LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and the beginning of the Global War on Terror, Team Red, White & Blue knows that we need to remain nimble to meet the growing population of modern veterans. Every day, around 550 American service members leave the military. For them, the return to civilian life marks the start of something new.
Some of these men and women will return wounded in some way. Most will face the challenge of finding a new job and learning new skills. As I did when I left the Army in 2006, all of us return to communities across America increasingly facing an epidemic of isolation and loneliness.
Since I joined Team RWB in 2012, we’ve been working hard to crack the code on overcoming that isolation – by connecting America’s veterans to their communities through physical and social activity. We continue to insist that all veterans have the opportunity to reclaim what was most precious about our military service: an unwavering sense of belonging born of challenges that show us what we are capable of.
Throughout 2018, our organization worked to position ourselves to meet the needs of even more veterans in the coming months and years. When we look back in a decade, we will regard 2018 as a crucial inflection point in our history.
- Our dedicated staff and volunteers delivered Team RWB programs in 200 locations across the country and generated more than 325,000 veteran interactions across more than 38,000 events.
- We implemented systems to more effectively assess and deliver our programs to our 150,000+ members across the nation. These new platforms will support our three-year strategic growth plan to more than double our veteran membership.
- We published a manuscript in a respected medical journal detailing the Team RWB model that delivers positive outcomes for veterans every day. It was the culmination of a five-year effort by a large team, and we’re incredibly proud of the world-changing implications it offers.
Unfortunately, 2018 was also a year of tragedy, when two Team RWB Eagles were tragically murdered at the Borderline shooting in Thousand Oaks, CA. I want to use this opportunity to remember Dan Manrique, staff member and long-time Eagle Leader, and Justin Meek, a member of our Ventura chapter. We carry their memory and example of selfless service with us every day.
I am proud that we’ve continued to stay focused on our core mission to serve veterans in an impactful way. I’m excited for 2019 and beyond!