On Wednesday, February 29, the President and the First Lady hosted 87 veterans of the Iraq War at the White House. Four IAVA member veterans were lucky enough to be invited to this historical event, including Membership Director Jason Hansman, local leader Angela Peacock, IAVA member MSgt Shane Lucaillade and the 2011 recipient of the IAVA Veterans Leadership Award, Cpl. Aaron Mankin.
"Receiving the official White House invitation in the mail was surreal. I feel immensely honored to stand for my fellow Airmen at this event. It is no simple task to represent the caliber of men and women who I served alongside in Iraq. They are the ones I will be thinking of that night."
-MSgt Shane Lacaillade
Hansman spoke enthusiastically about the dinner and what it meant to the service members and veterans in attendance. "It was humbling to see the President, Vice President and top military leadership spread out around the room eating with the 'everyday' soldier," he said. Angela Peacock, a former Army sergeant and IAVA's local leader for the St. Louis Welcome Home our Heroes parade, echoed Hansman's sentiment. “I felt a lot of closure,” she said.
Coming off the St. Louis Welcome Home our Heroes parade--an event which Peacock spearheaded for IAVA--media attention has swiveled to other cities that have seized the initiative and begun to plan events to celebrate veterans of the Iraq War. The next parade is in Richmond, VA on May 19--Armed Forces Day.
IAVA continues to advocate a National Day of Action that celebrates all veterans of the Iraq War, not just a select few. Hansman highlighted that now is the time to capture public goodwill. "We're in a unique moment in time where the American public is focused on the war in Iraq... and we don't know how much longer we'll have the attention.”
In the Press:
- WBUR Boston: Honoring Iraq Vets
- Associated Press: With dinner for a few, Obama honors all Iraq vets
- FOX Radio: Jason Hansman comments on White House dinner
- CBS Radio: IAVA's push for a National Day of Action and the White House dinner
In just the last year, IAVA has connected hundreds of veterans with employers through innovative career fairs, helped over 10,000 veterans go to college on the New GI Bill, and provided mental health support to over 50,000 veterans—all at no cost to Member Veterans. Programs like these are only made possible through your generous support. Fight for those who fought for us and help us keep these resources and benefits completely free for new veterans and their families. DONATE >>
Not an IAVA member yet? What are you waiting for?! IAVA Member Veterans get access to exclusive career fairs, events and tickets. Join up today--membership is free and all you have to do is submit proof of OIF/OND/OEF status.
IAVA has helped thousands of veterans. Here are some of their stories:
On August 5th, IAVA Member Veterans joined President Obama at the Navy Yard…
With the opportunity to learn from the industry's finest, IAVA Member Veterans…