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Iraq, Afghanistan war vets eligible for Welcome Heroes Campaign

J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s first and largest non-profit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are joining forces to provide America’s newest generation of military veterans with more than $1 million in apparel and footwear to start new civilian wardrobes.

With over 2 million servicemen and women who deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the “Welcome Heroes” campaign seeks to honor and support recent vets with the apparel needed to pursue new career opportunities or to enjoy the leisure activities missed most at home.

“Our military service members spend years wearing a uniform and many do not get the opportunity to build a wardrobe that makes it possible for them to go to a job interview, attend a friend’s wedding or simply enjoy a night out with their spouse,” said Steve Lawrence, executive vice president and senior general merchandise manager for JC Penney. “Given all the sacrifices they make to serve our country, we’re doing our part as a leading American retailer to outfit our nation’s heroes with the head-to-toe looks needed to dress for any occasion with style.”

To be eligible, military service members who served in Iraq or Afghanistan can go to http://rucksack.iava.org/ from Oct. 20 through Nov. 20 to register for the jcpenney giveaway once they have confirmed their free membership with IAVA at http://www.iava.org .

Following the registration period, over 6,000 qualified entries will be randomly selected to receive $200 in merchandise certificates toward the purchase of men’s or women’s apparel available at JC Penney or http://www.jcp.com.

“After taking off the uniform, one of the greatest challenges that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans face is transitioning to a civilian workforce that doesn’t truly understand their experience. Thousands of veterans are coming home today to significantly higher rates of unemployment and underemployment than their civilian peers,” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of IAVA. “Having the confidence to walk into an interview and articulate the value of their military experience is absolutely critical for navigating today’s job market. IAVA is proud to partner with JC Penneyon ‘Welcome Heroes,’ so veterans of this new greatest generation have the resources needed to continue their leadership and service at home.”

To showcase J.C. Penney’s assortment of professional and lifestyle attire, they featured real veterans to model for its “Matters of Style” mailer and captured behind-the-scenes footage from the photo shoot. Through video diaries posted on jcp.com/welcomeheroes and stories highlighted in the mailer, veterans share their deployment experiences by recalling some of the things they missed most from home and the importance of outfitting returning veterans with new clothes. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the country‘s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 200,000 member veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Its mission is to improve the lives of this country‘s newest generation of veterans and their families.

Don’t forget

Veterans Day Breakfast at the Ross Aragon Community Center, Friday, Nov. 11, 7:30-11 a.m. Veterans Day ceremonies at 11 a.m. the Post Legion Hall located at 278 Hermosa St., next to Town Park. Potluck luncheon at noon inside the Post 108 Legion Hall. See you there!

Meetings

The following veterans groups meet in Pagosa Springs:

American Legion Post 108, second Wednesday of the month at 7 pm, 287 Hermosa St.

Veterans for Veterans, every Tuesday at 10 am, 164 N. Pagosa Blvd. (Buffalo Inn).

Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans, Monday at 6 p.m., St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd.

Further information

For information on these and other veterans’ benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at the Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard. The office number is 264-4013, the fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-3590 and e-mail is raytaylor@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for application for VA programs and for filing in the VSO office.

Durango VA Clinic

The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 1970 E. 3rd Ave. in the old Mercy Medical Center. Phone number is 247-2214.

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