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Like many veterans, Rhonda White’s service took her far from family and friends during the holidays. White was 24 years old when she first spent the holidays away from her family and loved ones. It was November 1990, and the young soldier was deployed to Saudi Arabia where she worked for the Long-Range Planning Cell located...
Air Force veteran Jonathan Campos seemed to have all the criteria necessary to find employment after his service, but it still took him eight months to find work.  “I’m a 15-year active duty (Air Force) firefighter, now (Reserves),” says Campos. “It took me eight months to find employment, even after earnin...
After boot camp and training, Navy veteran Josh Vinson did four years in aviation electronics and re-enlisted at Seattle’s Space Needle. By this time, he was married and wasn't ready to finish his time in the service.  Vinson served three years as a Navy recruiter in Nebraska where he excelled, winning numerous recr...
For Army veteran Mike Hammons, his brave grandfather, who fought in World War II, was always his inspiration to serve his country.  “My grandfather was in the Marine Corps, and he was wounded in Iwo Jima,” said Hammons. On Hammons’ 17th birthday, his mother signed for him to join the Army as soon as he...
For DAV benefits expert Joe Kauffman, the spirit of giving is something he embraces every day, and the opportunity to help his fellow veterans means more to him than he could have ever imagined. “My work [with DAV] is humbling,” said Kauffman. “Every day I meet with veterans who have remarkable stories and e...
In 2006, 24-year-old Nicholas Koulchar entered the U.S. Army as a private. By 2008, he was deployed to Sadr City, Iraq, with Alpha Company 40th Engineers, Task Force 1/6, conducting counter improvised explosive device (IED) operations. Life, as he knew it, was about to change in ways he’d never imagined. On August 26, 2008, while...
In the early 1980s, Army veteran Mark Crowl spent a year in Germany rebuilding tank ranges for the new M1 Abrams tank. During that time—as is common among servicemembers—he suffered hearing loss.  After his service, Crowl needed hearing aids but went without them for decades. “For 30 years I needed them...
During his more than 26 years of service, Navy veteran Louis Johnson served six different ships, logging eight deployments that were six months or longer. “I was a professional sailor, which encompassed a myriad of different things,” said Johnson. “I loved what I did, and when I was older I loved watching the young sa...
Austin Lasiter served his country for four years as a Marine.  “I didn’t have anything going for me after high school, so I enlisted, and five weeks after I graduated, I was standing on the yellow footprints,” said Lasiter. While service provided him with the direction he was seeking, entering the workf...
Andrew Clark answered the call to duty—to serve and defend the freedoms he so cherishes—by enlisting in the Air Force in 2001.  In 2003, Clark deployed to Iraq with the 822 Security Forces Squadron. He emerged from his service in 2004 with numerous service-related injuries, most notably a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) a...
Michael Franko knew he wanted to serve his country, but his commitment swelled on a clear blue day in September that suddenly turned dark. “When September 11th happened, and I watched the atrocities occur on that day, it just solidified the fact that I wanted to be an infantryman and lead Marines in the fight against our enemies,...
Ray Hill was only 17 years old when he volunteered to serve his country.  In 1966, after a tour in Germany, Hill was called to deploy to Vietnam, just outside of Saigon.  “You don’t really know what to expect,” says Hill. “We set base camp up, got everything going, and then started our patrol...
Patt Maney comes from a proud family tradition of military service stretching back to the French and Indian War, so his path to join the Army Reserve in 1971 was well laid before him. What Maney couldn’t foresee, though, was the massive improvised explosive device blast that ripped through his armored vehicle in Afghanistan three...
DAV (Disabled American Veterans) has named Hailey Curnett of Benton, Arkansas, as recipient of the 2019 Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship’s top prize of $20,000. Curnett will be presented with the award at DAV’s 98th National Convention August 3, in Orlando, Florida. The Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship program h...
Army veteran Tom Moore’s service took him all the way to West Germany, but it was right here in the states where he suffered from a service-related injury. In 2005, Moore sought assistance from DAV, and today he is a proud member of the organization that he describes as “professional” and “considerate.” Se...