Everyone for Veterans is proud to serve the spouses of our nation’s veterans and recognize their dedication and committed contribution. One of our recent veteran spouses is Rhonda, a retired EMT with nearly 40 years in the field. Rhonda met her husband Larry when they were in 8th grade and even then, Larry knew that she was the one, asking her to be his wife when they were 13 years old.
Larry deployed to Vietnam with the Marines and was shot in combat. He suffered significant nerve damage from his wounds and was honorably discharged from service. Upon his return, the couple was married and celebrated 52 wonderful years together until Larry passed away in the summer of 2022.
When Rhonda came to E4V in January of last year, she was suffering from tremendous pain and discomfort. A serious illness had impacted her oral health dramatically. We assigned her to Dr. Kevin Shively in Lubbock, TX. His team provided compassionate comprehensive care including 16 crowns, a root canal, and a nightguard. The whole team was so happy to be able to assist her in providing her new smile.
Now that Rhonda is healthy and pain-free, she is continuing her lifetime of service by volunteering at Spirit of Sharing, helping the community by providing clothes, food, and essential needs. Rhonda said about her experience, "Dr. Shively and staff are so great! The dental care I received feels wonderful and for the first time, I can eat normally."
Each day, E4V’s partnering dentists represent the love of the community. Dr. Shively had this to say about his experience, “when Rhonda came to see me, she had seen me previously at the practice I used to own, so it was like rekindling an old friendship! Seeing her transformation and her gratitude for the services we provided really reinvigorated my spirit, as it reminded me so deeply of one of the core reasons I pursued dentistry in the first place to give people back their smile and transform their lives!”
Thank you, Dr. Shively and team, for supporting Rhonda during this time, and thank you Rhonda for your lifetime of service.
Recently Everyone for Veterans hosted our annual Veterans Town Hall event in Covington, WA. At every Town Hall, we have the opportunity to listen and learn from veterans about their unique experiences. One moving perspective came from Matthew Hinerman (pictured above, left), as he compared the experience of being a combat veteran with that of a working dog. Many of us were deeply impacted by his perspective and we are grateful for the opportunity to share his words with you.
Matthew said, "I'm sure a lot of you have dogs. There are a lot of different dogs, but there is a group called "working dogs." These are dogs that were bred to, you guessed it, work. To perform a task. To have a purpose. If you own one of these dogs, I hope you're aware of it. If you treat a working dog like a toy, sporting, or other category, you will find yourself in trouble. You can't leave them at home for 8 hours locked up. You'll have things chewed, furniture destroyed, and trash strewn about.
Combat Vets are working dogs. We have had a purpose. We've had a mission. And now we're away from it. And much like the working dogs, left to our own devices, we destroy things. Families, friendships, our own lives.
Like a penned-up working dog, we don't need a blanket. We don't need a never-ending supply of food. Some of us don't need your thanks. We need to be tasked with a mission. We need a purpose. We need to be challenged."
He added, “the short version is this - society currently treats Veterans like we're broken. We've done some things or experienced something and need to be fixed. There has to be something wrong with us. So naturally, when you hear those things, and people treat you that way, you start to believe that it's true. If we stopped treating everyone that is a veteran like they're a broken human, and instead are just people that have unique experiences, I feel like that'd be a move in the right direction.”
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to Matthew and the many veterans that shared their stories with us. Their honesty and vulnerability were profoundly moving. May we all take these words to heart and move in the right direction together.
Chad served in the Army, stationed in Afghanistan, as an infantryman. Returning stateside, he faced several unique challenges with reintegration and experienced homelessness for about a year. He has worked incredibly hard to get to a place of stability, even opening his own business, using his passion for graphic design to support veterans.
The toll of the pandemic has weighed heavily on him as he was unable to go to a gym.
This is something that is extremely important to his physical and emotional health and wellbeing. He was in need of equipment that would allow him to continue to make physical fitness a priority in his life.
His Wingman Volunteer, Emily engaged her personal network in creative ways to accomplish this mission. She held a Facebook fundraiser and even sold flowers at her college campus to raise funds for Chad’s home gym. Through her dedication, she was able to raise several hundred dollars towards the purchase of martial arts equipment. Now Chad is able to exercise from the comfort and safety of his home. Chad said, “I am so thankful for your organization and all you’ve done for me and other veterans.” We are thankful for you, Chad! Thank you for the opportunity to allow us to work with you.
We are grateful for our Wingman Volunteers, like Emily. Their willingness to partner with us to support combat veterans in need is inspiring.
Become a wingman by visiting our website and clicking "Volunteers" and "Be a Wingman."
Dr. Moona Khan of South Sound Dental Care in Tacoma, Washington provided Navy veteran Nick and his wife Shannah free dental care.
Nick was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq and worked in Logistics, which meant he was part of a team that assessed whether bases needed to be shut down. Re-integrating back to society has been challenging but is getting better with treatment at the VA and Shannah’s support. Nick graduated from the University of Maryland and is working now.
Exercise is what he enjoys and he and Shannah have 4 children! We wish them the best!
Sign up to provide dental care: https://www.everyoneforveterans.org/dentists.html
We are thankful to Wingman volunteer Megan for assisting Noemi, an army veteran who served in Iraq as a combat medic. Noemi needed a new mattress because hers was damaged. Instead of buying Noemi a new mattress, Megan looked into other options and counseled Noemi on how to contact the store and ask for a replacement mattress. After calling the store, Noemi received a free replacement mattress!!
Sometimes all it takes to assist a veteran is an outside perspective to provide opinions and advice to solve the problem.
Sign up to be a Wingman: https://www.everyoneforveterans.org/be-a-wingman.html
Thank you Valerie for bringing together your friends and church community to provide Deanna’s children with back-to-school clothes.
Deanna served in the army in Afghanistan and loves fishing and camping with her kids.
The Wingman Program connects veterans to people in the community to support their needs. You can make a positive change in the community and give back to our combat veterans by becoming a Wingman volunteer.
Sign up to be a Wingman: https://www.everyoneforveterans.org/be-a-wingman.html
Thank you University of Iowa College of Dentistry for providing Raymond, a 92-year-old combat veteran, with free dental care. Raymond was an Infantryman deployed to the frontlines of Korea.
After not having a dental cleaning for 20 years, Raymond was able to get partial upper and lower dentures. He can now eat whatever he wants and smiles confidently!
Thank you Sue, Eriana, and friends for reaching out and offering to make masks for our veterans! Over 200 masks have been delivered to veterans around the nation.
"It was a very rewarding project. Thank you for helping us make this happen!" -Sue
This is a great example of how E4V connects the community with our veterans to support them when in need, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meet Morgan! She served in the Navy in Afghanistan and though her passion has always been art, she pushed it away, never feeling comfortable with her true self.
Thank you Peter and Spencer for helping Morgan pursue her dream of producing music. Peter is showing Morgan how to edit and record music on a computer, and Spencer is providing Morgan producing advice. Because of their help, Morgan is more confident about embracing her artistic talent and has started to write poetry and play the guitar.
“Accepting free help is strange at first but this experience has shown me sometimes people are just really kind and generous with no strings attached." - Morgan
The Wingman Program connects veterans to people in the community to support their needs. Do you want to make a positive impact in your community by helping a combat veteran?
★ Serve as a Wingman at: https://www.everyoneforveterans.org/be-a-wingman.html
★ Veterans sign up at: https://www.everyoneforveterans.org/how-we-serve-vets.html
Jonathan was deployed to Iraq three times, with a range of duties from Guard duty to foodservice. Initially, he had a tough time coming back from Iraq which led him to suddenly change his career path. Pursuing acting, Jonathan recently completed school at the Theater and Film Conservatory for acting. However, the trials of deployment are never far off. Jonathan is grateful for a good friend from Iraq that he talks to every day.
Dr. Dodds was able to help him regain his confidence with his smile. Thank you, Dr. Dodds, for supporting combat veterans!
Be like Dr. Dodds and help veterans smile again. Dentists can sign up here:
Everyone can donate to keep veterans smiling here:
The goal of our blog is to keep everyone updated on what Everyone for Veterans has been working on.