Well Done Is Better Than Well Said

Well Done Is Better Than Well Said

This country has a long history of men and women making sacrifices for our freedom.

As we celebrate our freedom and our county’s independence this holiday with our families, we especially appreciate how actions across the country are enhancing the independence of those touched by military service. 

Independence is not driven by words but by actions. 

It is in our DNA as a country, an attitude across the nation, to want to assist those individuals who have served in uniform and their families. In the past few months we’ve seen this Sea of Goodwill in action. Soldier On kicking off new affordable housing for veterans in Massachusettes. Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinatti celebrating their service to 4,000 veterans and expanding direct services and facilities. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans expanding their collaborative training, and Bob Woodruff Foundation Got Your 6 training and education.

So this July 4th, please go beyond what you might usually do and get to know our veterans and their families through action. A little creativity and an inquisitive mind will turn up lots of opportunities to put your talents to good use.

For example, if you don’t support a food bank, would you consider doing so? It would mean a lot for veterans, spouses and children facing food insecurities. 

Your generous, tax-deductible, memorial or honorary tribute donation to Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services will make a positive difference in the lives of veterans and their families.  Don’t just make an investment. Have an impact.

In New England, our partners, Soldier On are building more affordable housing and outreach to veterans at risk of homelessness. Their outreach coordinators travel to the client, responding to needs while being unencumbered by office hours or locations. Donate so they can have the gas to travel.

We will pledge this to you. If you extend your thanks by taking some action, you will become an honorary member of a special network of people – then we can thank you for your service.

The Key to Supporting Veterans and their Families Where They Live . . . Collaboration!

The Key to Supporting Veterans and their Families Where They Live . . . Collaboration!

As a Soldier, you are always focused on security, always prepared for threats, no matter the direction. You are taught to be especially vigilant against threats from the direction where you expect them the least, from behind you. In the Army, we refer to this as ensuring that someone is always watching your “six,” or making sure someone has your “six” covered. That approach is found in all facets of military service—30 years as a Soldier, I always knew, that no matter the circumstances, I could always count on my fellow Soldiers to have my back, to cover my six.

That approach describes the Got Your 6 (GY6) Network, an initiative sponsored by the Bob Woodruff Foundation. GY6 is a network of communities, working together to impact the lives of veterans and their families in the communities where they live.  The GY6 network steers tools and resources to their national network of local partners, increasing their capacity and creating  a collaborative community that shares solutions to the evolving needs of veterans and their families—always ensuring that someone is covering their “six.”  

Recently, GY6 hosted the Got Your 6 Summit in New York City, bringing together community-based organizations that provide services to veterans and their families in New York. It was a day of collaboration as individuals and organizations shared what was working, what wasn’t, and developed innovative ideas to increase the well-being of veterans and their families.

Creating an environment where veteran serving non-profits, governmental organizations, philanthropists, academia and research organizations, and the private sector can come together and work toward a common objective is what made the GY6 Summit so successful.

This approach of increasing the capacity of organizations that serve veterans through collaboration, training, and resources also defines how Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services makes the lives of veterans and their families better across our three pillars of work, Work with Purpose, Heal with Honor, and Live with Hope.

Dixon Center looks forward to continuing to work with the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the Got Your 6 Network, and our other partners who are increasing the well-being of veterans and their families across the country

Photo One: John Avlon, CNN Sr. Political Analyst and General George Casey, 36th Army Chief of Staff at the Got Your 6 Summit

Photo Two: Meg Harrell, Bob Woodruff Foundation; Rajeev Ramchand, RAND; Sam Whitehurst, Dixon Center; and Carrie Farmer, RAND

Photo Three: Colonel (R) Sam Whitehurst, Dixon Center, at the Got Your 6 Summit



You can’t overestimate the importance of a safe, secure environment, a home, to the overall well-being of veterans and their families. Yet, even with the progress we have seen countering veteran homelessness in recent years, there is still much work to be done.

This was one of the messages during the recent National Coalition for Homeless Veterans Annual conference. NCHV is a national organization that helps shape public policy on ending veteran homelessness, advocates on behalf of homeless veterans, provides research on the complex issues surrounding veteran homelessness, and builds the capacity of organizations that are tackling veteran homelessness in their communities.

It’s clear that we are moving in the right direction—in 2020, there were just over 37,000 veterans who were homeless, a decrease of 6% from the previous year, along with a 10% drop in veterans using emergency shelters. But . . .

  • Veterans are still more likely to be homeless than non-veterans.
  • Black veterans are over-represented among the homeless veteran population (33%).
  • While numbers appear to be trending positively—COVID-19 severely impacted the ability to get accurate point-in-time counts of the homeless veteran population the last two years.
  • COVID-19 also significantly impacted the ability of community-based organizations that are on the frontlines attacking veteran homelessness.
  • 3% of service members leaving the military are likely to be homeless within two years of separation.

And we are also seeing increased pressures that could reverse the positive trends that we have seen in recent years—an economy buffeted by high inflation and the threat of recession, loss of COVID-19 protections against evictions, a tight housing market which has downstream impacts on the rental market—making it harder for most Americans, including veterans, to access affordable housing.

The high turnout at the NCHV conference is indicative of the passion and commitment of those that are continuing the fight against veteran homelessness. The theme of this year’s conference was Coming Together: Facing the Future—and that collaborative spirit was evident among the different groups that were present. Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services looks forward to sharing the best practices discussed at the conference and continuing to work with our partners to ensure that veterans and their families Live with Hope–living in a safe, secure, and comfortable environment in harmony with a local community.



In an interview the General President of International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Frank Christensen and Colonel David Sutherland of Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services discuss the importance of connecting veterans transitioning to the civilian workforce to meaningful employment opportunities.

The discussion touches upon the importance of education and training in the elevator industry as part of the solution to ensuring our nation’s heroes find careers they enjoy and are proud of upon reentering the civilian workforce.

The elevator industry continues its efforts to create a great place for transitioning military veterans in the trade. The goal is to provide veterans with opportunities to find fulfilling careers with family-sustaining wages and excellent health and retirement benefits.

You can watch the interview here.



Listen to the Service Before Self podcast, Episode 18, with Michael Brown, Director of the Office of Veterans and Military Service Members, at Villanova University. Michael and the team at Villanova have a proven model that assists student-veterans overcome the obstacles and challenges usually not faced by traditional students. Michael discusses how they have established a sense of community for student-veterans and their families at Villanova and how this has made all the difference.

Through Michael’s and Villanova’s leadership, and the leadership of organizations like Dixon Center, we will once again capture that transformative spirit that the original GI Bill sparked.

A factor contributing to the transformation of the American economy and society following World War II was the first version of the GI Bill—a pathway to higher education for both men and women veterans returning home (it’s important to note that while the GI Bill in theory, was open to all returning veterans from the war, in practice those benefits were often denied to Black veterans and other veterans of color).  The foresight in creating this opportunity, accelerated the country’s economic recovery and expanded the middle-class following World War II.

Today, we have the same goal for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, a pathway to higher education and increased opportunities for veterans but now, also their families. Pathways and opportunities that will transform our country.

And while student-veterans graduate at higher rates than traditional students, they and their families still have unique challenges and needs.  Typically, student Veterans are older, married with families, and work to support their families while they attend college. Research shows that close to 60% of student veterans report concerns about balancing school and other responsibilities. 

They Are Still With Us

They Are Still With Us

Midnight, on August 22, 2007, 10 young men marshalled together on a barren hilltop in Iraq to board a helicopter for the return trip to their forward operating base. They had just concluded a successful combat operation that had required them to remain in place for over 24 hours, with little sleep or food, while they ensured that resupply convoys were able to move safely and securely without enemy interference.

They were tired, dirty, and hungry and I’m sure they couldn’t wait to get back to our base where a hot shower and hot food awaited them. But they also knew that because of their efforts, their fellow Soldiers had been able to move freely and accomplish their key resupply mission.

But this would be their last mission. Shortly after taking off from that lonely, dusty hilltop, they along with the four helicopter crewmembers were killed when the helicopter suffered a malfunction and spun out of control into the ground.

These 14 soldiers are representative of the men and women I think about on Memorial Day.  Men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice and whose commitment and dedication to their country and to each other represent the best in all of us. They are forever part of my memories and in my heart.

Even though they are gone, they continue to live through each of us, especially their families. I’ve met the families of the 10 men who boarded the helicopter that night and it’s an experience that I will never forget. Even against the backdrop of their sorrow, their resiliency and their strength is something that to this day I try to emulate. These young men continue to be part of their families, and their families continue to be part of me.

Memorial Day is about reflecting on the service and sacrifice of our fallen comrades but is also about the perseverance and strength of the living. This is the only day where the American flag is flown at half-staff from sunrise to noon, to honor our fallen comrades, and then raised to full height from noon to sunset, to represent our living veterans and symbolize the “persistence of the nation in the face of loss.” Those that we honor on Memorial Day, are still with us, in our hearts, in our families, and in the noble work of making the lives of veterans and families better.

We invite you to consider a tribute gift to Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services

We invite you to consider a tribute gift to Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services

Your generous, tax-deductible, memorial or honorary tribute donation to Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services will make a positive difference in the lives of veterans and their families.  Don’t just make an investment. Have an impact.

Memorial Day Weekend is coming up the last weekend in May. We will celebrate the holiday as a nation, as communities, as families and as individuals in many ways. We hope that you will have time this Memorial Day to reflect.

One way to reflect and remember the achievements and sacrifices of those who died in service to our great Nation is to make a memorial or honorary tribute.  

We are grateful for the chance to help you honor and remember our nations fallen.  Memorial gifts can be made in remembrance of a loved one and honor tributes are gifts made as expressions of gratitude.

Make your memorial or tribute gift by donating now.

Congratulations to our partner, Burn Pits 360!

Congratulations to our partner, Burn Pits 360!

Among organizations that support veterans, your impact is not measured by the number of employees you have, or programs you offer, or the size or status of your board of directors. It’s measured by your passion and commitment to improving the lives of veterans and their families.

There is not a better example of this than Burn Pits 360, a veteran organization that is laser-focused on improving the lives of veterans who have been exposed to the toxic smoke produced by unregulated burn pits in Iraq and  Afghanistan. I’ve  known Rosie Torres and Captain (Ret.) Le Roy Torres, the founders of BP 360, for the last three years and their relationship with Dixon Center goes further back than that.

You will not find two people who are more dedicated to ensuring that veterans, who are suffering from rare cancers and respiratory diseases from their burn pit exposure, receive the care and treatment that they deserve.

They have marshalled resources and created coalitions that are confronting the bureaucracy of the VA and providing hope to those that have been impacted by burn pits. When others have advocated for a slower, more cautious, deliberative approach, BP 360 has accelerated their efforts because they know that time is not on the side of those that have been exposed to burn pits. 

Their accomplishments . . . the VA has recognized the connection of three respiratory conditions and nine cancers to a veteran’s military service, making them eligible for disability compensation and treatment. Both the Senate and the House have developed and passed legislation that will further increase the services and treatment that veterans receive due to exposure to burn pits.

And Rosie and Le Roy are not stopping . . .they understand that the burden of wartime service should not be borne on the shoulders of our veterans and their families, and they continue to push Congress and the VA to honor our sacred commitment to our veterans.   

Dixon Center, through our influence, ideas, an d actions, is assisting Burn Pits 360, reach their goal of ensuring that veterans Heal with Honor and  making the lives of veterans and their families better.

Fedcap Release of Financial & Programmatic Results

Fedcap Release of Financial & Programmatic Results

At Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services we take transparency very seriously.  Transparency is fundemental to the effective and efficient use of donor resources and assures that we maximize impact across our three pillars, Work With PurposeHeal With Honor, and Live With Hope. Leadership with openess and honesty is one of the key attributes we look for when working with organizations; that’s the Fedcap Group.

As a member of The Fedcap Group, we’re proud of their leadership in the Not-For-Profit space. The Fedcap Group is the only organization in this space that demonstrates this transperancy with the bi-annual release of their financial and programmatic results.  Join us on 12 May at 11:00 ET as we hear Christine McMahon, President and CEO of The Fedcap Group provide the latest results and give us a glimpse into the future.

Click here or on the image below to register.  See you there. 

A Job vs. A Career

A Job vs. A Career

What is Work with Purpose? This is an important distinction whenever we are focused on veterans and employment. Too often, the monthly or annual veteran unemployment number is what draws the most attention. This number, per the March Jobs Report, currently stands at 2.4%. While the unemployment rate is a bellwether of the economic health of our veteran population, it only tells part of the story—a much smaller part of the story.

Colonel Sam Whitehurst, Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services

It’s important that we understand what unemployment looks like for veterans, it is just as important to understand what underemployment looks like as well. Being in a job where you have far less responsibility than you had in the military and the leadership, teambuilding, and the ability to adapt that you developed in the military are not recognized, or may not be held in high regard. On top of that, the difference between what you are making in a minimum wage, entry-level job is tens of thousand dollars less than what you earned in the military.

Underemployment creates a downward spiral that leads to other issues—living paycheck to paycheck, loss of self-esteem, increased stress and anxiety, and barriers to accessing high-quality healthcare.

At Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services, our approach is to partner with organizations and programs who make countering veteran underemployment part of their core mission.

Mike Hazard, Executive Director, UA Veterans in Piping

The United Association, a labor union that represents workers in the plumbing and pipefitting industries, is one of our partners and is a leader in creating opportunities for transitioning service members and their families. Through their Veterans in Piping program, an 18-week course that provides industry-recognized certifications in welding, fire sprinkler fitting, and HVAC-R (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration), service members are leaving the military with guaranteed employment, enrollment into a registered apprenticeship program, and a career that provides middle-class wages from the outset, healthcare, and benefits. Dixon Center assists in integrating service members and their families into the UA VIP program by introducing the service members to wellness programs, that assist with finding a home, financial counseling, physical and mental health support, legal services, and more.

The UA VIP program is directly attacking veteran underemployment and is the recipe for long-term success for service members once they depart the military. This partnership, which along with Dixon Center, also includes the Department of Defense, is making a real difference in the lives of veterans and their families.

This is Work with Purpose.

Veterans in Piping Graduation, Fort Carson, CO, April 21, 2022