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VAN Year in Review

2023 was a year of discovery for VAN. The organization unveiled the all-new and improved Veterans Adventure Network (VAN) as a non-profit subsidiary of The Lone Magnolia Foundation, Inc. in October of this year. Formerly known as the Veteran Approved Network, the rebrand reflects the organization’s unwavering commitment to elevate the veteran experience.  Over its […]

About the Author: Ken Smits

Ken Smits began writing his book series Without Glory in 1985 when a friend, the first person he confided in about his experiences in Vietnam, told him the world had a right to know the truth about the horrors he faced there. What began as one book grew into five books, with two anticipated future […]

Who is VAN?

VETERANS ADVENTURE NETWORK VAN’s mission is to “Restore Connection” within the veteran community. VAN engages the civilian and local business community, corporations, and other non-profit organizations to support free veteran events, event tickets to local venues, adventure opportunities, and resources.  At VAN, we are all about FUN! VAN Signature Events are held annually and designed […]

Operation Toy Soldier

Written By Maisie Petchey Christmas is upon us, and many wonder how to afford a memorable Christmas for their kids. With so many things to be concerned about financially, the pressures of parent performance at Christmas shouldn’t be one of them.  For enlisted ranks whose years in service are at most ten years, the average […]

Learn and Serve Tampa: Experience the Impact of Service-Learning

This past September, Learn and Serve Tampa led the way with a 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance at Fowler Field on the USF campus in Tampa, Florida. A memorial of 2977 placards was placed in an empty field to create a 200-foot by 100-foot American Flag. Each placard contained the name of a person […]

Peaceful Pastures Ranch: Healing Together

There is a rush in the city. Everyone is anxious and late for something. The high stressors of everyday life seem to envelop you in a dense fog. But, driving north on I-75 with the bustling city behind you, the buildings become sparse, the trees become plentiful, and your mind begins to relax. You are […]

Cryo-Eeze 22

Together, We Can Change 22+ Per Day There has to be a better way than hospitals and prescription pills to help ease the suffering of veterans, service members, and first responders. Ryder Gaston, Founder of Cryo-Eeze 22, knew this and was determined to change the playing field. With a singular vision, Ryder strove to provide […]

Suicide Prevention Training Institute

Educating to Save Lives Dr. Derrick Copper, a counseling psychologist, and Navy Veteran provided behavioral health services to the Department of Defense, U.S. Army, and Army Substance Abuse Program for 35 years. He trained as a LivingWorks Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trainer in 2008 while serving at the U.S. Army Presidio of Monterey, […]

My Warrior’s Place

Giving the Gift of Hope and Healing Nestled off the Little Manatee River between Snake Island and the mainland of Ruskin, Florida, sits My Warrior’s Place, a place of tranquility and peace founded by Kelly Kowell, mom to Corey, who gave his life in service to our country in Afghanistan, September 2009.  Messages from heaven […]

A Teacher’s Thoughts on Veterans Day

By Kristy Verdi, Learn and Serve Tampa, Inc. Veterans Day. No apostrophe. It’s a plural noun and not possessive. It belongs to all who served and came home. Veterans Day, the day we honor all veterans, is celebrated in many countries around the world. It began as a day to remember those lost to war. […]