Bob Neil via Crowdrise
June 04, 2012
BENEFITING: FINAL SALUTE
EVENT DATE: Oct 07, 2012
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Giving back to the community has always been a primary part of my life. I grew up in South Florida and volunteered my free time after school at low income community centers, tutoring and playing with children. I participated in Civil Air Patrol in high school and finished out as my Det’s Cadet Commander. I also led a chapter for America’s Promise the Alliance for Youth and helped organize the first ever South Florida Rally which Gen Colin Powell attended.
My desire to give back to the community at the local level grew into a passion to make a difference at the national level as a career. In college I was in Air Force ROTC and graduated as the Commander of Arnold Air Society (the volunteer organization for ROTC).
At every stage in my life I have always felt I could still do more… on each of my deployments I conducted fundraisers for children. When in Qatar I raised money for a South Carolina orphanage which upon my return to my unit I continued volunteering there twice a week. In Iraq I asked for my friends to not send care packages for me, but instead to send children’s school supplies; and, in partnering with the Knights of Columbus out of the U.S. Embassy Church I was able to provide many boxes for a Church in Baghdad to start an elementary school program. In Afghanistan, I donated all of my belongings upon my departure (and had collected donations from others) to provide to a school in Kabul that provided higher education for underprivileged girls and boys.
Over the past few years living in D.C., I participated and volunteered in numerous Veteran support non-profit groups. Most recently I helped Not Alone in their St Patty’s Day reception. Prior to that, I co-chaired the first (to be annual) American Heroes Ball on Veteran’s Day, donating over $15000 of proceeds to Wounded Warrior Project. I am a member of American Women Veterans as well as Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran’s of America.
This synopsis is not intended to be a comprehensive list of my community service but rather a little insight into how giving back and making a difference in other’s lives has been a consistent theme throughout mine.
As I have had positive influence-rs and amazing role models – I have always strived to be that way for others. I truly believe in the concept of ‘Pay it Forward’. Through the stress of deployments, I found happiness in doing for others who needed it. I believe that no matter how hard one has it, there is someone who is struggling more – and what is difficult for one person may not be for another – therefore compassion and understanding are qualities essential to life! My passion, my dedication to my country, my determination to succeed, and my consistent support from my peers, friends, family, teachers and mentors has enabled me to get to where I am today. My journey is far from over, but I wish to help those that are just starting theirs, to help those who have gotten lost or forgotten along the way, to help those who have the desire to make a difference and take control of their lives … to help our nation rally support around our Veterans, who have devoted their lives and made priceless sacrifices to allow us to freely determine our future.