I hope everyone had a pleasant holiday and has some fun, safe plans for New Years. Our final episode of 2016 is with Blayne Smith. Blayne is an Army Veteran and currently serves as Executive Director at Team Red, White, and Blue.
Blayne works closely with Team RWB’s board members, staff, and volunteer leaders to develop and implement programs that serve veterans across the country. He provides strategic and operational guidance to the organization while building and managing key partnerships. Blayne is a West Point graduate and former Special Forces officer with combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon leaving the military, he worked at Quest Diagnostics while earning his MBA at the University of Florida. Blayne currently resides in Tampa with his two boys and leads the Team RWB Tampa chapter.
Covered in Episode Eleven:
We're ten episodes in! This podcast has been a lot of fun and we appreciate all of the great feedback we've received. Episode ten brings us Marine Veteran Gregorio Kishketon.
Greg is a VA employee that works at the central office in D.C.. He originally thought he was simply going to be #VeteranOfTheDay, but then he sat down for an interview and opened up about some vulnerable parts of his life.
Covered in Episode Ten:
Episode nine brings us Marine Veteran Justin Blazejewski.
Justin’s introduction to yoga began in 2007 while he was searching for different exercises that would help with a back injury he sustained while serving. Soon after his first class he dove into a daily yoga practice, quickly realizing the physical benefits of yoga when his back pain began to disappear after only a couple of weeks.
Justin was in his 4th year of monthly travel to Afghanistan and Iraq as a government contractor when he devoted himself to a daily yoga practice. Over the last 10 years he served as a communication engineer with a total of 41 temporary duty assignments. After years of constant travel, Justin realized the effects of the war zone were taking their toll, but he also noticed how the benefits of yoga were offsetting these effects.
Covered in Episode Nine:
Episode eight brings us Navy Veteran Alfred Rodrigues. He's affectionately called "Uncle Al" around the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Uncle Al was in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on December 7th, 1941. We caught up with Uncle Al and talked to him about his service.
Covered in Episode Eight:
* WWII Navy Vet finds friend
* Interview with Navy Veteran Alfred Rodrigues
* Al's decision to join the military.
* Pearl Harbor attacks
* Serving during WWII
* Where he was when the war ended
* Sharing his experiences with others
* Our thanks to the Greatest Generation
Episode seven brings us Army Veteran Kayla Williams. Kayla serves as primary advisor to the Secretary on Department policies, programs, and legislation that affect women Veterans. In addition, she oversees the Center’s activities, which include monitoring and coordinating VA’s administration of health care, benefits services, and programs for women Veterans; serving as an advocate for cultural transformation (both within VA and in the general public) in recognizing the service and contributions of women Veterans and Servicemembers; and raising awareness of the responsibility to treat women Veterans with dignity and respect.
She is author of two books. Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army, is a memoir about her deployment to Iraq. Her second book is, Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War, about her family’s journey from trauma to healing.
Covered in Episode Seven:
* Information on MakeTheConnection.net
* Interview with Army Veteran Kayla Williams
* Kayla's decision to join the military.
* Military before & after the 9/11attacks
* Serving in Iraq
* Transitioning from Servicemember to military spouse and Veteran
* Working at Center for Women Veterans
* Connecting with the Center for Women Veterans
* #VeteranOfTheDay Air Force Veteran Timothy Montjoy