Beyond the Super Bowl: Keeping Veterans in the National Dialogue

I’m sure everyone at your office has been talking about Jeep’s “Whole Again” Super Bowl ad and its tribute to America’s Veterans. Our co-founders, SMA Tilley (Chairman) and Ted Hacker (President) were also talking about Veterans at the Super Bowl during its Media Day, in part due to the generous support of Navy Federal Credit Union. One of our ongoing concerns is how to continually raise awareness for the service, sacrifice and needs of our Veteran’s, active duty military and their families.

How do we raise awareness for the employment needs of more than 840,000 unemployed Veterans? According to a January 2013 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, over 1 in 10 post 9/11 Veterans are looking for jobs. In an effort to combat these levels of high unemployment, the Foundation will lauch its W2: Warriors to the Workforce program on February 26-28, 2013 at the Joint Base San Antonio and Ft. Hood in Texas, a state with the second highest number of unemployed Vets. This three day event includes an intensive symposium followed by hiring events at the Joint Base San Antonio and Ft. Hood. The 2013 W2: Warriors to the Workforce schedule of events are an extension of the Foundation’s nationwide initiative over the last two years to address Veteran’s employment needs.

How can we get more Americans engaged in serving those who have served? Our American Freedom Festivals, like the one scheduled March 22nd in Huntsville presented by Northop Grumman featuring Trace Adkins and Jana Kramer, create substantial public awareness and education opportunities while also supporting local charities like Still Serving Veterans. Since its inception, the American Freedom Foundation has donated over $1.1 million to non-profit organizations that provide services to Veterans, active duty military and their families.

What can you do to help?
As our Friend, you already support Veterans in some important way and we’d like to say THANKS. Thanks for making a donation to support our work. Thanks for purchasing tickets to our benefit concerts to support local charities that serve Veterans. Thanks for extending our message by liking us on Facebook.

But, even more importantly, thanks for keeping Veterans in your daily dialogue with your customers, co-workers, friends and neighbors. Your work to make America “Whole Again” is as valuable as any Super Bowl Ad.

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Veterans Employment: A Top Priority for the American Freedom Foundation

Veterans employment issues are one of the leading concerns for the American Freedom Foundation.  According the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report, post 9/11 Veterans have an unemployment rate of 10.9%, higher than all veterans (7.7%) and non-veterans (8%).  “After 11 years of war, our Veterans and their families need help finding jobs,” said American Freedom Foundation Co-Founder SMA Jack Tilley (retired).  “They have given so much to our country, providing opportunities for employment is one way we can give something back to them.”

Beginning in 2011, the American Freedom Foundation, in partnership with CareerBuilder, began hosting Veterans Hiring Events throughout the country, including the Washington DC Region, San Diego and Chicago. The hiring events bring together major companies to profile their services and provide employment opportunities for our Veterans.  Attending Veterans have the chance to talk with employers, submit qualifications, and participate in job interviews.  Attendance is free and open to all Veterans and active duty military.

The Foundation wraps up its 2012 nationwide tour on November 10th in Fairfax, Virginia with the Second Annual Veterans Hiring Event – Washington Capital Region.  Accenture, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, First Command, CACI, Mindteck, American Red Cross and InfoReliance are some of the corporate employers that have stepped up to participate and support our Veterans.  In addition, the Veterans Administration (VA), U.S. Office of Personnel Management Veterans Services, Department of Defense Civilian Personnel Management System, Department of Labor and Department of Energy will be on hand to help make Veterans aware of services available to them.  To learn more about this event and our nationwide effort to find jobs for our Veterans, visit us at

In addition to the upcoming Washington DC Region Hiring Event, the American Freedom Foundation recently partnered with the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce to host a symposium on hiring Veterans.  The event, attended by two hundred people, provided employers with information and best practices to develop and execute successful and sustainable Veterans hiring programs within their companies.  A second track of the half-day symposium, developed for active duty military and Veterans, focused on transitioning into the private sector and climbing the career ladder. The day culminated with one-on-one mentoring sessions between veterans and corporate professionals, many of which are also Veterans.

As we enter the last few months of 2012, we know that employment issues will continue to be a primary concern for our Veterans.  Please join us in helping our Veterans by sharing this blog post with employers and Veterans looking for jobs in Washington DC Region.  To learn more about the American Freedom Foundation and how you can support Veterans, visit us online at

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Concert to benefit Still Serving Veterans and Other Huntsville Area Veterans Community Blueprint Partner Organizations

Multi-platinum country music group Lonestar celebrates its 20 Year Anniversary reuniting with lead singer Richie McDonald

 Tickets go on sale, Friday, March 9 at 10am

 HUNTSVILLE, AL  – [February 28, 2012] The American Freedom Foundation announces its 1st annual American Freedom Festival Huntsville presented by Northrop Grumman and SKYDEX to be held on May 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Von Braun  Center Concert Hall featuring legendary country band,  Lonestar.  This benefit concert for our Veterans and men and women of America’s armed forces will benefit Still Serving Veterans and other Huntsville area Veterans community blueprint partner organizations.

Ticket Information: Tickets for the American Freedom Festival Huntsville on May 5 at 7:30 p.m. are $74.50 (Limited Number of Gold Circle – which will include preferred seating and Lonestar CD/Poster);  $39.50 (Orchestra Level);  $24.50 (Balcony);  $19.50 – $24.50 (Military) plus applicable fees and service charges.  Tickets go on sale Friday, March 9 and will be available through the Von Braun Center box office, online at or at and via Phonecharge at (800) 745-3000.  Accessible seating is available for patrons with disabilities

Military Tickets:  Tickets for active duty military will be available at a discount through the MWR office at the following location:

Redstone Arsenal

MWR Office Ticket

Building 3711

3711 Patton Road

Redstone Arsenal, AL  35898

Tel: (256) 876-4531

About Lonestar

The Texas-bred band, known for merging their country roots with strong melodies and rich vocals, has amassed RIAA-certified sales in excess of 10 million album units since their national launch in 1995 and achieved 10 #1 country hits including “No News,” “Come Crying To Me,” “Amazed” and “I’m Already There”.  The band’s awards include a 1999 ACM Song and Single of The Year for “Amazed” and the 2001 CMA Vocal Group of the Year.  Keyboardist Dean Sams, drummer Keech Rainwater, lead guitarist Michael Britt and lead singer, Richie McDonald are excited to celebrate their 20th anniversary, open a new chapter in their legendary career and record a new album.

In addition to garnering music accolades, Lonestar has been oft-lauded for their continuous outreach in the arena of humanitarian goodwill winning The Academy of Country Music coveted Home Depot Humanitarian Award in 2003 for their work in the tornado ravaged Jackson, Tennessee.  America’s military forces have been a major focus for concert and fund raising efforts by the band as has St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

About The American Freedom Foundation, Inc.

The American Freedom Foundation, Inc. mission is to honor the men and women of America’s armed forces and raise awareness for their service and sacrifice and raise money for organizations that serve and support our Veterans, active duty military and their families.  Special emphasis is directed to the welfare of those wounded in action, those disabled and the families and children of those killed in action in conflicts throughout the world.  Throughout their short history, the American Freedom Foundation has made grants of approximately $1,000,000 to over 30 military organizations.  The American Freedom Festivals are a series of concert events that take place across the country featuring music performers, actors, athletes, dignitaries and other supporters, joining together to help support and fulfill the mission of the American Freedom Foundation, Inc.

About Still Serving Veterans

Still Serving Veterans (SSV) is an Alabama-based Veterans’ service organization that empowers Veterans including wounded warriors and their families to optimally transition into meaningful new careers and post-military lives with all the benefits and service that they have earned.  Founded in 2005, Still Serving Veterans (SSV) has helped more than 5,000 Veterans and their families connect with the services they need to deal with life changing injuries while reintegrating into civilian lives and careers.  Based in Huntsville, Alabama, SSV has become a nationally-recognized center of excellence as a grass roots-level reintegration orchestrator for veterans including wounded warriors and their families.  SSV bridges the gaps, helping Veterans assess their vocational and counseling needs, and then connecting those Veterans with existing federal, state and local support services.  Our critical asset is our thorough knowledge of what services are available and the processes for obtaining those services, combined with caring case workers who understand the unique needs of combat Veterans.

This community supported effort is making a significant difference in the lives of our Veteran heroes and their families through one-on-one, caring case management and advocacy focused on maximization of benefits and services, job placement, and career transition.  SSV also serves as a proactive clearing house/control center linking Veterans with existing government, public, and private sector support services.  In 2010, SSV opened 760 new Veteran cases, conducted 2,404 one-on-one counseling sessions for Veterans, secured over $7.7 million for our Veteran clients, and helped 100 Veterans get hired.

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Facebook: VonBraunCenter and AmericanFreedomFoundation

Twitter: @VBC700 and @amfrfoundation

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Media Contacts:

American Freedom Foundation, Inc.                                        


Von Braun Center
(256) 533-1953


Sanctuary Management (615) 524-7740

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DAUGHTRY Spellbinds Audience

1st Annual Veterans Career Hiring Event Posts High Numbers

Nashville, TN. – (December 7, 2011) The American Freedom Foundation recently announced that they have reached the $1 million mark in giving since the charity’s inception in 2004. The milestone was hit during the 8th annual American Freedom Festival Washington presented by SKYDEX and CareerBuilder which was just held at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA.

This annual tribute to our military featured many extraordinary moments beginning with AFF Co-Founder SMA (R) Jack Tilley riding on stage on an FGM, Inc. donated Big Bear 2005 Venon ProStreet Chopper. The concert featured performances by country singer Red Marlow and Do Not Assume featuring Christal Rheams. Multi-platinum recording artists, Daughtry, whose third album, Break the Spell, recently debuted at Number 8 on the Billboard 200 charts, headlined the event.

At the end of their performance, SMA Tilley and Karri Turner of the CBS hit series, JAG, joined Daughtry onstage, where they made the announcement of the fundraising milestone amid a blizzard of multi-colored confetti and a loud, cheering crowd. As an encore, Daughtry performed their hit song “Home.” The cheers and applause from the crowd confirmed that the lyrics made it a fitting and appropriate song to finish the night’s events and honor our veterans.

Additional Highlights:

  1. Guest speaker, wounded warrior US Navy Lt. Jason Redman. The former Seal gave a speech
    about his service to our country paying tribute to all who came before him and the sacrifices made for our freedom. He moved every single person in the arena as witnessed by an extended standing ovation.
  2. AFF contributions were made to Easter Seals Greater Washington Baltimore Region, USO of Metropolitan Washington, Soldier On and Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors and several others that totaled in excess of $200,000!
  3. The AFF Heroes Supporting Heroes Award was presented to presenting sponsor, SKYDEX’s CEO, Mr. Mike Buchen, for his unselfish and committed service to our veterans, active duty military and military families.
  4. AFF in conjunction with CareerBuilder and the MarCom Group staged the 1st Annual Veterans Career Hiring Event which featured some of the top companies in America. Over

100 veterans were interviewed throughout the day leading to many hires. Companies who participated included Microsoft, Accenture, Nationwide Insurance, NJVC, Security Finance, Washington Gas, TRAX International and Dow Chemical.

The American Freedom Foundation would like to thank the 70 sponsors who made this event possible and the thousands in attendance who never stopped showing their appreciation for our veterans and service members.

Media Contact:

Kim Dettwiller

American Freedom Foundation, Inc.

(615) 330-5656

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8th Annual American Freedom Festival Washington A Rousing Success!

What an amazing night!  The 8th annual American Freedom Festival Washington presented by SKYDEX and CareerBuilder played to a packed house at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA  on Saturday, November 12.  In tribute to our military, the 3 hour extravaganza featured many extraordinary moments beginning with our co-host, SMA Tilley, riding on stage on a 2005 Venom Prostreet Chopper!  Donated by FGM, Inc., SMA Tilley, dressed in his finest motorcycle gear, wowed the crowd with his impersonation of “The Fonz”.  After introducing Senior Vice President of FGM, Mr. Guy D’Amour and thanking him for FGM’s outstanding contribution, SMA Tilley got things started with a tribute to our veterans.  Earlier in the day, the American Freedom Foundation, in conjunction with the wonderful partnership with CareerBuilder, held a Veterans Hiring Event featuring some of the top companies in America.  The theme of this year’s American Freedom Festival was “Hire A Veteran”.  After commenting on the success of the Veterans Hiring Event, SMA introduced a video on the value of hiring veterans featuring the five members of Pinnacle Five.  They took the stage to a thunderous applause acknowledging their service to our country.  CareerBuilder then presented SMA Tilley with a check for $150,000 representing the charitable donations from the Veterans Hiring Event participants.

Co-Host, actress and AFF board member, Karri Turner, joined SMA on stage to introduce the first musical act of the evening, Mr. Red Marlow.  This great country singer gave a stellar performance showcasing an incredible vocal style.

Speaking of extraordinary moments, our next guest was speaker, Jason Redman.  This former U.S. Navy Lieutenant and Seal gave a speech about his service to our country . . . paying tribute to all who came before him and the sacrifices made for our freedom.  He moved every single person in the arena as witnessed by an extended standing ovation.  It was simply incredible!

WUSA Channel 9’s Lesli Foster brought out our next musical act, Christal Rheams and Do Not Assume.  They rocked the house getting the crowd ready for Daughtry.

Another extraordinary moment followed as SMA Tilley and Karri brought to the stage, presenting sponsor, SKYDEX’s president and CEO, Mike Buchen.  Thinking he was there to make the first charitable contribution of the evening, Mike was visibly moved when he was presented a beautiful sculptured plaque representing his service and support to our military called the Heroes Supporting Heroes Award.  He was speechless!

Next SMA Tilley invited John Downing from Solder On and Ken Falke from Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors to the stage and presented them on behalf of our artists, all in attendance and our sponsors, $25,000 each.  They were visibly moved by this presentation.

WASH’s Loo Katz then took the stage to introduce our featured act of the evening, Daughtry.  Enough can’t be said for the talent of this group and the great energy they brought to the show.   The band wowed the crowd; performing all their hits and then some.  The audience stood and cheered through the entire performance.  It was magical.

The evening ended on a very high note as SMA Tilley joined Daughtry on stage to announce that the American Freedom Foundation reached the $1,000,000 mark in giving in just seven (7) short years.  Canons shot confetti throughout the entire arena as the crowd joined in celebration of this milestone for the Foundation.

Thanks go out to our 70 sponsors who made this event possible and the thousand in attendance who never stopped showing their appreciation for our veterans and service members.  Throughout the evening it became so apparent that we must never forget the service and sacrifice our military has undertaken and continues to undertake to insure that we live a life of freedom.

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The ASBC 2011 Holiday Charity Bash™ Benefits American Freedom Foundation

The American Small Business Coalition invites you to the 3rd annual 2011 Holiday Charity Bash™ where government and industry will raise awareness and money to benefit the American Freedom Foundation. Event takes place on November 30th at Iris Lounge 1524 L-M Spring Hill Road (formerly eCITIE Restaurant and Bar) in McLean, VA. Come out and support our veterans and military families. Learn more at

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American Freedom Foundation featured in Saluting The Spirit of American Unity 9/11 Commemorative Keepsake

The American Freedom Foundation was featured in the just release issue “Saluting The Spirit of American Unity: 9/11 Commemorative Keepsake”.  To read about the foundation, please visit

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