Cleveland Kiwanis Club members discovered some information at this week's luncheon at the Elks Lodge about a program which is attempting to assist veterans in the the Bradley County area.Michael …
Cleveland Kiwanis Club members discovered some information at this week's luncheon at the Elks Lodge about a program which is attempting to assist veterans in the the Bradley County area.
Michael MacDonald is chairman of VET-COM.Org, an agency that advocates opportunities for veterans through education, mentorship, and entrepreneurship.
MacDonald's organization can assist veterans in attempts to begin a business, after devoting time serving their country in the military.
The organization's brochure emphasizes that the mission of its entrepreneurial training command is "to enrich opportunities for veterans in the marketplace, and attempt to enhance the economic development of communities, and prevent unemployment and homelessness by being an educational conduit to inspire veterans."
This resource is available at no cost to veterans, their spouses, and their dependents (26 years old and less).
"We advocate, mentor, and educate veterans and their families to become entrepreneurs," MacDonald said.
"Our organization is designed as an 'experience' for these veterans," he added. "We hope they can obtain knowledge they will need to grow and continue a business venture."
Qualification for joining the program include:
• You have to be a U.S. military veteran — active duty, inactive, or retired;
• You can be the spouse of a veteran;
• You can be an unmarried widow/widower of a veteran; or
• You can be a dependent adult child of a living or deceased veteran, and between the ages of 18 and 26 at the time of course graduation.
MacDonald is a 20-year, U.S. Army veteran, and the son of an Army veteran. He said, "I am a soldier first, then a father and husband."
He and his wife, who is from Cleveland, moved here about and year ago, and he started this new veterans' assistance program.
"There are a lot of opportunities out there," said the director of VET-COM.Org. "The basics are there, but not a program for a veteran to start a business."
MacDonald said his organization recently received its 501(c)(3) status, which will be a huge benefit in assisting veterans as a non-profit agency.
He pointed out that this is a multi-week program. There is no cost, books are included and you can complete the course in class or online. It is a structured course, is topic and objective focused, and there is a complete business plan.
Anyone wanting more information can contact MacDonald online at www.vet-com.org, or you can call 833-838-2661.
Other Kiwanis business this week:
• Traci Hamilton announced that this year's Head Start Coat Drive is off to a great start. The goal this year is to raise funds to purchase a coat or outfit for 93 children.
Hamilton said some money was left over from last year, and additional donations have enabled Kiwanians to go ahead and purchase 26 coats (or outfits) already.
• Several Kiwanis members will be volunteering to assist with the Bradley County Health Council's Life Maze this year.
The instructional program is for all Cleveland and Bradley County ninth graders, and is being held on Tuesday at the Cleveland Family YMCA.
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