This Week we Celebrate Military Volunteerism!
For the week of Nov. 16, the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation will work in cooperation with Homes for our Troops, the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center, the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, Pease Greeters and the USO to celebrate military volunteerism! Congratulations to our "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week" Donna Ross Volunteer, Homes for Our Troops
Some people stand out for being kind, dedicated, intelligent, patriotic, or having a great work ethic. It is rare when we find individuals with all of these qualities but every so often, one comes along. At Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) that person is Donna Ross. Donna has been consistently volunteering two days a week at HFOT for several years, averaging almost 500 volunteer hours a year. She began volunteering at HFOT when the organization was only a few years old with a small staff, and came on board to assist the finance department with gift processing. Over the years there have been many staff and operational changes and Donna has stuck through it all. She overcomes each procedure revision, including an entire database conversion, in stride and never seems to miss a beat. The Development Department staff considers Donna one of the team and knows they can always count on her to help out.
Donna also played an integral role with the Norton Gold Star Committee in raising funds to open The Master Sgt. Gregory Trent Memorial park in Norton, MA. The park and memorial was constructed to honor Gregory Trent, a 1992 Norton graduate, who died in August 2012 from wounds he suffered when serving in the Army in Baktabad, Afghanistan, and to recognize all those from Norton who have served in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Homes for Our Troops
Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) is a privately funded 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization building specially adapted, mortgage-free homes nationwide for the most severely injured Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of these Veterans are multiple amputees, paraplegic, quadriplegic or suffered severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). These homes restore some of the freedom and independence our Veterans sacrificed defending ours, and enable them to focus on their family, recovery, and rebuilding their lives. Since its inception in 2004, over 90 percent of donations to Homes for Our Troops has gone to directly support Veterans. Why volunteers are critical to Homes for our Troops:
Volunteer Opportunities at Homes for our Troops:
- It's a way for people to say “Thank you for your service” and shows all returning service members that we haven't forgotten them.
- Our military has sacrificed so much for our freedom.
- It makes people feel good to be helping our Nations Heroes.
A special shout out to Pam and Chris for their volunteer efforts at Homes for our Troops!
- They have opportunities in their office to volunteer with data processing, answering phones, packing supplies for our various ceremonies, and helping in the shipping department. Contact Cheryl Wick firstname.lastname@example.org
- HFOT counts on people all over New England to host fundraisers for the mission; currently they have over 600 independent fundraisers a year. Contact Brianne McNamara email@example.com
- They depend on volunteers to be the street team to gain awareness for upcoming projects. Contact Chris Mitchell, firstname.lastname@example.org
- HFOT is a local nonprofit with lots of requests for a representative for either a check presentation or a representative at an event. They created a volunteer ambassador training program where they train volunteers to speak on their behalf if the staff can't make an event. This has been a great addition as it gets more people involved with the volunteer opportunities that are needed to make HFOT's mission possible. Contact Gina Colon email@example.com
Pam Crowley has been volunteering with the organization since 2012, and she is a tremendous asset to the organization. Pam volunteers remotely from her home in Vermont doing Veteran community research for all of the new homes they build. This saves the Community Outreach department countless hours of work and frees them up to plan more events that help welcome our Veterans to their new community, and to their mortgage free homes. Pam's volunteer work has saved us over 560 hours, and she has completed over 70 Veterans Recon lists for us. Her dedication to Veterans and the mission is selfless, and we can't thank her enough.
An avid community volunteer and Scout leader for the past 16 years in Foxborough, MA, Chris Mitchell is the founder and president of Foxboro Never Forgets, a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to inspire community service around the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Chris has been with the national non-profit, Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) since November 2012, working in Outreach and Community Engagement. During his time at HFOT, he has spent his weekends traveling the country, supporting fundraising events and welcoming these heroes home. Chris' passion for helping others shines through his volunteerism and his job as he is able to not only provide a life-long gift to a deserving veteran, but he also provides a way for each community across America to say “Thank you”.
Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center
The mission of the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center is to provide quality services to ALL eligible veterans regardless of when, where, and how long they served. The MVOC will continue to advocate for equal rights for veterans with respect to homelessness, fair housing, personal wellness, benefits administration, and employment services. The MVOC provides support to military veterans and their families in need of services to develop a resilient, self-sufficient lifestyle essential to succeed in today's social environment. Why volunteer for the MVOC:
- Volunteering supports the organizational mission of “Serving All Veterans” by offering a means to which individual community members can illustrate their appreciation to military service veterans and exhibit their own patriotic values by giving back to area veterans in need.
- Volunteering for the MVOC also fulfills a therapeutic necessity for veterans in need of reestablishing or maintaining a sense of self-worth and dignity through fostering a continued sense of selfless service.
- Volunteerism helps to keep operational costs contained and as a private non-profit organization, maintaining expenses is critical to preserving funding that otherwise can be allocated to providing services to Veterans in need.
- Administrative/ office support
- Maintenance and facilities
- Food Pantry and Clothing closet
- Driver / veteran transportation
- Event and Program support
To learn more, please visit www.veterans-outreach.org
We thank Debbie and Scott for their volunteer work at the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center!
Debbie Gareipy has been volunteering at the MVOC for six years. She quietly comes to work at the drop-in center and primarily helps to organize and manage the clothing donation and winter coat program. She also eagerly helps where she can, be it at the reception desk, or some other administrative task. She is dependable and is seen as an equal member of the MVOC staff. Debbie was recently recognized as the MVOC ‘Volunteer of the Year' at the 2014 Annual Awards & Gala for her contributions that enhance the staffing resources of the MVOC.
Scott Hodgkins is a quiet, behind the scenes kind of person. You can often find him at the MVOC outreach centers both in Gardner and Winchendon lending a helping hand, assisting in a project, helping with maintenance, or just being a friendly face that everyone depends on seeing. He has taken volunteering for the MVOC and made it his lifestyle. As a Vietnam Veteran he loves his fellow Veterans and wants to express his gratitude for their service through his actions of giving back. Scott is a volunteer who genuinely makes a difference every day, a veteran in service to other veterans though his work at the MVOC.
New England Center for Homeless Veterans
Now in its 25th year of service, The New England Center for Homeless Veterans (NECHV) is a service and care provider for former military service men and women offering a broad array of programs and services that enable success, reintegration, meaningful employment and independent living. The Mission of NECHV is to equip Veterans who are facing or at-risk of homelessness with the tools for economic self-sufficiency and to provide them a path to achieve successful and dignified independent living. Why volunteer for the New England Center for Homeless Veterans:
- Volunteers provide supplemental staff support in every corner of the Center. Volunteers serve over 130,000 meals each year in the kitchen, help prepare Veterans for employment in the onsite Veterans Training School and provide personal financial counseling. Volunteers help to process thousands of units of in-kind donations of food, clothing, and supplies in their general store. Volunteers organize fundraisers that provide financial support as well as in-kind donations. Volunteers also provide administrative support by working on special projects that adjunct staff functions and form special "committees" that enhance the mission of the Center through fundraising activities and special events.
- The 130,000 square foot facility is painted annually, in large part through volunteer support. In addition to donations of time, skill and expertise, volunteers serve as Ambassadors to the community and many of them go on to become regular donors, both in time and in dollars.
To learn more, please visit www.nechv.org
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation and the New England Center for Homeless Veterans thanks Travis, Kathy and Diane for their dedicated volunteer efforts!
Travis Partington is a Marine Corps Veteran and Information Security Analyst at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in Boston. After serving in the Marine Corps, Travis looked to NECHV for help, but wasn't homeless and never had been. The Center, he quickly learned, offers much more than a place to sleep. He enrolled in a six-month computer class that met five days a week for eight hours a day, and it included instruction in areas such as interviewing and networking. The intense program restored his self-confidence and paved his way toward a successful career. That was 18 years ago. The Marine Veteran now volunteers over 6 hours a week at NECHV by teaching a computer-training course to his fellow Veterans. “A lot of Veterans helped me. Now it's time for me to help them.”
Kathy Santoian is an local Office Administrator with the Boston office of the Finnegan law firm. She is also an active member of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA). Kathy has been a staunch supporter of Veterans and the NECHV. She herself actively volunteers with the Center year round, assisting with events, coordinating volunteer projects and enrolling associates with both Finnegan and ALA to become engaged in volunteerism and support for the Center. Included within Kathy's active volunteer services are: organizing coat drives for homeless Veterans residing at the Center; facilitating year-round service projects, serving meals to Veterans and participation in fundraising events. Kathy and her team have also been active contributors to the Center's Gift-a-Vet program, helping to provide holiday gifts to Veterans who reside at the Center.
Diane Statkus is a Project Manager with IBM's software lab in Littleton, MA. For the last four years, Diane has served as the project lead for IBM's involvement with the Center, ranging from coordination of the Center's Gift-A-Vet program, which she serves as an active contributor, to producing major corporate service days for volunteerism with IBM associates. Diane is an active advocate for Veterans services and has been a staunch supporter of the Center, bringing together technology and professional skills from her IBM associates to assist Veterans with technical training and employment readiness programs.
The mission of the Pease Greeters is to welcome troops passing through Pease International Airport on their way to, or from, Afghanistan, Iraq, or any other areas of conflict in any part of the world. Their goal is to create within Pease Trade Port an environment that reflects the respect and high esteem in which we hold all veterans. They promote broad participation by the general public in this welcoming of heroes, paying special attention to the education of school children by instilling respect and admiration for the troops through formal ceremonies for each flight. Why volunteer for Pease Greeters:
- It shows support for the members of our military.
- To instill Patriotism within the community.
- To take pride in being an American.
- Greeting Troops
- Care Package Program
To learn more, please visit www.peasegreeters.org
For more than 70 years, the USO is the only private, nonprofit organization that serves these men and women in the U.S. military and their families throughout their service, from the moment they join, through their deployments and as they transition back to their communities. The USO is the way America says thank you for all these amazing men and women and what they do for all of us. USO accomplishes it's mission by delivering highly valued programs, morale-boosting services and engaging entertainment that help them feel appreciated for their service. Today's USO is always by their side, continuously adapting to the needs of our troops and their families by supporting and comforting, connecting and entertaining in new and imaginative ways.
The USO serves active duty troops, reserve troops who have been recently deployed or will be activated, military families, troops in recovery, troops in transition and families of the fallen.
Since 1941, volunteers have been the heart and soul of the USO. The USO has long been America's way of supporting, thanking and remembering our troops – wherever they are. More than 29,000 volunteers make it possible for the USO to host more than 8 million visits each year to USOs by troops and their families at 160 USO locations around the globe.
Volunteers provide the one-on-one attention that really makes a difference in our service members' lives and allows USO to be “always by their side”. Whether pouring them a cup of coffee, helping them record a DVD reading of their child's favorite book, extending their hand during a time of crisis, or just offering a friendly face and welcoming them to into a USO home away from home, USO volunteers show our troops and their families that they care and extend the thanks of a grateful nation in a personalized way each day. Volunteer Opportunities:
- Greet, and provide personal assistance and hospitality for troops and military families visiting a USO Center.
- Provide hands-on support at a wide-variety of special events and programs for military members and their families.
- Video record deploying troop members reading a storybook to their child, so families can stay connected while they are away from home.
- Extend outreach to military and families who are facing a deployment cycle, are newly stationed in the New England area, and welcome US Navy and US Coast Guard visiting in port.
- Support Homecomings and individual Military Unit Gatherings.
To learn more about the USO and how you can volunteer, please visit: www.uso.org
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation and the USO thanks Jennifer for her commitment to serving the military and their families!
Jennifer Moynihan has made supporting troops and families her “mission”. Since 2011, Jennifer has devoted over 2,000 hours to serving Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guard in both of the USO Centers (Boston's Logan Airport and US Coast Guard Base Boston). Through her service at the centers and in the field for special events, she has literally touched and impacted thousands of lives in a positive way. Jenn has been the consummate supporter of military members and their families – always lending a helping hand, a warm heart and an empathetic ear when needed. She has done it all – helping countless troops in multiple capacities - everything from assisting a new recruit to find their way to a duty station, to comforting a family of the fallen, to serving refreshments, to hauling supplies or setting up event sites, to entertaining little ones with a story, a craft activity or wearing a costume.
The Patriots Celebrate Volunteerism
The Celebrate Volunteerism initiative aims to share examples of dedicated volunteers, build awareness of the need for volunteering, identify and educate others about volunteer opportunities and inspire New Englanders to follow the Kraft family's example of becoming a lifelong volunteer.
Throughout the season, the Kraft family and New England Patriots Charitable Foundation will celebrate volunteers that work tirelessly to support children and families in need throughout the New England region, while also encouraging Patriots fans to get involved in their communities. From animals and arts to military and homelessness, the foundation will have different weekly focuses throughout the season. Each week, the Kraft family and foundation recognizes one outstanding volunteer as the "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week."
Fifteen outstanding volunteers will be named as a Patriots Difference Maker of the Week and are recognized at Patriots Community Tuesday events. During the players one day off, they can be found out in the community at a nonprofit organization based around the weekly theme. Current and former Patriots players will interact with children and families each week and present the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week with an award. Patriots cheerleaders, mascot Pat Patriot and families of Patriots players and coaches will also be actively involved in the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative throughout the season.
The Kraft family and foundation encourage all Patriots fans to join us! Celebrate Volunteerism activities include the opportunity for fans to pledge volunteer hours and submit photos of their own "Patriots Difference Maker" certificates. Patriots' fans from around the world can send along their photos that will be used on our website. Each week, the foundation will also post volunteer opportunities that are available with our partnering nonprofit organizations.
Be sure to check back here throughout the season for the most up to date information on the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative.
2014 Celebrate Volunteerism Weekly Schedule
To view the 2013 Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, click here