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Living Tree Foundation pays tribute to Military families

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By Tammye McDuff

Living Tree Foundation [LTF] is an organization that strives to meet the needs of current military service families, personnel and veterans.

Rick Rodriquez had two sons that have served in the military. “When they came home” says Rodriguez “I knew we had to do something to embrace all the energy they were bringing home with them from combat.” As the owner of a security firm, Rodriguez has hired almost 200 veterans and knows the particular needs of returning service men and women. Rodriguez Company is made of 67% veterans and the company has received the Army Partner of the Year Award.

The beginning of the LTF was with one of Rodriguez sons saying “Dad, I have 42 soldiers under my command. And they are all getting out. And I have to find them jobs.” Rodriguez began hiring more veterans and paying for additional training or licensing that might be required. The Long Beach office of the State Employment Development Department volunteered to help by sending job seeking vets to him. Rodriquez trains them, equips them and has refined his system so that veterans are job ready within three weeks.

“Never before has the need been greater to assist others” says Rodriguez “but it is not just the returning military men and women. Perhaps there is a Mother trying to further her education to guarantee a better paying job to support your family while the husband serves overseas.” Rodriguez goes on to say perhaps there are combat veterans who could benefit from a therapy dog but cannot afford it. LTF provides assistance to select organizations that are committed to providing for the needs of combat veterans, current military service personnel as well as families in dire straits.

Operation Legacy [OL] is one such organization. OL provides intensive life planning information enabling and assisting our military men and women in the transition to purposeful and productive civilian lives. Often, the lack of foundational preparation for civilian life planning strategies sets the stage for a downward spiral including apathy, unemployment, broken relationships, addiction and depression.

Blue Star Family Day [BLFD] is the first annual fair to introduce organization such as Operation Legacy to families in need. Held Saturday, September 27th in the Downey High School Facilities, BSFD was to honor families whose loved ones are currently serving in the Armed Forces.

From American War Mothers who provide food services to returning veterans, to author Reginald Dunham who wrote “From the Heart of a Grieving Father” and his organization that helps others in grief, to GlammyTags, beautifully adorned dog tags to Vetality Corp whose motto is “Pumping L.I.F.E. back into Veterans nationwide”, several dozen vendors adorned their booths with red, white and blue decorations and photos.

A special military tribute was given by Mike Pace who entertains military personnel at home and abroad through the U.S.O. Pace comments “I’ve had the great honor of going to Iraq and Afghanistan to entertain the bravest and best of America-The United States Military.”

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