‘Veterans leaving the military often feel ill-equipped to handle the transition’
Viewpoints: As more veterans are exiting the military, more transitional programs are needed to support them, writes retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Leroy Sisco, Military Warriors Support Foundation’s founder and CEO.
After 42 years in the military, I was determined to continue to serve our nation’s heroes because they have supported this great country and me in such a strong way. Many veterans leaving the military often feel ill-equipped to handle the transition, with limited training received prior to exiting. As more veterans are exiting the military, more transitional programs are needed to support them. Since 2007, Military Warriors Support Foundation has been addressing these transitional needs through support programs aimed at helping the participants reintegrate back into civilian life.
We have awarded almost 900 mortgage-free homes to combat-wounded heroes and Gold Star spouses to provide them with a path to homeownership.
Through our Homes4WoundedHeroes and Homes4GoldStars housing programs, we have awarded almost 900 mortgage-free homes to combat-wounded heroes and Gold Star spouses to provide them with a path to homeownership. With Wells Fargo’s donation of more than 300 homes, we have been able to give away homes in all 50 states. In addition to the home, each family participates in our three-year family and financial mentoring program. This program provides a path to financial stability, which will shape future generations. Participating families have paid off more than $20 million in personal debt and raised their credit score an average of 45 points.
Our vehicle donation program, Transportation4Heroes, awards payment-free vehicles to veterans in need of reliable transportation and financial education. We’ve been able to award nearly 100 vehicles through this program with the help of Wells Fargo, which has donated over 35 vehicles and sponsored one-year of family and financial mentoring valued at over $1 million. Combat-wounded veterans and Gold Star spouses who are part of this program use the skills they acquire to pay down, on average, $12,200 of personal debt. In addition, through our WellnessRides4Heroes program, veterans receive transportation to medical appointments at the Veterans Affairs medical centers in San Antonio.
Conducted by former military members, our recreational programs allow the heroes to receive peer-to-peer mentoring in informal settings like hunting, fishing, and golfing trips to infuse the competition and camaraderie that may have been left behind in the military. This mentoring extends into our Leadership4Life program, which guides participants to evaluate and translate the skills learned in the military to civilian life — and to discover the purpose of their life and create a plan to fulfill that purpose. Training focuses on responsibility and overall growth of each individual and duty to their community.
Military Warriors Support Foundation could not have done any of this without our incredible supporters, such as Wells Fargo, that we’ve been blessed to have serve alongside us over the years. As champions of so many of our programs, you can see how much Wells Fargo’s employees share our passion for serving our nation’s heroes and how the company has been an incredible example of corporate support of veterans. In addition, the company has organized volunteer events and provided opportunities for executives to spend valuable time with our heroes, teaching them about leadership and professional development strategies.
We look forward to many more years working with Wells Fargo and all our supporters, as we join together to serve the heroes who have served for us.