Operation Second Chance Receives Grant from Petco Foundation



Contact: Vanessa Toner, 301-972-1080, vanessa@operationsecondchance.org

Petco Foundation Invests in Operation Second Chance’s Life-Changing Work Supporting Service, Therapy and/or Working Animals

Grant of $3,000.00 will extend efforts to help pets and people live their best lives

WHO: The Petco Foundation recognizes Operation Second Chance’s success in its mission to help people live their best lives with service, therapy and/or working animals.

WHAT: Operation Second Chance received a grant award of $3,000.00, which will extend its ability to provide financial assistance to those veterans needing help with the costs of having a certified service dog.

For more information about Operation Second Chance or the Petco Foundation, visit http://www.operationsecondchance.org/ or http://www.petcofoundation.org. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by using the hashtag #PetcoFoundation.

Free Flu Shots for Veterans

Free Flu Shots for Veterans
The cold and flu season is upon us and the Department of Veterans Affairs has once again teamed up with Walgreens Pharmacies nationwide to allow all veterans who are currently enrolled in the VA healthcare system to be able walk into any of the over 8000 Walgreens nationally (and the Duane Reade pharmacies in the New York metropolitan area) to receive a vaccination at no cost. 

Vaccinations will be available through 3/31/17.

Veterans wishing to receive the no cost vaccination simply need to present a Veterans Identification Card and a photo ID, at any participating Walgreens to receive the vaccination.  In addition, after the Walgreens pharmacist administers the vaccine, Walgreens will transmit that information securely to VA where it becomes part of the patient’s electronic medical record.

VA is committed to keeping Veteran patients healthy, and during this flu season, vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread of flu.  No matter where you live, visit your local VA clinic or Walgreens to get a free flu shot. 

• To find your local VA, visitva.gov/directory/guide/home.asp.

• To locate a Walgreens store near you, call 800-WALGREENs (800-925-4733), or gotocom/findastore.

•  To learn more about the partnership, call 1-877-771-8537 or visit ehealth.va.gov/Immunization.asp.

•  To get more information on flu and flu vaccine, visitpublichealth.va.gov/flu or www.cdc.gov/flu

Operation Second Chance provides grant for Scholarship Fund in memory of a Hero

 Operation Second Chance provides grant for Scholarship Fund in memory of a Hero

For Immediate Release                                        February 17, 2016

Contacts: Cindy McGrew & Vanessa Toner 301-972-1080

In honor of Army SPC, Wade Christiansen, OSC provides $5,000 grant towards The Wade Christiansen Purple Heart Scholarship Fund.

GERMANTOWN, MD, February 17, 2016— Since 2004 Operation Second Chance, a non-profit organization based in Germantown, MD, has worked tirelessly to provide emergency financial assistance and morale boosting retreats and activities to wounded, injured, and ill post 9/11 combat veterans and their families. It’s President and Founder, Cindy McGrew, saw the need for a ‘grassroots’ organization that would never lose sight of the goal to provide relief for the men and women of our armed forces who have sacrificed so much in the name of freedom.

Cindy, who visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) regularly, first met SPC Wade Christiansen after he was injured in January 2010 from an improvised explosive device (IED) detonation. Seven IEDs had been hidden inside of a wall, spaced out in 15ft intervals, the same amount of space soldiers leave between each other on foot patrol.

“These guys are good,” Christiansen said when interviewed by Lorna Thackeray of the Billings Gazette in 2010, “This was a very intricate ambush.” Six of the seven IEDs were detonated but the seventh, the one nearest to Christiansen, failed, leaving him severely injured but alive.

SPC Christiansen was treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (now known as WRNMMC) in Washington, DC. He lost sight in his left eye and sustained substantial trauma to his jaw from the blast, as well as other injuries from shrapnel. Wade would recover, but his injuries would prevent him from returning to battle. He received a Purple Heart Award, and was medically discharged from the Army.

Wade returned to his home in Montana and began participating in Operation Second Chance’s Retreat Program. He became heavily involved with OSC, and even became a peer mentor for other wounded veterans who joined the retreats. “He would teach other veterans about horseback and ATV riding, how to fish, but mainly how to love Montana the way he did,” says OSC President Cindy McGrew.

Christiansen later enrolled in Montana State University to study photography, however his troubles weren’t over.  “His pain was persistent and required ongoing attention to manage.  Wade endured admirably, but ultimately we lost him in May 2013 to a continuing social epidemic: veteran suicide,” it reads in the Wade’s Story section of his scholarship fund page, wcpurpleheart.org.

From his involvement with the Operation Second Chance Retreats Program, OSC began receiving donations in his memory after passing. “All year long we receive donations in memory of SPC Christiansen,” Vanessa Toner of Operation Second Chance said.

OSC uses money from donations to provide assistance to wounded combat veterans; to date Operation Second Chance has provided more than $3 million in financial relief and morale boosting activities to veterans in need. However, when word reached OSC about the Wade Christiansen Purple Heart Scholarship Fund, Cindy said, “this was the best way to pay it forward for another veteran.”

Operation Second Chance has provided a $5,000 grant to be applied towards the scholarship fund, moving them that much closer to their $25,000 goal so that it can be awarded in the fall of 2016. As stated on the Fund’s website, “The Wade Christiansen Purple Heart Scholarship Fund has two purposes: to preserve the memory of late Army Paratrooper Specialist Wade Christiansen, and to support military service members with a critical resource in their transition to civilian life: a quality education.” Operation Second Chance is proud to be able to help provide such a wonderful resource to our veterans.

If you would like to donate to the Wade Christiansen Purple Heart Scholarship Fund please go to wcpurpleheart.org and make a charitable contribution. “The fund will award a scholarship to a continuing Montana State student with military service, or to a student family member of a veteran, on an annual basis.”


Free Online Class on Stress and PTSD

Great opportunity for veterans and caregivers.

The Next Mission project at the University of California, San Francisco is offering a free online course, Stress, Resilience, and Post-Traumatic Growth, for all veterans and military service members.

Students in the course will have the opportunity to:

  • Create a personal narrative about the universal experience of the military journey
  • Learn about the neurophysiology of stress responses
  • Develop a sense of community with other veterans and military service members

Upcoming course session start dates:

  • Winter session: January 18th, 2016
  • Spring session: March 7th, 2016
  • Summer session: May 9th, 2016

For more information, please view the course summary page or syllabus. Interested students should email nextmission@ucsf.edu to sign up for the course.


Help Support Veterans This Holiday Season

The Frederick, MD Texas Roadhouse will have a Hero Tree set up in our restaurant starting, today, Wednesday, Nov. 4 – Tuesday, Dec. 1. We invite you to give back to our veterans this holiday season by donating a Texas Roadhouse gift card to the Hero Tree. You can purchase a gift card for any amount of your choice.

When you donate $5 or more to our Hero Tree we will give you a free* Appetizer!

All gift cards will be donated to our local VFW group.

American Sniper Shootout in Mason, TX

Taya Kyle invites you to the American Sniper Shootout – Mason, TX – December 5

With my good friends at TrackingPoint, it would be an honor if you could join me in Mason, Texas for a very special event on December 5 – the American Sniper Shootout to benefit the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation.

I will be taking on World Shooting Champion, Bruce Piatt, who stands to win $1 million if he can beat me. He’ll be using a military rifle while I’ll be using TrackingPoint.

It’s more than just me taking on Bruce – four amazing country music acts headline the show – Easton Corbin (one of my favorites), Asleep at the Wheel and the Scooter Brown Band – plus Donica Knight – will entertain you before Bruce and I take on the range.

There will be some of the finest Texas food and drink on hand and family experiences will take place during the day, before a VIP function and auction at night – with proceeds going to the Foundation established in Chris’ name.

Tickets for the event are just $10 – you can purchase here: http://www.americansnipershootout.events

As a valued friend, I want you to consider doing it in style and securing your spot at the VIP dinner. The entertainment goes into the night and we’ll have some amazing people on hand.

This will also include a number of auction items with the proceeds going to the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation.

If you’d like to enquire about VIP dinner tickets, more information on extending your involvement in the event, or to donate an auction item, please send an email to lisa@americanss.org.

I can’t wait to see you in Mason on December 5!