Leader Spotlight

"When we signed up to serve, we didn't think about what was going to happen to us after. The one thing on our mind was helping the United States to help us. It’s now the U.S. government’s responsibility to help those people who put their lives on the line for the mission and who left all the people they love behind," says Wisam Al-Baidhani, who served as an interpreter for the U.S. military in Iraq for four years. He came to the United States in 2011 and became a U.S. citizen in February of this year.

Read More...

"By signing the dotted line, veterans risked their lives to defend American ideals during their military service," says U.S. Army veteran Pete Farley. "I feel it is just as important that they stand up for these same ideals out of uniform. We should never lose sight of the fact that many of our brothers and sisters paid the ultimate sacrifice for what America is supposed to stand for. America should be considered a “work in progress.” Our work should not be done when we obtain our DD-214. It should be just beginning."

Read More...

"You don’t have to stop serving when you leave. You can still save people’s lives, you can still protect people’s lives, you can still make difference as a leader today without being in uniform," says Lance Sellon, whose 26-year Army career has included both enlisted and commissioned duties, a combat arms deployment to Afghanistan, and a deployment as chaplain to the Horn of Africa.

Read More...

"I see having served and being a veteran as a privilege. And with privilege comes responsibility. It is my responsibility to speak up and defend American values whenever they come under threat," says Ibrahim Hashi, a U.S. Marine veteran and the son of immigrants from Somalia.

Read More...

"Veterans happen to be one of the very few groups that people from all walks of life seen as honest brokers. Because of that credibility—and because American ideals are under assault internationally and here at home by Americans who are losing sight of what those ideals are—we have a serious responsibility to speak up in defense of them," says Matt Lester, a U.S. Marine veteran and the co-leader of Vets for American Ideals' NY/NJ team.

Read More...

Cal

Colonel Cal Hickey served for 30-years in the U.S. Air Force. Though retired, his commitment to service endures: "The oath of service doesn’t come with an expiration date and its conditions are absolute. If you take such an oath seriously it only seems natural that to one extent or another all it entails will become essential defining qualities of your life for the rest of your life."

Read More...

"I feel compelled to speak up for equality," says U.S. Air Force veteran Victor Santana. "Anything that helps to drive the point that we're all humans no matter our ideologies, religions or lack of, sexual preference, nationality, race, or anything that sets up dividers among human beings."

Read More...

"We have to meet people where they are, and talk about our issues in a way that is applicable to people’s everyday lives. I’ve become a lot more aware of how I discuss issues seen as partisan, and I try to assume the best in the people I talk to," says Mac McEachin is a U.S. Army Reserve veteran who works on issues including refugee protection and the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. 

Read More...

Colonel Reed Bonadonna is a former Marine Corps infantry officer, field historian, and author. He says, "Some people think that we can’t afford our ideals, but the fact is that we can’t afford to go without them."

Read More...

"When we talk about making America great again, veterans can do that through their service. We have an opportunity to use our sense of duty to improve our community and make our nation a more welcoming and fair place to live," says Chris Purdy, a U.S. Army National Guard veteran who served in Iraq and leader of the VFAI Atlanta team.

Read More...