RollingThunder

How could you not be amazed by this group?

I am just walking in the door direct from a Veterans Matter Team trip to Manville, NJ – the home of the Rolling Thunder National Headquarters.

The entire Rolling Thunder organization in Manville, NJ, is top-notch!! Everyone was very welcoming and there is a spirit of energy, enthusiasm, camaraderie, and deep-rooted commitment to the cause of honoring and being the voice for POW/ MIAs of all wars.

In addition to this heroic effort, Rolling Thunder also offers much needed support to all veterans through numerous community outreaches, lobbying and national awareness raising initiatives. The organization has 90+ chapters world-wide of highly committed members that align and carry out the Rolling Thunder vision all across America.

I visited the organization last month and mentioned to their President Gary Scheffmeyer some of the work we were doing with Veterans Matter and he invited me to speak about the work of Veterans Matter during their December meeting. During the presentation I spoke about my tours in combat in Iraq and a later deployment to Afghanistan. I offered that transitions back to the non-combat setting and transitions out of the military go harder for some than it does others, but at the end of the day it is still one team, one fight, and whether in or out of uniform, we take care of our Shipmates, our Battle Buddies, our Wing Men and our Marines (Marines are Marines – enough said).

Following my remarks, I opened the floor to Ken Leslie, our authentic and charismatic leader, who flew in from Toledo, OH (on donated frequent flier miles) just to shake the hand of the remarkable founder of Rolling Thunder, Artie Muller, meet this incredible group, and tell more about Veterans Matter, the nation-wide movement to house homeless veterans. And of course, add to the laughter and cheer. He talked about how Veterans Matter seeks the ideal, saying, “The ideal would be to house homeless Veterans instantaneously; instead, we still need one minute to confirm the required deposit to the landlord who then hands over the keys. Not ‘ideal’, but extremely close.” The whole room chuckled in acknowledgement.

Following the meeting we were invited to stay and join in their holiday Christmas Dinner. The spread was vast and delicious! While joining in the festivities we had many members walk up with great ideas to help our cause, as well as many words of encouragement about the great work Veterans Matter is doing and coming from this group of super stars – those compliments really meant a lot.

We talked and mingled. Our team of four also included Cameron Kaufman and Doug Harts, who are members of the Veterans Matter – Mid-Atlantic  Board of Directors, also drove up from Northern Virginia to offer their support, engage with members and answer any questions during the discussions pre- and post-meeting.

There are many great veteran-supporting organizations out there. We as organizations that help veterans must know those who labor among us and partner, collaborate, and find the synergies that allow us to bring more impact to our organizations’ missions and veterans who need our support.

~ To those organizations that labor among us, I salute you. Happy New Year! ~

— Ki Magee, Board of Directors, Veterans Matter – Mid-Atlantic
Sunday, December 21, 2014; 9:53 p.m.