs, to insomnia, have been eased with aide from the versatile plant. In fact, according to a recent study by American Legion, a vast majority of veterans support both marijuana legalization and further research. That kind of support for cannabis extends past personal use and into the job market, where veterans are finding themselves increasingly more involved in the industry.

The most direct translation of military skills is into the cannabis security sector. There are many federal restrictions on the young industry, leading to the reluctance of financial institutions to open accounts for cannabis-centric companies. This means that a plethora of cannabis companies rely on a strictly cash-only basis. This, in turn, leads to a demand for a security detail to convoy alongside both the product and the money.

This demand has formed a reliable network of security companies that hire hundreds of veterans to simply accompany shipments, or post up outside of brick-and-mortar stores like armed bouncers.

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Dispensaries are no stranger to security detail

However, the military contributions to the cannabis industry reach much further than security. A growing number of veterans are beginning to get involved in, not only the retail side of the cannabis industry, but the cultivation side as well. According to “The Cannabist” the president of OrganaBrands (a Denver-based company that sells cannabis), Chris Driessen, says about 10% of his total workforce are veterans.

“The veteran community pairs so well (with our business), regardless of the branch of armed forces you’re in. (As a veteran) you learned systems, you learned processes, you learned chain of command,” he continued. “The fact that we don’t have to train people on some of those things — about work ethic and respect and doing what you say you’re going to do… is a huge benefit for any company, and of course ours as well… [they] set themselves apart in the interview. A lot of these folks are, on their own merit, heads and shoulders above their competition.”

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(Veteran’s Cannabis Coalition blog)

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t training involved for veterans in the industry. One company, THC Design, actually has a paid internship and mentorship program exclusively for veterans. The course is 12 weeks long and gives veterans a tangible, hands-on, experience with every aspect of cultivation. According to co-founder Ryan Jennemann, the work ethic and problem-solving ability of military veterans makes them the perfect candidate for cannabis.

“What I was hiring for was not experience,” he told The Cannabist. “I was hiring for a work ethic, an ability to handle adversity, an ability to solve problems.” The program is both open source and available online as well, making it accessible for veterans looking to see if the cannabis industry is right for them.

As the legalization of marijuana spreads (Illinois just joined 10 other states as of January 1st), the stigma surrounding the cannabis industry begins to lessen. It’s no secret that marijuana has been a functional part of treatment for veterans returning from overseas, but now veterans are becoming a functional part of the cultivation and distribution of the cannabis industry itself.

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This is how Evan Williams Bourbon honors veterans

Evan Williams is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey brand, named for the politician, entrepreneur, and distiller who, in 1783, became Kentucky’s First Commercial Distiller. With its origins in the heartland of America, it’s no surprise that the company prides itself on patriotism, including honoring our nation’s military with their American-Made Heroes program.

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Learn more about the heritage of Evan Williams Bourbon right here.

Evan Williams American-Made Heroes celebrates our troops by sharing inspiring stories of continued service to their country and community after their military duty. Each year, the program recognizes a select few from thousands of nominations.


This year, the incredible honorees include:

  • Tyler Crane: A Purple Heart recipient who created a non-profit called Veteran Excursions to the Sea, a program that promotes “healing through reeling.”
  • Archie Cook: An airman who helps homeless veterans get back on their feet. At his private dental clinic, Archie offers medical discounts to members of the military and provides free and low-cost dental care to struggling veterans through Veterans Empowering Veterans.
  • Christopher Baity: A prior Military Working Dog Handler and Kennel Master who created Semper K9 Assistance Dogs, turning rescue dogs into service dogs.
  • Amanda Runyon: A Navy vet who served as a Hospital Corpsman, treating injured warriors suffering from combat injuries sustained in Iraq and Afghanistan. She now supports her local post of Veterans of Foreign Wars.
  • Michael Stinson: A Chief Hospital Corpsman who retired after 23 years and continues to help his community through a number of initiatives, including service as a Police Officer and charity through the U.S.O. of Wisconsin.
  • Michael Siegel: A soldier who retired after service in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom. He continues to help the military community as the Director of Columbia College at Fort Leonard Wood.

Previous American-Made Heroes include Adam Popp, an airman in the Explosives Ordnance Disposal program who lost his leg in an IED explosion and now serves as a board member for the EOD Warrior Foundation; and U.S. Marine Patrick Shannon, the recipient of two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for Valor who founded his own charity that supports the families of fallen, injured, and deployed service members.

Read more about these incredible heroes and
watch their stories here.

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One of this year’s honorees, Christopher Baity, sports his American Hero Edition bottle.

And of course, they are also honored with a celebratory Evan Williams American Hero Edition Bottle. Each limited-edition red, white, and blue bottle features one of the American-Made heroes celebrated by Evan Williams.

Evan Williams shows their commitment to America’s heroes with this program, not only by celebrating their hand-selected heroes, but by acknowledging hundreds more with gift certificates of appreciation. Check out the American-Made Heores program to nominate a deserving veteran who continues to serve their community.

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5 awesome facts you didn’t know about Memorial Day

Celebrated on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day brings America together to remember the 1.1 million men and women who died in service to their country.


As most of us spend our day flipping burgers, wearing pro-American attire and saving money on those amazing furniture deals, it’s important to understand the significance of the historic day.

Related: 5 interesting facts about the Marine Corps birthday

Check out these awesome facts you probably didn’t know about our beloved holiday.

1. Moment of remembrance at 3 pm

On Dec. 28th, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, which asks all Americans to pause on Memorial Day at 3:00 pm local time for a full minute to honor and remember all those who perished protecting our rights and freedoms.

2020 Veterans Day free meals and restaurant deals and discounts
Airmen from the 317th Airlift Group stand at parade rest during a Memorial Day ceremony at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Charles V. Rivezzo/ Released)

2. Wearing red poppies

You may have noticed people wearing red poppy flowers pinned to their clothing on Memorial Day. This idea was influenced by the sight of poppies growing in a battle-scarred field in WWI which prompted the popular poem “In Flanders Fields” written by former Canadian Col. John McCrae.

The American Legion adopted the tradition of wearing the red poppy flowers along with many allied countries to commemorate troops killed in battle.

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Honor the dead. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

3. Flag raising procedures

Americans love to proudly display their flags and let them wave high and free. On Memorial Day, there’s a special protocol to properly raise and exhibit the ensign. Here it is.

When the flag is raised at first light, it’s to be hoisted to the top of the pole, then respectfully lowered to the half-staff position until 12:00 pm when it is re-raised to the top of the pole for the remainder of the day. Details matter.

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Service members saluting the raised American flag. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel)

4. The origin of the holiday

Originally called “Decoration Day” by Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, in 1868, the day was intended to honor the estimated 620,000 people who died fighting in the Civil war and was celebrated on May 30th.

But it wasn’t until 1971 that Congress shifted the holiday to the last Monday of May to ensure a three-day weekend and renamed it to what we all know today.

Thank you, Congress.

2020 Veterans Day free meals and restaurant deals and discounts

Also Read: The mother of the boy in this iconic photo has a Memorial Day message all Americans should read

 5. The holiday’s birthplace

At least five separate cities claim to be the birthplace of “Decoration Day,” including Macon and Columbus, Georgia. Of course, there’s no real written record or D.N.A test to prove who is truly the mom and dad.

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California, you are not the father… or mother. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Veterans

4 scary possibilities every veteran faces

Getting out of the military is a great day for most. You’ve been anticipating this day for years and it’s finally here — but now what?

Is it all peaches and cream once you’re on the other side? It might be, but there are some bleak possibilities that many veterans face on the other side of service. Now, we’re not here to frighten you, but these are things you should be aware of.


2020 Veterans Day free meals and restaurant deals and discounts
This is absolutely the number one fear of many veterans, no matter how successful or far removed you are from this reality.
(Photo via Veteran Action Network)

 

1. Homelessness 

Sadly, homelessness is as real a possibility awaiting veterans as a life of prosperity. Homelessness in America is a serious issue — and the homeless population is about 11% veteran, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. Of that total, 70% are on drugs, and 50% suffer from some type of psychological ailment.

There are programs in place to help, but you can only offer help to those who seek it, and there’s a general mistrust of these organizations in the veteran community.

Considering that the veteran population accounts for around 1% of the country, the amount of homeless veterans is extremely alarming. If you or anyone you know is homeless or on the verge of homelessness, there is help for you.

2. The mysterious misadventures of the VA

2020 Veterans Day free meals and restaurant deals and discounts
The VA can be a tricky beast. This guy came in for a simple check-up.
(Photo by Senior Airman Krystal Walker)

Going to the VA is a key part of post-service life. For many, it’s the only form of health insurance we have in the years immediately following service and is an absolute must if you experienced any adverse or lingering effects of service.

The VA is supposed to help, and for the most part, it does, but navigating the many avenues can be daunting. Hell, knowing where to start can be a task by itself. Setting up an appointment can take months and filing for your proper disability rating can take years… literally.

The best advice for dealing with the VA is patience and perseverance.

3. School daze

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How it feels trying to fit in with classmates who were in grade school or younger when you joined service.
(The Montecito Picture Company)

 

One of the best things about honorably serving your country is that you get the opportunity to go to school afterward (mostly) on Uncle Sam’s dime. But going back to school isn’t as easy as showing up for class and doing your assignments. Depending on where you land, you might feel like you stand alone as the only adult in an ocean of children.

The fun part comes when you realize that you’re closer in age to your classmates’ parents than your classmates themselves.

4. Unsure wonderland

2020 Veterans Day free meals and restaurant deals and discounts
What do I see? Just a bunch of veterans trying to find their way.
(Walt Disney Pictures)

Leaving the military is different for everyone. Some have planned for their exit for years; others never considered a life outside of the military. It isn’t uncommon for veterans to take a few years to get themselves truly together and on track.

Be ready for a period of self-reflection. Figuring out what you actually want to do can take more time than anticipated, and that’s fine. Try not to feel like you need to be at a specific point just because you’re a certain age or you’ve been through certain things. Trust me, I know this is easier said than done, but as long as you keep moving and searching, you’ll find your way.

Veterans

That time a vet threw a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ round for a fellow vet

“Wheel of Fortune” is one of the most popular game shows in the country — running every weekday night at 7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time on most TV stations.


According to a report from the Independent Journal Review, during a November 2015 taping for the Veterans Week shows, Nura Fountano did something that has since gone viral.

During the “Final Spin” puzzle, Fountano, who had a commanding lead over the other two contestants, Troy and Steve, began to make some… questionable letter guesses. She picked the letters “Z,” and “X” and in at least one case, let time run out.

Steve ultimately correctly guessed the puzzle, “Following Footprints,” and won $6,400. Troy, the other vet, came away with $4,300.

The author, who was twice selected for in-person auditions for Jeopardy, notes that there is a minimum of $1,000 in prizes for each contestant. However, contestants usually have to pay for their own airfare and hotel stays related to the appearance on the shows.

The video clip below ends before we find out if Nura won the bonus round – but we think she is a winner, anyhow.

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