Washington, D.C. – As the nation commemorates the service and sacrifice of veterans, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) saluted the generations of veterans who have served our county in uniform and have returned to continue their leadership here at home.
“We mark Veterans Day by showing our gratitude to individuals of all ages who have sacrificed for our county,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “Through the courage of their convictions, they have preserved our freedom and made our country stronger. Service is an honor that can be shared with those who served in uniform, and those who serve in their communities."
"We are honored to work with our partners in the military and nonprofit community to create economic opportunities for veterans and their families. Our commitment is more than just words. We have tapped the skills and leadership abilities of veterans to serve in AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. As the federal agency that engages four million Americans in service, we have a responsibility to bring that talent to this cause – today, and every day.”
Veterans are an integral part of national service programs:
- More than 16,000 veterans have served in AmeriCorps since the program started.
- In addition to the veterans who are part of national service, CNCS programs also serve 600,000 veterans and military families in more than 200 communities nationwide.
- About 8,000 Senior Corps volunteers serve at more than 700 Veterans Affairs facilities.
- AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) has supported 50,000 veterans.
In commemoration of Veterans Day, CNCS released a series of profiles of veterans who are continuing their service through its programs.
World War II Veterans
World War II Veteran Vern Truemper, 89, enlisted in the Army Air Corps, now known as the US Air Force, in 1942 and was ordered to Paris with the 367 Fighter Group, supporting Patton's 4th Armored Division until the end of the war. He received orders to be ready to be dispatched to Okinawa for an invasion of Japan. While there, the atomic bomb was dropped and the war came to an end.
After a career as a chemical engineer for DuPont, Truemper looked to give back to his community and became an RSVP volunteer through RSVP of Clinton County, where more than 270 senior volunteers serve locally in Clinton County. Truemper is the lead volunteer on the Income Tax Assistance Programs for low income individuals. He has been instrumental in transitioning the program to the digital side, training fellow volunteers on becoming familiar with computers.
Another veteran, Donald Heuer, 61, is a 24-year career with the US Air Force, serving in the Vietnam and Gulf War. Donald was laid off and turned to AmeriCorps as an option to give back and serve his fellow veterans. As an AmeriCorps member based in Caldwell with the Idaho Department of Labor, Donald made contact with more than 3,800 Veterans, promoting the services offered through the Department of Labor. Success stories include one veteran, a self-employed electrician, who had come in after exhausting his savings with a family to care for. Heuer provided the man with employment listings, where the individual secured employment and went back to work two weeks later.
Veteran Leader Corps
On October 10, AmeriCorps Director Bill Basl and Gen. (Ret.) George W. Casey Jr. swore in new members of the Veteran Leader Corps (VLC) who will be part of the Community Blueprint, a national initiative to support the reintegration of returning military service members, veterans, and their families. The VLC is an AmeriCorps program that develops volunteer leadership and meaningful service opportunities, and cultivates job readiness with robust training and resources for veterans and military families.
CNCS is the largest funder of the project, which is administered by Points of Light and joined by a coalition of more than 55 veteran and military service organizations, nonprofits and government agencies from across the country. ITT Exelis is the principal corporate sponsor. The initiative's goal is to establish 200 cities and towns as Community Blueprint communities by 2014. Current Community Blueprint sites include Huntsville, AL; the State of Delaware; Los Angeles, CA; Orange County, CA; San Diego, CA; Denver, CO; Jacksonville, FL; Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; Macon, GA; Valdosta, GA; State of Indiana; Fayetteville, NC; Dallas, TX; Huntsville, TX; Tyler, TX; Fairfax, VA; Hampton Roads, VA; Seattle, WA; and Tacoma, WA.
Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Corps
In 2009, the Washington Commission for National and Community Service partnered with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs to launch the first CNCS-funded Vet Corps program in the nation to engage veterans in AmeriCorps national service positions. Veterans' mission continues through their civilian national service experience, which enables them to make a positive difference in communities across Washington State while aiding their reintegration back into the community following their military service.
Engaging Veterans with Disabilities Initiative
In 2010, CNCS launched the Engaging Veterans with Disabilities Initiative to enhance the capacity of national service programs to successfully recruit, engage, and support veterans with disabilities as active service members. This program includes working with enlisted Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who have experienced Post-Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, and other combat issues. A study of the initiative will soon be released, which documents the experiences of veterans with disabilities who serve through AmeriCorps.