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Meet Your Military: Guardsman Finds New Calling Through Advocacy

support our troops us army sgt gaurdianArmy Sgt. 1st Class John Thompson, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter standardization instructor with the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, found his calling as a unit victim advocate and now volunteers in his local community. Thompson is pursuing a degree in human services and plans to work in a related field once he retires from the military. Minnesota Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens ST. PAUL PARK, Minn., April 6, 2016 — Army Sgt. 1st Class John Thompson sits by his phone, ready to respond at a moment’s notice to assist people who’ve been victimized and are at one of the lowest points in their lives. He’s not a police officer or firefighter, but he often finds himself responding at all hours of the night.

Thompson’s experience as a victim advocate in the Minnesota National Guard and as a volunteer in his community has opened his eyes to a problem that persists not only in the military, but also in the civilian world.

“There are a lot of nights that it doesn’t ring, which is a good thing, but there are too many nights that it does. Sometimes it rings more than once and you go out on multiple calls,” he said.

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Meet Your Military: Twin Brothers Deploy Together

support our troops us air force twinsSenior Airman Carlos Taveras, left, a structural maintenance apprentice, disassembles a mandrel from a tube bender while his twin brother, Senior Airman Emmanuel Taveras, an aircraft electrical and environmental journeyman, looks on at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, March 17, 2016. The twin brothers, from the Bronx, New York, deployed with the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron in January. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman) AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar, April 5, 2016 — Twin brothers often share similar experiences from birth to high school graduation, but only a few can claim to have deployed together while serving in the same unit.

Air Force Senior Airman Emmanuel Taveras, an electrical and environmental journeyman, and his twin brother, Senior Airman Carlos Taveras, an aircraft structural maintenance apprentice, are assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron and work in the same building. They arrived here in January, only six days apart.Emmanuel said serving in a deployed location with his brother is a dream come true. “We always wanted this, to be assigned to the same base,” Emmanuel said. “It’s unique to have that happen, especially at a deployed location; we’re so thankful.”

Carlos said there are benefits to being deployed with his brother. “Having him here makes the experience so much easier to deal with,” he said. “It can be stressful at times, but having my brother around makes things better.”

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Meet Your Military: Volunteers Find Serving "Labor of Love"

support our troops volunteers labor of loveTony Meyer, a 30-year Navy veteran, serves as tour guide for a group at the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio, Texas, March 23, 2016. Meyer, a Brooke Army Medical Center volunteer since 2004, was named Office of Volunteer Services’ Volunteer of the Year for BAMC and will now vie for honors at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and San Antonio United Way levels. Army photo by Robert T. ShieldsJOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, April 1, 2016 — Joyce Earnest sat in the waiting area anxiously awaiting an update on her husband, who was undergoing bypass surgery at San Antonio Military Medical Center here.

The first person who came out to reassure her was not the doctor or nurse, she recalled, but a volunteer.“I was so grateful for all of the care, especially from that volunteer … I decided that day to come back after I retired and give back,” she said.

Twelve years later, in 2012, Earnest became the first volunteer clerk in the intensive care unit. “I love helping people -- whether it’s a patient or family member or the staff -- using my knowledge and experience to be there for them, even if it’s just holding someone’s hand or providing a shoulder to cry on,” she said.

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Meet Your Military: Sailor Tackles Goals on Football Field

support our troops us sailor footballNavy Petty Officer 1st Class Colleen Dibble, right, a master-at-arms assigned to Naval Support Activity Bethesda, Md., makes a tackle during a Washington Prodigy game against the Philadelphia Firebirds in Washington, May 9, 2015. Courtesy photoBETHESDA, Md., March 30, 2016 — About 18 percent of active-duty sailors are women, and serving in the even more male-dominated field of master-at-arms, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Colleen Dibble knows about being the only woman in the room.

For 11 months, she was the only female master-at-arms during her first assignment to Misawa Air Base, Japan, and has been one of the few women to work in Naval Support Activity Bethesda’s security department since she came to the installation in 2013.

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NorCal & Oregon Red Robins Will Run Another Care Package Drive This May!

Red Robin Roseville, CA, April 25, 2016: Regional Operations Director at Red Robin Nicole Jones has organized another care package drive for Support Our Troops®. Last year, Nicole was able to rally 42 restaurants in Oregon and Northern California to collect goods to send to our active duty service men and women, adding up to $6,500 in goods delivered to troops deployed overseas!

This year’s Support Our Troops® Program at Red Robin will launch in early May, and run for two weeks, asking all of their customers to bring care goods contributions to collection boxes at each of their locations in Northern California and Oregon.

Good job Nicole! God job Red Robin! Good job all-American Red Robin customers!

Meet Your Military: Lieutenant Credits Navy Success to Junior ROTC Program

support our troops org lieutenant credits navy success rotcNavy Lt. Kimberly Rios talks with Navy Junior ROTC cadets from East Aurora (Ill.) High School at the 2016 Navy Junior ROTC Area 3 West regional academic, athletic and drill competition in the Pacific Fleet ceremonial drill hall at Recruit Training Command, Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill.,, Feb. 8, 2016. Navy photo by Scott A. ThornbloomGREAT LAKES, Ill., March 31, 2016 — Navy Lt. Kimberly Rios made a reconnection with her past when she was promoted to lieutenant Feb. 8.

That reconnection was with her East Aurora High School Navy Junior ROTC unit and her former Navy Science instructor, retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Greg Fayfar, who was on hand to pin Rios' lieutenant bars on her khaki shirt collar. It also allowed her to reflect how being part of Navy Junior ROTC molded and guided her to being a member of the Navy Judge Advocate General Corps.

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