Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dear Sean,

The countdown has started for thousands.

The last 40,000 U.S. troops are leaving Iraq in 22 days. Eight years after this war began, Operation Homecoming is underway. And IAVA needs you to step up for these troops now more than ever.

Help us get ahead of the surge home before December 31st. Donate $40 to ensure the last 40,000 troops coming back from Iraq have free resources and programs to navigate the transition home.

This holiday season, our troops are returning to face a new battle: a staggering unemployment rate, as high as 20% in some states. I know firsthand.

When I returned from Iraq, I felt like I entered a whole new war zone. Juggling the mortgage. Keeping up the house. Driving my kids to school. All while trying to find a job out of uniform to support my family. As a fighter pilot, my comfort zone was flying at 20,000 feet – not navigating the civilian workforce.

That's where IAVA stepped in.

Through IAVA's Combat to Career program, I was one of 6,000 vets this year to receive new business attire from jcpenney – all for free. It's going a long way in this economy. And I've got a new boost of confidence to get out there for job interviews as I finish my New GI Bill.

IAVA has helped me get back to basics at home. But as these wars end, we need your urgent support to ensure all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans can take advantage of the same resources and opportunities.

Donate $40 now to help set our last 40,000 troops in Iraq up for success in 2012. Your support is crucial to ensuring IAVA's Combat to Career program connects thousands of them with free education and job resources and a sense of community to navigate the transition home.

After two Iraq tours, I plan to put my new suit and degree to good use working as a mental health counselor for veterans. But I'm just one success story. This holiday season, let's band together to lay the foundation so thousands of more vets can walk the path to a great career in 2012.

Thank you for having our backs.


Jeff Hensley
Iraq Veteran - Frisco, Texas
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

PS - Every dollar donated to IAVA in 2010 returned more than $10 of in-kind donations to support returning veterans. Read more about IAVA's impact in the 2010 Annual Report.

Sean P Eagan
Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000