FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (January 30, 2013) – United Way of Broward County and American Red Cross South Florida Region are proud to announce the launch of MISSION UNITED, a critical new program supporting US military service members, veterans and their families in Broward County by helping them re-acclimate to civilian life. The programs key focus areas include employment, education, healthcare, legal assistance, emergency financial aid and housing. The launch of MISSION UNITED was announced during a breakfast reception attended by over 200 of South Florida’s business leaders on Wednesday, January 30th at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six in Fort Lauderdale. During the reception, Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County, and Sam Tidwell, CEO of American Red Cross South Florida Region, introduced the new initiative. Both spoke passionately about MISSION UNITED’s goal to assist military veterans and their families.
Keynote speaker, Brigadier General Lawrence E. Gillespie, Sr., United States Army (retired) gave a brilliant speech about the commitment and dedication that is needed to help military veterans when they return home. Petty Officer Patrick Henry, U.S. Navy spoke about the personal challenges he faced after returning home from service.
During the breakfast, Colin Brown, President & CEO of JM Family Enterprises Inc., pledged a commitment of $300,000 over the course of three years to United Way of Broward County and an additional $300,000 to American Red Cross South Florida Region for the Mission United Transition Reintegration Program, totaling $600,000.
“The men and women who are returning to South Florida, some after several tours of duty overseas, are facing extraordinary challenges,” said Cannon. “It’s already a difficult economic climate and the dedicated men and women in the military face a multitude of obstacles readjusting to civilian life. We are eager to connect them with a wide array of services to make the transition easier and help them get their lives back. We cannot thank them enough for all they have done for us.”
Florida has the third largest military veteran population in the United States. Since September 11, 2001, approximately 2.2 million men and women have served in the Armed Forces supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn. In the next three to four years, one million men and women will return home to reintegrate into our communities. Through MISSION UNITED, United Way of Broward County and American Red Cross align existing services and create solutions where there are gaps in support.
As a primary service provider, American Red Cross South Florida Region will operate their Transition Reintegration Program (TRP) to deliver vital case management services for returning veterans. Under MISSION UNITED, United Way of Broward County and American Red Cross will ensure every military service member is “no more than two steps to help”. The very name MISSION UNITED reflects the commitment by Broward leaders and organizations to support local resident veterans.
“Harnessing community-wide knowledge, skills and resources, and the support of local business and government leaders, MISSION UNITED will serve veterans by supplying a structured system directing them to the right provider to help them and their families,” explained Tidwell. “United Way of Broward County and American Red Cross will work together to ensure the transitional and crisis services of the local military community are clearly identified and universally accessible.”
For more information on MISSION UNITED, please call 954-4-UNITED or visit www.MissionUnited.org.
About United Way of Broward County
United Way of Broward County is a volunteer driven, community-based, non-profit organization servicing Broward County for nearly 75 years. United Way of Broward County mission is to focus and unite the entire community to create significant lasting change in the impact areas of Education, Income and Health, the building blocks for a better life, which positively impacts people’s lives. United Way of Broward County is the catalyst for change and convener of partnerships that unite the hearts, minds, and resources within the Broward community. For more information, visit www.UnitedWayBroward.org.
About American Red Cross South Florida Region
Established in 1918, American Red Cross is guided by a volunteer board, representing a cross section of our very diverse community. Red Cross staff and trained volunteers deliver disaster and humanitarian services across our community. Red Cross services also include education about HIV/AIDS, learn to swim and lifeguard certification programs, CPR and First Aid certification, responding to fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes, assisting military service men and women and their families with emergency communication, and much more. The services provided by American Red Cross South Florida Region are only made possible through the generous contributions of time and money from the Broward Community. For more information, visit www.redcross.org/southflorida