We congratulate Jerome Washington for being named Veteran of the Month (VOM) and Merging Veterans with Players for being recognized as Veteran Supporter for the Month (VSM) of June.
Washington is an Army veteran who is incredibly passionate about supporting veterans and ensuring they are taken care of after their service. This passion has guided him to work for the Veterans Benefits Administration. However, more telling of his passion is his direct involvement in most of the region’s Veteran Service Organizations. In his off hours he served as the Senior Vice Commander of the Nevada Department the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and could be found often volunteering in the local DAV fundraising booth outside of Reno’s Sportsman’s Warehouse. He can also be found motivating his fellow comrades from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Chapter as they go on their “Change Direction” hikes, being a supporter of Nevada Honor Flight’s “Welcome Home” events, and making time to be the chaplain for local veteran events. For Washington, it doesn’t matter if you are just transitioning out of the military or you are approaching your twilight years, he is approachable and wants to make sure our veterans are taken care of and supported.
Merging Vets and Players (MVP) is a nonprofit, brought to Las Vegas in 2017. The organization’s primary mission is to bring combat veterans together with professional athletes and assist them with transitioning while promoting personal development and showing them they are never alone. Since beginning operations, MVP has been able to help bring together 300 participants. Throughout the program participants work out at the Xtreme Culture MMA Gym for an hour and then go into a second hour long huddle session designed to allow veterans to open up about suicide attempts and struggles with mental health, as well as stress associated with transitioning, and feeling disconnected. In creating this environment, MVP partners with the VA, local resources, and volunteer groups to provide direct assistance to veterans. During the pandemic, MVP went above and beyond in shifting platforms to create virtual platforms that maintained connections despite the challenges of the year. Their partnerships with foundations, corporations, government, and nonprofit partners have been critical in keeping veterans connected, physically active, as well as provide a sense of purpose, empowerment and support.