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Meet IVMF’s #HometownHero, Sandra Brownlee, a 26-year U.S. Army combat medic veteran.

Brownlee served at Fort Jackson and was later stationed at Camp Casey in Korea where she served as an emergency room technician. She later instructed at the NCO Academy in Butzbach, Germany.

In 1990, her ambulance platoon was the first to deploy in Operation Desert Storm, transporting over 200 injured soldiers during her 8-month deployment.

Brownlee was also the only black female airborne soldier that was part of the first Forward Surgical Team established in Wurzburg, Germany. During that same tour, she was selected to be the Emergency Section Sergeant in a 20-soldier Forward Surgical Team (Airborne) with a worldwide rapid deployment mission, the only one of its kind in Europe.

In 1996, she deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Endeavor and Joint Guard.

In 2003, as a Senior Medical NCO of Lawrence Joel Army Health Clinic at Fort McPherson, she implemented the clinic’s first Sergeant’s Time Training program, increasing readiness of soldiers deploying to Afghanistan.

After her retirement, Brownlee started DSP2, Discovering Soldiers’ Potential, a business that works to help homeless veterans find a place to live, healthcare and counseling services.

“DSP2 was done out of what I feel was a necessity if I failed to assist a veteran in need of support,” Brownlee said. “To have a young Vietnam, Desert Storm or Iraq veteran say that because of DSP2 they now have a new start and look forward to what they can offer as a service to the community they so proudly served, I can sleep at night.”

Brownlee earned her Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration from the University of Phoenix. She has been married 27 years to a fellow servicemember and together they have 3 children. To learn more about DSP2, visit www.dsp2veterans.com.
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High Speed, Top!!
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Meet IVMF’s #StudentOfTheWeek, Rabbina Carter, a U.S. Air Force veteran.

During Carter’s military career, she worked as an Aircraft Fuel Systems Technician and served as Systems Administrator. She received the Air Combat Command Logistics Standardization & Evaluation Team Outstanding Performer in 2004 and 2006. She also received the Air Force Achievement Medal. Carter’s military career was cut short due to disabilities, but it did not deter her from her passion for service.

In 2014, Carter attended the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) National Convention and is a previous graduate of the V-WISE NYC program.

"V-WISE changed my entire view on my business,” she said. “The program is amazing and I'm extremely thankful to be a part of it."

Carter is the founder of B. Ayesha Inc., an online boutique (Chaussure Boite Boutique), blog (B. Ayesha Inc ~ The Blog), app (B. Ayesha Inc ~ The App) and jewelry line (Avec Amour Jewelry Designs). Carter is an up-and-coming stylist and her blog is used as a platform to help small businesses reach a more diverse target audience.

Carter holds a degree in Electronics Engineering and is currently an IT Professional at Hampton University. She is also a Soror of Alpha Gamma Xi Military Sorority, an international organization that was founded by military women, for military women. Carter is also the Co-Chair for the Lupus Foundation of America's 2015 Lupus Walk Now in Newport News, Virginia.

Carter is also the founder of the non-profit, Educate. Inspire. Transform (EIT). The non-profit does philanthropic projects for the back-to-school season and Thanksgiving.

For more information on Rabbina Carter's many business endeavors, visit her website at www.bayeshainc.com.
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Meet IVMF’s #HometownHero of the Week, Dan Piston.

Piston served in the U.S. Navy as a Crewchief and Rescue Swimmer. In 2009, Piston was deployed to Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. In 2010, he deployed to Haiti in support of Operation Unified Response and then back to Manama. He returned one last time in 2012. Piston also had numerous detachments to aircraft carriers to provide search and rescue support for day and night time fixed wing practice landings.

“It was an honor to serve in the military and be part of something with a meaningful purpose. I got to learn, grow and experience things that most people will never get the opportunity to. The men and women I served with were some of the best people I have ever met and I do not think I would be who I am today without having been in the military,” Piston said.

Prior to getting out of the Navy, Piston received an Emergency Medical Technician certification, allowing him to volunteer with the Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services at Davis Corner Rescue Squad – Station #2.

Piston found that his passion involved health and upon separating from the Navy in 2013, he attended Syracuse University for Health and Exercise Science. He currently plans to apply for a Master in Public Administration.

“The transition from military to civilian was every bit as hard as the transition from civilian to military and most people do not understand it. I had to rediscover purpose in life, which I have been able to do with the help from other veterans and my family,” said Piston.

In his spare time, Piston works as a student intern at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families on the Community Engagement Team. He also coaches CrossFit at CrossFit Syracuse. He continues to volunteer as an EMT and enjoys going on adventures with his fiancé.
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Good work Dan !!!!!!!!!!
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Meet the IVMF staff! Dan Savage serves as a Senior Director on IVMF’s Community Engagement team, responsible for creating community-based solutions to challenges facing veterans and their families.

Savage has played a leading role in IVMF’s nation-wide study of veteran-serving nonprofit organizations published by the George W. Bush Institute, assisted in the development of the AmericaServes framework and is now leading the launch of our Onward to Opportunity program with the Schultz Family Foundation.

Savage grew up in Chicago Heights, Illinois. He first visited Washington, DC when he was 7 and decided he wanted to join the Army.

“I was fascinated with our military and American history and became a really patriotic kid,” Savage said.

Savage enrolled at West Point in July 2001 after high school.

“We were the last class to enter West Point before 9/11 and that really shaped our time there. We all expected to spend our Army service patrolling Kosovo, but just over 2 months into our time at school, the whole world changed before our eyes. We knew immediately that all of us would eventually go to war,” he said.

Upon graduation, Savage was commissioned as an infantry officer, serving 5 years in Georgia, Germany, Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt. After completing his infantry, airborne and Ranger training, he led a 46-man Stryker rifle platoon through 8 months of training and a 15-month deployment to Iraq. In Baghdad, he led his platoon on nearly 300 combat missions during “the Surge,” including the three-month Battle of Sadr City.

In 2010, Savage separated from the Army and enrolled at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University to complete a master’s degree in public policy.

“I knew I was ready to move on from the Army, but I wanted to find a way to keep serving in some capacity. The work I did at Harvard eventually landed me here at IVMF and I’m grateful to have found that new outlet for service,” Savage said.
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Rangers Lead The Way!
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Meet IVMF’s #StudentOfTheWeek, Eileen Collins, a U.S. Air Force veteran.

Collins joined the U.S. Air Force in 1980 where she completed basic training at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX, and Technical Training in Biloxi, MS. Her first tour of duty was at Kelly AFB, San Antonio, TX where she developed her experience as an Administrative Support Staff (70230B). Her enlistment included an 18-month overseas assignment at RAF Fairford, England. Collins achieved the rank of A1C before returning to the States and completing her enlistment.

In 2007, Collins founded Admin-On-Call, Executive Assistant on the Run, which provides executive administrative support to entrepreneurs, small business owners and home based businesses on an as-needed basis.

“Admin-On-Call was born after helplessly watching my sister’s business close on the fifth anniversary of operation because of the lack of support in ‘running’ the business. Her time to grow the business was consumed by the time needed to run the business,” Collins said.

After starting her business, Collins attended the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) NYC conference to further pursue her venture.

“It was through the knowledge gained from attending the boot camp and the connections made through networking with my fellow military entrepreneurs that I was able to find the courage to keep pushing and take my business to another level,” she said.

Collins and her husband are also investors in the real estate market as well as founders of a non-profit organization that will bring families together called A.P.A.C.T. (Active Parents and Children Together).

Collins is a 2009 Strayer University graduate with an associate’s degree in Arts Business Administration. Collins lives in Syracuse, NY with her husband, two sons and two dogs. Their oldest son lives in Detroit, MI with their 11 grandchildren.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Bell Photography.
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Thanks for your inspiring post. 
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Women Veterans, Servicemembers and Military Spouses to Receive Entrepreneurship Training May 28-30 at V-WISE DC – Conference organized by IVMF, U.S. Small Business Administration​, Citi​ and Newman's Own​ Foundation. 
http://vets.syr.edu/women-veterans-servicemembers-and-military-spouses-to-receive-entrepreneurship-training-may-28-30-at-v-wise-dc/
Conference organized by Institute for Veterans and Military Families, with support of U.S. Small Business Administration, Citi and Newman's Own Foundation. Winners of Citi Salutes: Realizing Your Dream Business Plan Competition to be announced. 15751510600_f00731c6e9_z Veteran Women Igniting the ...
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FOOD PANTRY 
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Tune in to @PBS tonight to watch 'The Homefront' - Exploring the lives of #milfams, across all branches of service 9PM/8C http://ow.ly/i/aVGyx
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The IVMF was proud to support the inaugural Lincoln Awards - the recipients are an incredible group of people who have served our nations’ veterans tirelessly. Watch TONIGHT on PBS as they are honored by some not-to-be-missed performances at the star-studded Lincoln Awards: A Concert for Veterans and the Military Family. #lincolnawards2015 http://www.thelincolnawards.org/
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Walmart Foundation Announces Two Additional Grants Totaling $350,000 in Support of Its Welcome Home North Carolina Initiative Grants reinforce IVMF's and Walmart's ongoing commitment to coordinate existing veteran supportive services capacity across North Carolina, read more here: http://ow.ly/NcFek
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Walmart, a long-time supporter of entrepreneurship programs with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, announced the next step in its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment and will guarantee job offers to even more transitioning troops. Read more about Walmart's efforts to support veterans and military families at the link below. Of particular note related to veteran and military family entrepreneurs and programs such as Operation Boots to Business, Veteran Women Igniting The Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), and the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities: 

"Walmart is also extending its support for transitioning military members and their families beyond the company’s operations and is leveraging the size and scale of its supply chain to further support programs that provide training, education and economic opportunity.

- Coalition for Veteran Owned Business: On May 5, Walmart participated in the launch of the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business, which will work to create opportunities for veteran and military-family owned businesses with American businesses and supply chains.

- Walmart’s U.S. Manufacturing Summit and Open Call: Walmart is also specifically encouraging military and veteran-owned businesses to apply for its annual U.S. Manufacturing Summit and Open Call to be held July 7-8, 2015 in Bentonville, Ark. The summit and open call will provide an opportunity to meet with Walmart’s buyers and facilitate meetings for current and potential suppliers with key state economic development officials.
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Also noted in the Walmart release was support for IVMF's Community Engagement work: The Walmart Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to support a three-year initiative to pilot new ways in which non-profit, public, and private sectors can better work together to serve veterans.
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The Honorable John M. McHugh, Secretary of the U.S. Army will visit the IVMF at +Syracuse University on Thursday morning, May 21, to learn more about the IVMF and the many veteran and military-connected programs and services offered at Syracuse University.
Read more here: http://vets.syr.edu/u-s-secretary-of-army-to-visit-syracuse-university-on-may-21/
Former Congressman, representing CNY and Northern New York, John M. McHugh to discuss veteran and military-connected programs at SU. JohnMMcHugh The Honorable John M. McHugh, Secretary of the U.S. Army and former member of Congress representing Northern and Central New York, will visit Syracuse ...
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Latest IVMF Research Brief focuses on the prevalence of suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts among military-connected youth in California. http://ow.ly/N0o2d
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315.443.0141
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INSTITUTE FOR VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES Syracuse University 150 Crouse Drive Syracuse, NY 13244