Veterans are tough. The courage required to defend our country at home and abroad at any given moment is only possessed by a fraction of Americans. We’d love to imagine them as indestructible superheroes, but the reality is once they’re home, most veterans join a new fight—the fight for a normal life.
For many of America’s military men and women, their return home can be a harsh reality; especially for those who come with life altering injuries. Many veterans come home to ill family members, bills pilling up, an unsteady economy and a severe lack of resources. Because of the many unpredictable circumstances facing our veterans, over 1.4 million veterans and their families live below the poverty line.
AirPower Foundation takes veterans higher
The AirPower Foundation is a non-profit organization that was created with the mission of caring for military veterans and their families. Established in 1958 in Fort Worth, Texas, AirPower Foundation has raised millions of dollars for wounded veterans, families who have lost parents in battle and military families who are struggling financially.
For the past seven years, AirPower Foundation has organized a massive event to honor different branches of the military called Salute to the Troops. Through their partnerships with American Airlines and resorts across the nation, AirPower Foundation is able to give military veterans and their families an all inclusive vacation and a chance to unwind. The four day event provides fun family activities during the day, and at night the guests all gather for a dinner in their honor.
DriveTime’s salute to the troops
This year DriveTime joined AirPower Foundation in saluting our troops by awarding a reliable vehicle to two hard working veterans. Neither of them knew they were being given a free car; they never asked for one. The reason they were recognized and rewarded was because of their silent service and dedication to caring for their family, their community and their country.
24 year old airman Jonathan Artista was borrowing a relatives car so he could take his grandfather to chemo therapy sessions and run errands for his disabled mother and 14 year old sister. Now he has his own car to take care of his family, and independence to take himself where he wants to go.
Darrel Mendiola was an Army Sargent for 14 years until a traumatic brain injury forced him out of the service. After his honorable discharge, Darrel volunteered with organizations that support the military and their families, and started earning a business degree; and he did all of it without owning a car.
While there’s no way we could ever show our full appreciation for the sacrifices our veterans have made for our country, we hope a DriveTime vehicle will help both of these brave men gain a victory in their lives stateside.
Salute the Troops
Emotions were high at Salute the Troops 2016. Feelings of American pride, hope for our nation, tears of gratitude for our veterans–particularly those who were missing limbs. Unity was shared among the attendees and the 85 veterans who came from all over the country. There were no feelings of pity or remorse, and every veteran there was outspoken that joining the military was the best decision they ever made.