Veterans GOODNEWS for Dec. 18

Veterans GOODNEWS for Dec. 18

Good news for veteransCompany’s new tractor-trailer honors veterans (Duluth News Tribune)
With 38 percent of Halvor Lines’ employee base having served in the military, recognizing veterans’ service is important to the company, president Jon Vinje said. Its latest effort to do so already is turning heads nationwide. The Superior-based trucking company on Wednesday showed off its new Volvo tractor-trailer, covered on all sides with photos and artwork honoring veterans. It had just returned to Superior from its first trip — delivering more than 2,500 wreaths from Maine to be placed on graves at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. “The maiden voyage was absolutely astounding,” said Halvor driver Murray Morgan of Ironwood, Mich., who had the honor of making that first trip. “People would go by me and wave, and honk their horns, and give me a thumbs up.” Some even offered to buy Morgan a meal, he said, but he asked them to instead donate that money to the Wounded Warrior Project organization supporting injured veterans. The truck is eye-catching, wrapped in artwork created by Elite Tinting and Graphics of Duluth. Among other illustrations, there’s the iconic image of U.S. military personnel raising the flag at Iwo Jima during World War II, and a scroll listing battles, campaigns and incidents American forces have taken part in. “It’s a rolling tribute to their sacrifices,” Vinje said. The truck will be a part of Halvor’s regular fleet, though it may be used for some special events.

Fellow veterans come to the aid of Pennsylvania Air Force amputee (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
A veteran of the United States Air Force is getting an early Christmas gift this year. Jeannette, Pa., resident Jim O’Donnell is receiving the gift of home remodeling thanks to other area veterans and city residents. O’Donnell was injured in an accident earlier this year, which resulted in the loss of his leg in August. Before the accident, O’Donnell and his girlfriend, Angela Goodsworthy, had been restoring and remodeling their home on Frothingham Avenue. O’Donnell worked at Lowes as a product service associate. “I technically still work for Lowes, but I haven’t been able to get back to work and I’m not sure if I can ever go back to that position,” said O’Donnell of his injury. He traveled extensively and set up displays for the company. Three years ago, O’Donnell bought the house on Frothingham. “It was a ‘repo’ and had a lot of potential. It has pocket doors, curved archways and a full wooden staircase. It could be gorgeous,” said O’Donnell.

France awards two Oklahomans with French Legion of Honor (
One limped when he walked. The other man across the aisle sat in a wheelchair. The two men, one originally from New Orleans and the other from Midwest City, are part of that brotherhood that survived the Great Depression, went to war and drove the Nazis out of France and the rest of occupied Europe. These men are part of a group whom Americans reverently call “The Greatest Generation.” Wednesday, Preston Johnson, 89, and Earl J. Gonzales, 92, sat on the front row in a room in the 45th Division Museum where they were awarded The Medal of Chevalier (Knight) of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor for helping liberate France during World War II. Created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honor is France’s highest decoration. Gonzales, of Oklahoma City, was a member of New Orleans’ Washington Artillery Regiment that fought not only in France but in Sicily and Italy including the battle of Salerno and of Monte Cassino. His two brothers fought in the same artillery unit. Gonzales said, “I didn’t do anything anymore than anybody else. The French are loveable, nice people. Whatever I did to help them, I’m glad and I’d do it again.”

Boy Scout troop has decorated VA Christmas trees for a decade (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Kristy Coie makes sure each Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend that she has juice, milk and donuts ready for some visitors to the Pittsburgh VA’s University Drive hospital in Oakland, Pa. Coie, volunteer services specialist, knows that the visitors — members of Boy Scout Troop 111 in Plum, Pa. — won’t partake of the refreshments until they are well on their way to doing their task — assembling and decorating 25 Christmas trees. “They come in and act like little machines,” Coie said. “They are so focused.” Boy Scout Troop 111 that is chartered through the Holiday Park United Methodist Church in Plum has done the service project at the VA for a decade. Jeffrey Burnett who is on the parent committee for the annual project that was conducted Nov. 29, said the artificial trees were assembled and decorated in Heroes Hall. Burnett said about half of the 30 troop members participate in the project. Coie said the Scouts then placed the trees throughout the facility. The trees will be on display through the first week of January.

Globe-trotting veteran takes on the home inspection business (Entrepreneur)
Vincent Stoakley lived in countries including Japan, South Korea and Afghanistan during his 20 years of service in the U.S. Army. Little did he know at the time, as he traveled around the globe, he was inadvertently gaining the skills necessary to be a home inspector. After leaving the military, Stoakley became a Pillar To Post franchisee. Click the headline link to read how Stoakley found and started his new business.

Entrepreneurial former sniper hopes to pick off customers with free beer (Triangle Business Journal)
Matt Victoriano, the military sniper-turned-coffee entrepreneur is back – and so is Intrepid Life– it’s just no longer a coffee shop. Yes, there’s still coffee brewing. And yes, there’s still beer in the refrigerator. But the only thing Victoriano is selling is space. The new Intrepid Life, located on Broad Street in Durham, is actually selling co-working memberships. For $6 per month, entrepreneurs and other professionals can have access to the basics – Internet, the copy machine. Also included in that price? Access to the beer fridge and coffee. “It’s a co-working space, so, with a membership, you can access all the amenities,” he says, adding that additional donations for beverages are “appreciated,” but not required. He’s counting on the community to not take advantage of his hospitality. “It’s centered around the community,” he says. “It’s on the community to keep it open.” Anyone can be a member for $6, he adds. “It’s an experiment,” he admits. But he’s all in. He says his two tours of Iraq opened his eyes. Veterans, he says, are what it’s all about, although they make up a minority of the 200 he estimates who have already signed up for a membership.