352.483.0434 x 146
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Michael’s Foundation hosts Women Veterans Day with a community event to celebrate women veterans and their families
Clermont, FL – Celebrate Women Veterans Day with FREE food, inspiring guest speakers, and yard games for the whole family at Michael’s Foundation on June 11th, 2022. Women Veterans Day commemorates President Truman’s signing into law the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act on June 12th, 1948, allowing women to serve as permanent, regular members of the military,
“We are thrilled to increase our women Veterans programming, to support and raise awareness of what women in arms have experienced. While we’ve kept our normal program and activity schedule the same, we’ve added several programs for women veterans, with this intention in mind- to further support our lady vets and foster that community,” says Eileen Daley, Chief Operating Officer at Michael’s Foundation, “Our additions include a Gathering of Women Veteran’s Day for veterans and their families, a lady veteran luncheon, a horsemanship program, and more.”
Visit the farm that Michael’s Foundation calls home and learn more about their mission.
What: Women Veterans Day Celebration
When: Saturday, June 11th from 10am – 2pm
Where: 11105 Autumn Lane, Clermont, FL 34711 (the big yellow barn)
To RSVP and to learn more about Michael’s Foundation, visit their event’s page:https://michaels-foundation.org/event/womenveteransday/
For more info, contact Eileen Daley at 407-917-2957
Habitat Lake-Sumter will be among several Veteran-focused organizations also on-site that provide resources to Veterans in the community. Lacie Himes, Director of Development at Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter says, “Since building the Umatilla Veterans Village, we’ve continued to provide affordable housing solutions through our Veterans Housing Initiative. By partnering with organizations like Michael’s Foundation, we’re able to support Veterans access to the extended resources and benefits they deserve.”
Media is invited to attend the Women Veterans Day celebration in Clermont, Florida
About Michael’s Foundation
Michael’s Foundation is a non-profit that began in 2019 with the goal to support veterans and their families: to foster the veteran community, encourage empowerment and promote well-being through experience-based programming.
About Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida
Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida has been your local Hometown Habitat serving individuals in Lake and Sumter Counties with access and opportunity to affordable housing solutions since 1989. As an affiliate of Habitat International we empower local families to achieve strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter and are united by a shared vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
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Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter, Florida
O: (352) 483-0434 x146
C: (352) 396-6763
We had the pleasure of interviewing Bonnie S., one of our veteran members who’s kind and beautiful heart can be felt from miles away! We are thankful she’s been a part of Michael’s Foundation for about 3 months now.
Bonnie is an Army Veteran, who served for 12 years. Here are some highlights of our chat:
“Being in the military was enlightening, an experience which broadened my horizons. Serving my country felt like my purpose.
My MOS(the role or job of someone in the military) was Personnel Actions. I coordinated other officers who needed to do line of duty investigations. I supported the federal agents, and state agents working on different cases related to illegal activity regarding drugs. I would transpose what I heard through the wire tap. I really enjoyed it. It felt like I was on a mission!
What was challenging about it was being a woman veteran. I felt insecure about feeling like I was valued like my male counterparts. My own perceptions were conflicting, due to how it was then, with women being resented for being in the military and I had judgments and worries about that. I wasn’t sure. No one in my family had been in the military, so it was a time of unpredictability for me. But I felt it was my passion.
Eventually we got called out for Desert Storm. That was unnerving. Then we were 2 weeks from going over to Saudi Arabia and were mobilized to Fort Hood. I had to stay in Fort Hood and It was turbulent for us because we had to fill the soldiers shoes who left to go to Saudi Arabia and we had no training. I lived in the barracks for 9 months. It was an experience.
Now that I’m retired I love encouraging highschoolers to go into the Military to experience the appreciation for it and to understand the importance of protecting our country when we need to.
I enjoy being a part of Michael’s Foundation and feel stronger because I’m united with other veterans who are seeking recovery and coping skills too. We can help each other. I really like the drum circle and Heroes Connection Day where you sync your heart with the horse’s.
I feel at home. We have a bond here and I appreciate the connection again. Being able to be a part of the community, to help myself, help other vets, and I love horses!- That’s why I am here.”
We’re so happy you are, Bonnie!
On May 28th we are hosting our biggest event yet for veterans and their families, and for good reason, it’s Memorial Day weekend! Celebrate Our Heroes-a Memorial Day Tribute Event will go from 10am-3pm, and the lineup of honorary entertainment is not to be missed or forgotten. Just like our heroes, the service people who’ve dedicated their lives to fighting for and serving our country.
This day will be an incredibly special one on the farm. From kid’s entertainment (face painting, games, pony rides) to our Fallen Soldier Programming: A flag ceremony, a Fallen Soldier Table, Veteran guest speakers with inspirational stories (like Eric Davidson’s), a drill performance on horseback (from the Veteran members of the McCormick Research Institute) and more, the activities of the day are sure to stir a variety of emotions, but most importantly, bring people together. Though Memorial Day can be a somber one, here at Michael’s Foundation, and on May 28th, we plan to celebrate, commemorate, and create community around a beautiful day of remembrance. We will celebrate the men and women in service and those who’ve served, with joy and love. They deserve nothing but.
We’re most excited to welcome and host the following guest speaker at May 28th’s event, CFO and Director of Veteran Affairs for McCormick Research Institute, Eric Davidson.
Eric Davidson served in the United States Army between 1995 and 2007; serving tours in Korea and later in the Middle East in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a combat-wounded AW2 veteran. After being injured in combat in 2003, Eric went on to study at Stetson University’s Executive Business Program. Feeling called to serve the veteran community, Eric continued to study Military Resilience at Liberty University. In more recent years, Eric dedicates most of his time to serving fellow veterans as they recover from war and transition back into civilian life. He has worked as a Chaplain serving veterans with PTSD for over 10 years.
Today, Eric’s role at McCormick gives him the opportunity to use his experience of overcoming a Traumatic Brain Injury and post-combat trauma to counsel and support the veteran community. He is a passionate advocate for veteran families and works hard to support and create programs that help our warriors overcome PTSD. He speaks across the country with 3 main goals:To reduce veteran suicide, recover the wounded, and restore veteran families, with the overall goal of providing the necessary tools needed for families to thrive through adversity.
Come hear Eric’s inspiring story on our farm on May 28th from 10am-3pm. You won’t want to miss it!
Where: 11105 Autumn Lane, Clermont Fl, 34711
When: May 28th, 10am-3pm
Call for more info: 407-917-2957
Rsvp by clicking here: Celebrate Our Heroes- Memorial Day Event
As the founder of Michael’s Foundation I truly believed that starting a nonprofit in honor of my son Michael, who took his own life just a shortly after he left his eight year career with the Army, would be relatively easy. I believed my passion and fulfilling Michael’s dream of helping veterans and their families post military to thrive just not survive, would be more than attainable. After all, I spent 30+ years as a C-level employee with large companies, owned 2 businesses, I had the desire, I had the financial backing, and I was surrounded by people who also believed in my mission to help veterans and their families assimilate back into Civilian life post military service.
What I did not understand or could not have dreamed of, is that a for-profit business is way different than a non-profit business, no matter how much passion, purpose, and support one has in creating a nonprofit organization. Certainly I never thought our nonprofit would be in its infancy during a worldwide pandemic; decimating our world through loss of lives, illness, people having to shutter into their homes for months, and worldwide-economic set backs. We felt as though the world stopped functioning as normal in the year of no name, both in our community and our personal lives.
Like many non-profits, as well as for profit businesses, Michael’s Foundation had to pivot to survive 2020. Michael’s Foundation team successfully held on through 2020, and 2021 arrived with high hopes to find our new normal. That hope was short lived, as we began to have Covid-19 variants affect both non- vaccinated and vaccinated people in our local community and to our own Michael’s Foundation team members. Once again, we felt paralyzed, unable to make our mission and vision a reality due to the constraints that COIVD-19 CDC guidelines had on our programs. My team and I were asking ourselves, can we pivot once again as a nonprofit who had a purpose and a passion to serve Veterans and their families?
THE ANSWER IS YES! Here we are today, still in the midst of Covid lurking, but we are holding Michael’s Foundation together: making progress, serving our community with our unique programing that is still free to our veterans. We have reached out to others with expertise and experience in organizing , supporting and running a successful nonprofit. We have used zoom for meetings and google for research. What we at Michael’s Foundation have learned is that it takes a village to be a successful non-profit organization. Yes, there are so many different obstacles to maneuver in a non-profit organization, and it can seem all consuming even in the best of situations, but with the guidance and support of others, our passion continues to drive our success.
In my very short time as a non-profit leader I am learning that it takes a Village to help build a successful non-profit with passion and purpose.. I am learning that by reaching out to others, asking for advice, sharing ideas, holding one another up, learning our trade, and understanding what it truly takes to run our foundation successfully are key. I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn in so many different ways, from so many people that I have engaged with over the past few years. It truly does take a Village. Welcome to Michael’s Foundation, it is our hope you will enjoy learning about our mission and vision; that we have been successful in presenting to the public our passion and purpose. We hope you join us in sharing and caring in our mission and support Michael’s Foundation so we can grow and create additional free programing to our veterans and their families.
-By Kriss Titus