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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 three-year history, VAN has found where it could impact veteran lives through events, adventures, socials, mixers, and networking opportunities. By coordinating and collaborating with local businesses, corporations, and veteran-focused non-profit organizations, VAN can be a consolidated resource portal for veterans, sharing information about supporting business partners, non-profit missions, volunteer opportunities, area events, VAN signature events, and opportunities to network with friends and supporters. 

VAN is Helping Local Veterans Get Connected!

What you can expect from VAN in 2024 is a continuation of its popular programs and free events for veterans, its popular signature events, and the launch of VAN Veteran Adventures. 

VAN Veteran Free Events and VAN Signature Events are proudly sponsored by Toyota of Tampa Bay, Corporate Sponsor for VAN 2023!

January

2023 began with the launch of VAN’s 12-Park Tour, where, on the first Saturday of each month, the VAN team and friends met at local parks for a morning of health and wellness through hiking. The VAN team collaborated with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce Leads Group to visit the Tampa Bay Crisis Center to learn about their suicide prevention programs for veterans. The team ended the month with a bit of Axe Throwing at Stumpy’s Hatchet House in Tampa. 

February

February saw the continuation of VAN’s 12-Park Tour event, a collaboration with American Legion Post 108 to celebrate Four Chaplains Day, and the 1st Annual Remembrance Love Walk to raise money and awareness for veteran suicide prevention. 

March

March was a special month featuring the 2nd Annual Healing with Horses Event at Peaceful Pastures Ranch in Webster, Florida. This free veteran event included a catered lunch, meditation, and equine therapy sessions for veterans and their families. The March VAN 12-Park Tour had a warm-up session with Pride Strength Training! VAN ended the month with its monthly mixer at Patriot Stogies Cigar Lounge. 

April

12-Park Tour! Dunedin Highlander Games! Beer & Burger Festival! And the 1st Annual Tee One & Give One Golf Tournament! April was a very busy month for VAN! The VAN Team worked diligently to spread the word about VAN programs, events, and business partners at events across Tampa Bay. Through collaboration, VAN teamed up with the Tampa Green Beret Association, partnering the VAN monthly mixer with the quarterly Veteran Business Social event hosted by TGBA. 

May

May saw the launch of VAN’s very own magazine, VAN Station Magazine (now FireWatch Magazine from Eagle Island Publishing, LLC). Through collaboration with American Legion Post 108 Chaplain Don Hinst, VAN Station Magazine found its way across the United States on a journey of Route 66! May’s 12-Park Tour included a good workout, and the VAN Team ended the month with a mixer at 1916 Irish Pub in Brandon. 

June

VAN celebrated its nomination for the Emerging Business Award with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce and was honored to be a part of the 1st Annual Anthony Muhlstadt Defender Ruck Walk alongside Gold Star Mom Tanya Mort. June was also the launch of the new RECreate Your Mind Military Series with Pasco County Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources with a Veteran Free Fishing Tournament that included incredible prizes from Rusty Bucket Bait House!

July

The July RECreate Your Mind Military Series included another veteran-free event at Sunwest Park, including Yoga on the beach, Kayaking, Swimming, Fishing, and Snorkeling! VAN also held its first-ever VAN Freedom Fest and, in collaboration with American Legion Post 108, hosted an official Vietnam Veteran Welcome Home Ceremony! 

August

August launched the collaboration between ABC Action News and VAN for Operation Honoring Heroes, sponsored by West Shore Home and DFCU Financial. This veteran resource provided by ABC Action News utilizes VAN and VAN members as resources for veterans and service members. 

September

September is VAN’s biggest month of the year with the annual Fallen Hero 5K | 10K event, which was held in conjunction with the Travis Manion Foundation 9/11 Heroes Run at Al Lopez Park in Tampa on September 9th. The following day, VAN teamed up with Learn and Serve Tampa to place 2977 placards commemorating each victim of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks at Fowler Field on the USF Campus. 

October

VAN is now VETERANS ADVENTURE NETWORK! We celebrate at VAN’s 12-Park Tour with less humidity! And, for pumpkin spice and everything nice, VAN joins American Legion Post 108 to celebrate the 2023 American Legion Fall Festival. Followed by Sponsorship of the 2nd Annual American Legion Post 108 Golf Tournament to raise money for Veteran Homelessness on October 27th

November

We kicked up some dirt for the VAN VET DAY 5K Trail Run at Anclote Gulf Park alongside our friends at Pasco Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources. Later that month, VAN helped sponsor the 6th Annual Veterans Run alongside good friends at  NeoEndurance, with proceeds benefiting local veteran organizations!

December

This December, VAN will celebrate the end of the VAN 12-Park Tour series for 2023 with a celebration and prizes for any participant who attended four or more of the monthly 12-Park Tour events. The 12-Park Tour Celebration will take place at Wall Springs Park: 3725 Desoto Blvd. Palm Harbor, FL 34683

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