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Finding and Building Community Support

In a series of Q&A’s, IAVA is sharing what #VetsRising means, and is, to our members. Meet Shannon Adams, a U.S. Air Force veteran who resides in Plymouth, MI.

What brought you to IAVA?
I was looking for ways to be involved with veterans and give back to the community. After serving in the U.S. Air Force for 24 years and retiring as a Master Sergeant, it was a natural transition for me to continue to serve my community as a member of IAVA. I had always tried to provide guidance, advice and assistance to the airman that worked for me. I have stayed connected to many of them after they separated. The more I learned about IAVA, the better I felt the fit was. When IAVA introduced VetTogethers, I thought this is a great way to support. I enjoyed the idea of building camaraderie in the local community.

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You’ve done an amazing job at forging local relationships with folks like Freedom Hill, the Detroit Pistons and USA Hockey. How has that propelled your local community building efforts?
Businesses and organizations love to support veterans. Reaching out to these organizations and supporting the local community has created a large network. I have been fortunate to have had such great support in the Detroit area. Through my association with IAVA and the support of the local community, I was connected with the Detroit Pistons public affairs office at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. It is connections like this that make the local community building efforts successful. The local community that supports veterans is small and a very close network. I see lots of the same folks at support events. We are all connected and everyone supports one another from Team Red, White and Blue to the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. It’s all one big family supporting veterans.

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What’s the best thing you’ve heard from someone since you’ve been involved with IAVA?
I hear a lot of positive feedback from veterans. From the network that supports veterans, I hear “Keep up the good work.” Most recently I received a thank you letter from a veteran which gave me a great feeling:

Shannon,

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the Pistons tickets for the night of February 10. We greatly appreciated the generous gift that you provided to Team Red White and Blue. For me personally, this is the first live game I have watched since the Silverdome days. I had a great time and enjoyed the game. The biggest surprise of the night was seeing Isiah Thomas live on the court again. Being guests of the Pistons means a lot to a very grateful veteran community.

I would also like to thank you for the work that IAVA does for veterans, providing services and helping for more than 1 million transitioning veterans. Helping more than 1 million veterans return to a normal life. Helping us reconnect and assimilate with family and friends.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to watch the Pistons live. And, thank you for the work your organizations do to help and honor veterans.

Michael Loffreda, US Navy (Retired)

It’s communication like this that inspires me to do more, knowing that I have positively influenced someone’s life here locally.

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