Feb 14, 2022

Ten Years with Alison Carroll

Ten years ago, COMMIT’s Co-Founder Anne Meree Craig was in the midst of designing COMMIT’s mission and services. After t...

Ten years ago, COMMIT’s Co-Founder Anne Meree Craig was in the midst of designing COMMIT’s mission and services. After talking through the power and impact of executive coaching with a linguist she had formerly worked with, Craig began brainstorming around what it would look like to bring executive coaching into COMMIT’s service offering. Fortunately for her, that former linguist, Alison Carroll had become an executive coach and was willing to launch a pilot program with COMMIT. Carroll is COMMIT’s first and now longest-serving executive coach. She has coached hundreds of transitioning service members including Craig’s husband, Les, Court Whitman (who later became a COMMIT coach, himself), and current Chief Executive Officer of COMMIT, Alex Krongard. Her ability to shift the focus from finding answers to asking the right questions is unparalleled. “I like to call myself a recovering high-performer,” said Carroll. She perceives a general lack of emphasis in our society to take the time to pause, rest, reflect, and regroup. This is especially true for a population that is traditionally pressured to perform and move with a bias for action. Fortunately, veterans are also an extremely coachable population. “Even if someone is not comfortable talking about themselves, I do always feel like they are willing to take the risk to meet me halfway. I find that to be so inspirational,” said Carroll. Having been introduced to coaching by being a coachee, herself, Carroll said she is able to empathize and understand the hesitations someone might have while being coached. Carroll uses intuition and a whole-person approach to support her clients. Through the past decade, she credits her COMMIT clients for making her a better coach. “They ask for my honesty,” Carroll explains, “Court was my second or third client with COMMIT and he opened the door for me to see when someone is willing and able to explore with me beyond the immediate challenge, it opens a door for what’s possible in the future.” The value and power of witnessing Whitman’s transformation gave Carroll a distinct faith in her client’s abilities to get to where they need to be with her as a validating presence. New coaches will often make the mistake of putting emphasis on results instead of the value of the journey. Carroll observed that there is an ethos among many high-performing veterans, “they are incredibly reliable teammates but never want to ask for help for themselves.” Having built the foundation of COMMIT’s coaching community, Carroll describes the key to our program: commitment to self. When a veteran can be vulnerable and accept every part of themselves, it’s a commitment to their own humanity. That moment of commitment to self is when the layers of fortified armor required by military service begin to peel away. Back to Winter Newsletter

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  • Feb 1, 2022

    Our Growing Mission

    To kick off 2022, The COMMIT Foundation has taken strategic shifts to strengthen and fortify our community. With the generosity and support of the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, COMMIT was able to launch its first ever Family Transition Program, Alumni Engagement program, and a series of supplemental resources to build awareness and advocacy on behalf of those we serve. We launched our pilot Spouse Program with Dr. Amy Taft, Sr. Director of Education at the helm. Amy is a military spouse and caregiver to her husband who sustained life-altering injuries in combat. Her passion for helping spouses in their own transitions out of the military community and into the civilian world is unmatched. COMMIT will offer transition support to 40 spouses, initially, providing them with a tailored transition support program that meets once a month for four months, executive coaching, and tailored assistance. “Through the COMMIT Family Transition Program, we hope to create shared experiences between transitioning spouses and provide them space to explore the possibilities for the future. The COMMIT Foundation is excited to bring the one-of-a-kind program designed specifically for military spouses to our community,” said Taft. COMMIT also recently launched the Alumni Engagement program led by former Senior Director of Veteran Services, Michele Olive. With the tremendous growth in our programming, we saw an opportunity to enhance our offerings and extend services beyond our transition programs. After experiencing the value of incorporating alumni into our programs as mentors, it became clear that we could build a strong and thriving ecosystem while bolstering serendipity for our service recipients. Olive’s focus has been on alumni outreach and providing opportunities to volunteer and give back to COMMIT through thought leadership and support. Recently, COMMIT also began hosting webinars for transitioning service members which introduce different industries by way of panelist discussions and storytelling with alumni and veteran advocates. “COMMIT plans to expand its offerings for alumni with ongoing support, scholarships, mentorship opportunities, and sharing their important impact stories that emerge from program participation,” said Olive. COMMIT has also strategically shifted Corporate Programs into a corporate outreach effort, capitalizing on a more robust communication strategy and partnering with socially responsible companies on veteran advocacy. With the help of our volunteer panelists and speakers from different areas of industry, COMMIT is able to connect service recipients with insight, information, and networking opportunities to enhance transition outcomes. This move has broadened COMMIT’s audience and drawn in more diverse applicants. “Continuing work with veteran-ready businesses, we will be able to see this ripple effect of the impact our service recipients bring to their communities and places of work,” said Abby Peterson, Director of Corporate Programs. COMMIT’s legacy serves as a foundation for outstanding service recipients to build their own personal legacies upon. Many of these stories are captured on COMMIT’s social media pages and podcast, COMMIT Veteran Voices. Check out our channels for more information: LinkedIn InstagramFacebookPodcastBack to Winter Newsletter

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  • Dec 23, 2021

    Veteran Highlight: Stephanie Simon

    Musician. Marine. Fighter. Trailblazer. Stephanie Simon has spent the last decade growing her career with a deliberate mindset to challenge the status quo and land beyond her goals. She has leveraged The COMMIT Foundation in her transition out of active duty and into a purpose-driven post-service life. Simon’s father, a Marine, was the first to see that Simon had incredible potential for athletics. Her coordination and even just her run were clear indicators that she would be an athlete. Growing up in Washington state, there were many sports and activity options available for Simon to try on for size. She became involved in her school’s marching band and developed a love for music while also honing an incredible level of discipline. She became involved in a few different sports but finally landed on Taekwondo which also required a high level of commitment and discipline. Eventually, she discovered and fell in love with wrestling which had just started to gain popularity for girls in the Pacific Northwest. “Going into my first match ever, two little boys ran up and told me that my opponent would kick my butt. They thought because I was a girl, he would beat me,” Simon said. Shortly after the fight began, it became clear that Simon would be winning. She still has a photo of herself after the match; a small pigtailed girl smiling with her arms outstretched in victory while the referee comforts her opponent in the background. “It was the first time I had that feeling of “you don’t belong here” and I had to earn my way to belong,” Simon said. For some, that discouragement would put an end to their pursuit, but for Simon, it only made her crave victory more. This concept would become a common theme in her life. Overcoming obstacles and fighting the odds became Simon’s specialty. When she started to think of college, the Naval Academy and the challenge it promised allured Simon. While they did not have a wrestling program, she hoped to change that by helping them start a wrestling team. As she prepared for college, she was given the opportunity to take boxing in the summer as a way to validate the class and not have to do it again as part of the normal curriculum. But then she had her first victory in the ring and everything changed. “I had to fight a girl in front of 1,000 classmates and I won,” Simon said. “They put me on their shoulders and it was a very thrilling experience. That’s when I started boxing.” Today, the Naval Academy women’s boxing team has grown by 10 times its size during Simon’s time in. She touts that as something she is tremendously proud of, having done the hard work and beaten the odds to pave a path for the next woman in line. When it came time to choose a branch of service, Simon gravitated to the Marines. There was an instant connection she had with many of the Naval Academy instructors who hailed from the Marine Corps and she could not deny the challenge it presented, especially upon learning that combat arms were open to any woman who could meet the standards. Since combat arms roles were only recently opened to women, Simon saw an opportunity to make her mark and do work she could be truly proud of. “The danger that comes with being an amphibious assault Officer is unlike anything else in the Marine Corps. At 23 years old, you’re out a few thousand meters at sea trying to get your guys and 300 infantrymen on a ship. You’re trying to pick a location in the middle of the ocean to meet with the Navy personnel you’re coordinating with,” Simon said. When asked about the amount of fear and stress inherent to her that role, Simon explained, “it makes fighting not scary.” And that is exactly that attitude one would expect the first Captain of the Marine Corps Boxing Team to have. As she transitions off of active duty to pursue a Mixed Martial Arts career, Simon is working through COMMIT’s Pursue Your Purpose program along with executive coaching with Court Whitman. Having been an athlete and former special operator, Whitman instantly connected with Simon’s fighting spirit and hunger for challenge. He was also able to identify where her hesitancies were. Whitman encouraged Simon to start back-planning her move to Miami and encouraged her to start building up her network there through informational interviews and other networking activities. “A good fit between a coach and coachee at COMMIT means meeting certain criteria. Value alignment, shared experience, and value are important in building trust and a willingness to work together.” Whitman said. He and Simon were aligned in their values, were both athletes and veterans and she perceived value in what he had to offer upon their first meeting. Whitman is a seasoned COMMIT coach and is well known for his ability to challenge people in a way that will draw out the information they need to design their post-service life, successfully. One of the things COMMIT reinforces is the idea of taking a tactical pause while leaving active duty. Most transitioning service members feel very pressured and rushed to land a job and keep the momentum going from their military service. But with the tactical pause, Simon was able to redirect her energy into something she feels truly passionate about. Simon will continue her path as a trailblazer and has already signed on with First Round Management to help her navigate her fighting career. “For me when I look back the moments I was happiest was when I found out I inspired someone,” she said. In leading by example, earning titles, and conquering obstacles, Simon will continue trailblazing a path for young women everywhere. Back to Winter Newsletter

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  • Nov 30, 2021

    The COMMIT Foundation Invites MileagePlus Members to Donate Miles to Help Support Transitioning Service Members and Veterans

    Starting today, MileagePlus® members can help The COMMIT Foundation raise miles to help support service members and veterans transitioning out of service through United’s crowdsourcing program, Miles on a Mission. The miles raised will be used to fly these incredible men and women to COMMIT’s transition mentoring workshops across the country. The COMMIT Foundation is aiming to raise 500,000 miles, which will help support The COMMIT Foundation’s broader mission to empower service members, veterans, and their families to create purposeful and fulfilling transitions by providing personalized programs, resources, and the support of community. United will provide an additional 50,000 bonus miles to The COMMIT Foundation once the mile raising goal is reached. “COMMIT uses these miles to allow our veteran participants to receive personalized, in-person coaching and mentoring which gives them the tools and confidence they need to enter their post-military life. They are then ready to continue service in a new capacity by bringing their incredible skills and passion to their communities,” said Alex Krongard, Chief Executive Officer of The COMMIT Foundation. The Miles on a Mission program allows MileagePlus members to donate their miles to a wide variety of non-profits in need of air travel. To date, more than 154 million miles have been donated through the program. Miles on a Mission is a part of United’s Every Action Counts commitment, which aims to connect people, unite the world and serve communities by putting people and planes to work for the greater good. “This Giving Tuesday marks a special occasion for us to come together to support and uplift those who need it the most this holiday season and beyond,” Suzi Cabo, managing director of global community engagement, United Airlines. “We’re proud to offer our MileagePlus members a meaningful way to use their miles for good and provide critically needed air travel to a variety of non-profits that serve vulnerable communities across the globe.” For more information on Miles on a Mission or to donate miles, please visit Support The COMMIT Foundation with Miles here.

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  • Nov 29, 2021

    Fall 2021 Newsletter

    Giving Tuesday: Your Impact at COMMIT The COMMIT Foundation is dedicated to providing high-touch transition support that becomes the standard nationwide for veterans in all communities. COMMIT aims to go beyond job placement and provide veterans a path to help them identify their passions, build strong networks, and leverage their skills in civilian careers. However, living a fulfilling life is perhaps COMMIT’s most important success metric. Over the last few months our annual survey uncovered some truly heartening statistics: Nearly 50% of COMMIT service recipients volunteer in their communities, continuing their commitment to service beyond their military careersAlmost 90% of all COMMIT service recipients are satisfied with the life they designed through the COMMIT Foundation Pursue Your Purpose programWhile COMMIT does not believe that money equates to happiness, 67% of our veterans have reported an annual salary over $100k85% of COMMIT veterans are working in a position that aligns with their goals and valueOur work did not stop in the midst of the pandemic either. In 2021, The COMMIT Foundation quickly pivoted to meet the needs of the military community in the COVID environment. After moving all workshops to a virtual platform in 2020, we are beginning to hold in-person workshops again. We also launched a long-term needs and impact survey and learned that our veterans are desiring support for their entire family. In 2022, we will begin to address this by launching spouse programming. While the service member undergoes an immense transformation as they transition out of service, their spouse experiences a significant change, as well. Our goal is to provide spouses the space to imagine and explore the lives they want for themselves and their families together with the tools to lay a strong foundation for success in their post-service life. The COMMIT Foundation is also endeavoring to create platforms to delve into important issues affecting the veteran community as well as highlight areas where veterans can make significant contributions to their communities and employers. Through a series of 2022 webinars and other events, veterans, veteran advocates, corporate partners, donors, and COMMIT alumni will share their experiences and thoughts in a truly transformative way. We invite the public to join us on these panelist discussions and webinars to learn more about the meaningful impacts veterans and their families can have. To learn more about how you can get involved with The COMMIT Foundation, contact us or click here to support COMMIT directly. Healing in Healthcare After the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, many service members and veterans felt the effects of moral injury after the end of a twenty-year war. The veteran community pulled together not only to support one another but also to aid Afghan refugees. This grassroots movement was powerful and ended up not only helping Afghans but impacting policy and responses at the State Department and elsewhere in government.. Many veteran support groups also began hosting open group therapy sessions and companies started to to support their veteran employees during this difficult time. One industry, however, was in the throes of its own crisis. Healthcare workers and hospitals have been operating at high operational tempo with limited resources, reduced manpower throughout the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. While these two groups (veterans and healthcare workers) are not intrinsically connected, this moment in history has opened an opportunity for shared healing. On November 17th, The COMMIT Foundation hosted a virtual event to highlight this dynamic in a way which inspired hope and innovative leadership to meet the ongoing and unprecedented challenge. On the call were COMMIT Alumni, Chief Administrative Officer at UC Health, Ron Fitch and Clinical Engagement Director at Sondermind, Wendy Rasmussen. They were joined by Tillman Scholar and current Physicians Assistant at OU Health, Johnnie Gilpen and child caregiver to a wounded warrior and first-year Resident Nurse, Isabella Taft. The conversation traversed through topics ranging from morale, vested leadership and stress first aid. “From a stress first aid perspective I would suggest looking at the four sources of stress injury” Dr. Rasmussen said. These sources are loss or grief, inner conflict (or doubting one’s ability to make a difference), wear and tear from long hours and stressful situations while not being able to decompress or spend time with friends or family, and life threat which was fairly unknown at the beginning of the pandemic and is still a relatively ambiguous threat for healthcare workers and their families. Ron Fitch talked through some ways his team at UC Health Pikes Peak Regional Hospital have addressed this stress continuum for their staff. From his 23 years as a US Army Special Operator, troop welfare was always important. Along with a quick daily morning standup where leadership can address their staff’s immediate needs, he also was keen on gestures which provide comfort. Hot meals, a clean facility to shower and change and space to decompress were all implemented through the pandemic. “We also leveraged the mental health lines for people to call and check in with behavioral health” Fitch said. Providing this level of support is a great way to boost morale but retention remains a struggle for hospitals throughout the US. Johnnie Gilpen lamented the trend, citing an enormous incentive to leave one’s hospital to become a traveling nurse as a point of friction and threat to morale. “People are quitting left and right. It’s not truly burnout,” Gilpen said, “it’s more of a moral stress.” He explained that if a traveling nurse leaves their permanent position for 17 weeks, they can make significantly more money and afford to take time off after their “tour” is done. Isabella Taft recognized this trend as well but feels needed in her role and brings a positive attitude amidst some very trying circumstances. “I fell in love with medicine vicariously through my dad,” Taft said. After losing a patient in her first few weeks on the job, she immediately called her father. He talked her through being comfortable with the grief and cautioned her not to internalize it or blame herself: sound wisdom to anyone processing trauma. The biggest takeaway from the event was the importance of present and proactive leadership. While the experiences of each individual panelist ranged widely, the consensus was that open communication from vested leaders to the front line worker is critical to boosting morale and encouraging retention. The COMMIT Foundation hopes that the tools and suggestions shared in this discussion will bring lessons from veterans to help spark potential healing solutions for our beseiged healthcare workers. For the full recording of this event check out our Facebook page or our podcast. Veteran Spotlight: Heidi Anderson The COMMIT Foundation partnered with its generous donors around Veterans Day to promote veteran advocacy and help twenty of our service recipients move closer to their post-service lives. Blackstone hosted our transition mentoring workshop out of their New York City Office on November 9 and 10. One of the participants, Heidi Anderson, possessed a particularly applicable skillset. As a Finance Officer in the US Army for the past 20 years, Anderson served as a comptroller in the Special Operations Community and as a Chief of Staff. She holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and two masters degrees, an Executive Master of Public Administration and Master of Business Administration from Syracuse University. Learning about investment management and financial industry mobility pathways in the private sector was a unique opportunity for Anderson. While at the workshop, Anderson began to see the path ahead. “What I wanted to achieve from the beginning versus where I am now is already so different since The COMMIT Foundation has helped me build my confidence, my narrative, and network.” Anderson said. On November 19th, Anderson joined The COMMIT Foundation in a lunch and learn event at TowerBrook Capital Partners to help raise awareness around veteran hiring and advocacy. She plans to transition out of the military in February 2023 with internships and executive shadowing beginning this May. Anderson is looking to The COMMIT Foundation to help her gain knowledge from executive coaches, receive assistance in developing resumes, and learn the paths to successful transition from the Army way of life into her next career. Guy Filippelli: Committed to veteran success It is difficult to encapsulate someone’s life while they are continually rising; like photographing a moving object. But for Guy Filippelli, co-founder and Board Chair of The COMMIT Foundation, this is the case. Recently named a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, this West Point graduate and former Intelligence Officer understands how to lead in stressful complex environments. Before his multiple tours overseas, to include Afghanistan, understanding Guy Filippelli requires an appreciation of where he comes from. Raised in Cleveland, he is a second generation American. His grandfather proudly served in the Army. His father was the first in his family to go to college, propelling his career working for the railroad. Growing up, Filipelli was very technical and excelled academically. However, West Point presented a poignant culture shock. “The breadth and depth of diversity at West Point opened my eyes to the greatness of our nation.” Filipelli said. This realization would be part of the foundation for his leadership style moving forward. Fast forward several years, Filipelli utilized his advanced technical training and leadership skills to become a serial entrepreneur. This parallel shift in a new world allowed him to excel as an operator. He was working within the same areas as he had in the military. “The thing the military did for me was provide a series of jobs, i.e., apprentices, and put me in charge of things you truly had no right to be in charge of at a young age. No other industry allows you to do this! I tried to seize those opportunities.” Filipelli said. He has never stopped leaning on his experiences as an officer in the Army. Filipelli’s passion for The COMMIT Foundation came from his own transition from the military. Toward the end of his Army career, Filipelli’s work with the NSA compelled him to begin designing and ultimately launch his consulting business. He recognized that not all service members are as fortunate to have a role which transfers easily into the private sector. He keenly understands how the military helped him in life. The aspect of social mobility is often overlooked as a benefit of military service, but not for Filipelli. “The exposure to leadership and a set of principles built upon a very successful proven structure helped me understand what I could do in life.”Filipelli said. His experience drives him to ensure others have the same opportunities to find their true calling in life once they have transitioned from military service. His primary driver with COMMIT is helping others find their passion project in life. Filipelli’s vision for transitioning service members aligns well with COMMIT’s; veterans must have the opportunity to live serendipitous lives using the specialized leadership and otherwise transferable skills they garnered through military service to help them pursue their purpose. Donor Shout Outs Thank you to our friends at Blackstone, Coinbase and Apollo Global Management for your generous donations and continued support!

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  • Nov 22, 2021

    The COMMIT Foundation is growing and adding a Director of Veteran Services

    The COMMIT Foundation’s mission is to help exceptional American service members and veterans transition into successful roles and careers post-service. The COMMIT Foundation is changing the way veterans and Corporate America think about military transition by providing high touch transition support that becomes the standard nationwide so veterans in all communities can access services helping them identify their passions, build strong networks, and leverage their skills in civilian careers. The COMMIT Foundation seeks to add a full-time Director of Veteran Services to the team. The Director of Veteran Services is dedicated to assisting a diverse population of service members, veterans and their families find meaning and purpose after their service in the military. This position will report to COMMIT’s Chief Programs Officer. Full Job Description Applications are closed.

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  • Jun 2, 2021

    The COMMIT Foundation is growing and adding a Director of Development to our team

    The COMMIT Foundation’s mission is to help exceptional American service members and veterans transition into successful roles and careers post-service. The COMMIT Foundation is changing the way veterans and corporate America think about military transition by providing high-touch transition support that becomes the standard nationwide so veterans in all communities can access services helping them identify their passions, build strong networks, and leverage their skills in civilian careers.The COMMIT Foundation is seeking a Part-Time Director of Development, Administration (DoD). Reporting to the Chief Development Officer (CDO), the DoD will be responsible for supporting and managing up to the CDO. The DoD will provide operational support for COMMIT’s development calendar, assist with donor acknowledgement, track donor upgrades, and develop and implement a strategic organizational plan to steward and cultivate major and planned gifts from individuals as well as corporate and foundation revenue.We are seeking an outgoing, creative, goal-oriented, highly organized individual. The ideal candidate must be able to collaborate in a team environment, possess strong writing and editing skills, and stay organized in a fast-paced work environment. The position is closed.

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  • Apr 2, 2021

    COMMIT has a New CEO

    The COMMIT Foundation is pleased to announce Alexander Lion Krongard, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Lower Half (Retired) will join The COMMIT Foundation as Chief Executive Officer in May. Krongard comes to The COMMIT Foundation after four years as Managing Director at DC Advisory. Prior to joining DC Advisory, he served as a Naval Special Warfare Officer and held several senior positions influencing military strategy and defense policy including on the National Security Council staff. Over the course of his military career as a Navy SEAL, he served across the world in Europe, East Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The COMMIT Foundation’s mission is to help exceptional American service members and veterans transition into successful roles and careers post-service, ensuring they find purpose and meaning, both personally and professionally after military service. COMMIT creates tailored transition solutions for top veteran talent and reaches veterans across the Nation through high-impact workshops and one-on-one transition assistance programs. Additionally, through its corporate education program, COMMIT ensures corporate America is veteran-ready and well poised to hire and retain our Nation’s transitioning service members and veterans. “I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to support the men and women who have served our great Nation selflessly as they transition into their next role out of uniform,” said Krongard. “I would also particularly like to thank my colleagues at DC Advisory for their support as I myself transitioned from the military to private sector and now again as I step into this new role in the nonprofit sector.” COMMIT’s Chairman and Co-founder, Guy Filippelli, praised Krongard’s record of excellence. “COMMIT is honored to have an incredible individual taking the helm. Alex is known in the military community for his investment in people and giving them a sense of purpose and mentorship.” Filippelli emphasized Krongard’s leadership as COMMIT will continue to provide best in class services to post-9/11 veterans who have so bravely defended our liberties.

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  • Feb 16, 2021

    USAA and COMMIT Support Veterans Transitioning from the Military

    The COMMIT Foundation recently received a $250,000 grant from The USAA Foundation to help American service members and veterans transition into successful roles and careers post-service. Founded in 2012, the COMMIT Foundation is fundamentally changing the way service members and veterans approach their transition from the military to the civilian sector. COMMIT’s innovative, person-centered services begin by identifying exactly where the veterans are in the transition journey, coaching them through a set of modules designed to help them determine what lives they want to live post-service, and connecting them with people who can help make the life they’ve designed a reality. The USAA Foundation’s investment will support one-on-one transition services and programs, including executive coaching, consultation with COMMIT's Directors of Veterans Services, Pursue Your Purpose, resume and interview coaching, and transition mentoring workshops to fundamentally change transition. "Open to all ranks and services, COMMIT’s programs ensure participants have clarity, skills, and connections to improve outcomes for a successful transition out of uniform. We are incredibly grateful to The USAA Foundation for supporting a breadth of services provided by the COMMIT team of teams. USAA and The USAA Foundation have been a part of so many military families’ lives; we are proud to partner with them in our endeavors," said Anne Meree Craig, CEO of The COMMIT Foundation.

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  • Dec 2, 2020

    Montana Veteran’s Family Offers Assistance to Other Veterans

    Bozeman, Mont. December 2, 2020—While 2020 has been challenging for many, it hit Susie Sikora of Akron, Ohio, especially hard when her brother was killed in a tragic accident outside Hardin on March 5. A native of Canton, Ohio, and an Eagle Scout who flew solo on his sixteenth birthday, Steve Studer was an outdoor enthusiast, coin collector, and a historian of the Civil War. He enlisted in the Army immediately after high school and served in the 7th Cavalry in Germany during the Vietnam War. After his tour in Germany, Studer relocated to Montana and earned a bachelor's degree in history and a master’s in education from Eastern Montana College in Billings. He bought 40 acres in the remote mountains near Nye, Montana, in the south central part of the state where he volunteered for the local Fire Department. Studer deployed as a master sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves during the Persian Gulf War and according to Sikora valued the friendships he created through the military. “Throughout his life Steve expressed a desire to help other veterans transition from the military into civilian life,” said Sikora. “Steve wanted to use his 40 acres at the base of the mountains to help veterans.” Unfortunately, Studer died before launching his own programming. Within days of Studer’s death, Sikora learned about The COMMIT Foundation, a national nonprofit that helps service members and veterans transition out of the military. “I almost never have the t.v. on,” said Sikora. “But, that day I had the Today show on in the background and heard Anne Meree talking about an organization that helps veterans adjust to civilian life. I knew Steve would want to support those veterans.” In honor of his military service and his desire to help other veterans, Studer’s family sold his ranch and donated proceeds to The COMMIT Foundation. “The Sikoras’ generosity is incredibly inspiring,” said Anne Meree Craig, co-founder and CEO of The COMMIT Foundation. “It feels so serendipitous that within days of her brother’s death Susie learned about our organization that is based out of Montana and so closely aligned with Steve’s vision to helptransitioning veterans.” Started in 2012, The COMMIT Foundation helps American service members and veterans transition into successful roles and careers post-service by providing high touch transition support so veterans in all communities can access services helping them identify their passions, build strong networks, and leverage their skills in civilian careers. According to Craig, “COMMIT aims to help service members reimagine the possibilities, and a gift like the one from The Sikoras goes a long way toward making that happen. We are incredibly grateful.”

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