veterans

Meet Brent Garlic

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“The challenge never stops; remember your training,” says Brent Garlic. While many veterans anticipate an uphill battle upon separation with a seemingly irrelevant skill set, Brent disagrees.  An Army veteran, Warrior Game athlete, and fitness enthusiast, Brent is no stranger to battling adversary. He has not let his injury, hold him back, but rather used it as an opportunity to further challenge his physical and mental limits. With the help of The Extra Mile team and partner sponsors, he will be competing at the 2018 Warrior Games hosted at the Air Force Academy on June 1-9.

The Warrior Games is a United States Department of Defense multi-sporting event competition for wounded, injured, or ill service personnel and veterans spanning across the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, SOCOM, U.K Armed Forces, Australian Defense Forces, and Canadian Armed Forces. Events range from archery to wheelchair basketball.

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In 1998, Brent enlisted in the Army, looking for an opportunity to develop himself physically and mentally through adversary while serving his country. The Army provided the perfect opportunity for Brent to become a better leader, create robust fortitude, and live an athletic lifestyle.

In the Army, Brent served as a 19K—tank gunner—in 1CAV 2-12. Before his accident, he served a tour in Bosnia where he embraced the cold and rough lifestyle. When he returned home, he could not wait to pursue the Green to Gold program and explore further opportunities to become a leader.

Brent encourages all service members and veterans transitioning into the civilian sector to take charge of their future. He advocates while there are many programs and veteran support, it is up to you to forge your opportunities. During his recovery, he found himself in a dark place and often alone. However, what got him on his feet and at a full sprint ahead was reaching out for help. He was able to use his team and loved ones to keep himself accountable to be an active participant in personal recovery, and encourages others to do the same.

The 2018 Warrior Games will be Brent’s first appearance for Team Army competition in basketball, cycling, swimming, and powerlifting. The Army’s adaptive reconditioning program, which uses sports to strengthen physical and mental health, has opened his eyes to numerous possibilities. He knew he would pursue physical challenges, but never thought that he would be able to find new talents and compete like the Warrior Games have allowed him to.

What’s next? After the Warrior Games, Brent will be training for an ultra marathon and envisions himself competing at the Invictus Games. There’s no slowing him down, and he cannot wait to share his experiences to aid the next generation of veterans transition from military service.

Meet Chandan Kochhar

This is Chandan Kochhar. Chandan is a US Army Reserves Culinary Specialist stationed at Fort Worth, and he has an extensive history in cybersecurity and compliance. Sponsored by The Extra Mile Foundation, he will be attending a cybersecurity course taught by VetinTech next week to enhance his portfolio as he seeks civilian employment.

Born in India, Chandan completed his bachelors in computer science prior to moving to the United States in 2008. He has held several positions within cybersecurity before enlisting in the US Army Reserves in 2015. His hard work and dedication is an exemplary instance of our veterans pursuing the American dream. Way to go Chandan!

 

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Veterans Golf Program

In 2012, at the request of Mather VA Hospital, Marine Corps veteran Joe Neff created the Veteran’s Golf Program.  What began as a six man team is now pushing 100 participants and is open to all veterans whether male, female, disabled, injured, or ill. There is no cost for the participants, the program is 100% self-sufficient, and comprised of volunteer coaches.

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Through the generosity of individual donors and sponsoring businesses, they’ve scaled to expand their influence outside of just golf. They also provide equipment, transportation, and even housing for veterans in need. This past holiday season they provided dinners, presents, and friendly support for in need vets and their families.

The sport of golf has allowed veterans of various backgrounds and ages to gather in a nurturing atmosphere in which to train, play, and socialize with fellow vets. 

If you’re looking for healthy exercise, excellent instruction, and a chance to reconnect with fellow vets, this is your place. All skill levels are welcome, please contact:
Joe Neff, Director VGP at veteransgolfprogram@gmail.com


Our First Month In Review

We would like to begin by thanking all of our advisors, supporters, and early donors for helping us pursue our mission of supporting veteran empowering organizations. Without your guidance and encouragement, we would have not been able to do what we have done so far. Thank you!

Our Mission
As a nonprofit travel agency built to alleviate travel burdens for veteran supporting organizations, we aggregate donated frequent flyer miles and leverage our network of drivers get veterans to empowerment events. The process of transitioning out of the military is daunting, and we seek to make that process seamless.

By The Numbers
While we have been developing since last year, we launched our minimal viable product via our website on March 20, 2018. Since then we have raised 127,830 miles, sponsored 3 veteran empowering events, and partnered with 8 nonprofits. We started as an idea, but today we are making real change. Today, over 45,000 veteran supporting organizations are registered with the IRS, but 64% of them fail to make a single contribution due to the daunting overhead costs.

Courtesy US Department of Defense/ EJ Hersom

Courtesy US Department of Defense/ EJ Hersom

Who Are Our Veterans?
We sponsored veterans of various backgrounds with different needs. The first veteran was Chris McGinnis, an Army veteran competing at the Warrior Games this year. After he suffered from a lower body injury in Afghanistan, the Warrior Games have provided an opportunity for him to compete again, giving him “an even bigger sense of mental strength [to be] more resilient than [he] was before.” We are ecstatic to support SGT McGinnis as he competes to challenge himself and set the standard for all wounded veterans.

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Milestones
Since our launch, we have worked hard to spread the mission of The Extra Mile Foundation, from social media to pitching at competitions. On March 13, we competed at the Mid-Hudson Business Plan Competition, and secured first place. We received a $1,000 prize, which went straight to funding veterans. We are heading to the New York State competition on April 27th in an attempt to reach more individuals and create partnerships. Our goal for the next five months is to raise awareness, support more veterans, and partner with veteran centric corporations.

Thank you very much for following our path to success. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time if you would like to support the cause or recommend an organization that could use our help.

Best,
Andrew Lee
Founder and Executive Director


The Extra Mile Foundation Placing First at the Mid-Hudson Regional Business Competition

Andrew Lee and Alexandra Davis with Dr. Susan Scanlon (Assistant Dean of Marist College), Ed Bergstraesser (sponsor with AT&T), Peter Hall (sponsor with iCANny), and a representative from the office of Senator Sue Serino of New York.

Andrew Lee and Alexandra Davis with Dr. Susan Scanlon (Assistant Dean of Marist College), Ed Bergstraesser (sponsor with AT&T), Peter Hall (sponsor with iCANny), and a representative from the office of Senator Sue Serino of New York.

On April 13, 2018, Andrew Lee and Alexandra Davis represented The Extra Mile Foundation at the Mid-Hudson Regional Business Competition. Hosted at Marist College, this competition was a qualifier for top teams to advance to the New York State Business Plan Competition where the duo will spread the mission and vision to a larger audience and compete for cash prizes totaling up to $500,000.

At the Mid-Hudson Regional competition, the two competed with various innovative initiatives ranging from cheap, nutritious bento subscription boxes targeting college students to revolutionary eReaders for the visually impaired.

The Extra Mile Foundation will be using the 1st place prize of $1,000 towards marketing to increase their reach to donors to aggregate miles for veteran supporting organizations. Please give them a warm hand and share this post to spread the mission of The Extra Mile Foundation!


Raphael Ko

We would like to thank Raphael "Raph" Ko for his generous mile donation and for sharing his career transition story. Raph is an IT support specialist working for NASA on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) science center, but prior to this job, he served in the Marine Corps for seven years as a landing support specialist.

After separating from the military, he initially sought to get a job that directly tied to his training as a logistician in the Marine Corps; however, he soon realized that employers highly valued his work ethic and character developed during his time of service rather than just his technical skills. This gave him the confidence to pursue a unique career he is passionate about.

His advice for veterans transitioning into the civilian sector is to remain humble and not be afraid to ask for help. He attributes his success to the character built within the Marine Corps.

Thanks Raphael for your donation, and Sempi Fi!