by Jonathan Weaver
Patriotic attire worn by Armstrong Junior/Senior High teachers not only showed support for the country, but also the nation’s active military and veterans Thursday.
Junior High Social Studies Teacher Brandon Newill said the dress-down attire suggestion was part of the nonprofit organization G.I Go Fund’s “Jeans for Troops” campaign. Teachers also donated a minimum of $5 to participate.
“I got an email from a group called (gigofund.org), and they raise money for troops and veterans through a multitude of (platforms) ranging from education to job training, helping homeless veterans and healthcare,” Newill said.
Newill – who said his uncle, grandfathers served in the military – said he quickly got the go-ahead from school administrators and received even more support from teachers.
“We had an overwhelming response – we raised over $600,” Newill said. “Our official count was $620 and we had money still coming in (Friday).
“Some of the teachers actually came up to me and said ‘Thanks for doing this – thanks for organizing this; my father’s a veteran, my brother, my husband.’ That was really satisfying.”
Teachers also wore stickers showing their support. Teachers usually dress down on Friday’s to support scholarships and other local causes.
“I think it was a really great picture for the (students) to see so many staff members dressed in red, white and blue. For them to be able to see a large group of adults do that, I think was a great role-model experience,” Newill said.
In January, the nonprofit celebrated 10 years of providing employment assistance, connections to critical benefits, emergency financial support, and access to housing
Since the “Jeans for Troops” drive began collected money for troopers twice per year – in honor of Memorial Day and Veterans Day – in 2011, the nonprofit reported millions of supporters have participated.
During Veterans Day in November 2014, the nonprofit organization reported that nearly 2,000 schools, companies and government agencies participated in a “Jeans for Troops” event.
“The amount that this event has grown in the past few years has been truly something special,” GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous said after that milestone. “What started a small group of loyal supporters has now swelled to
over a million school teachers, government workers, and business employees alike standing together to lend a hand to their local veterans in need this Veterans Day.
All of our participants are showing the true passion and love that all of us Americans have for our military men and women, and they are saying thank you to them in the best way possible.”
Funds from that event went toward helping veterans in need during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season with meals and shopping cards.
In February, dozens of military veterans received job searching assistance from high-level employees at the Military Veterans Skills and Career Workshop in Edison, New Jersey.
The workshop showed veterans how they can translate their military experience into a civilian career, provided assistance with veterans looking to improve their resumes, and gave veterans the chance to share their transition stories with other veterans who have successfully transferred their military background into steady employment.