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Home Front
Home Front
VFW National Home for Children 3573 South Waverly Rd. Eaton Rapids, MI 48827 Phone: 866 483-9642
A Special Report for Friends of the VFW National Home for Children Summer 2016
In this Issue:
• A Word from our
Executive Director
page 2
• Donor Spotlight:
Sandy Germany
page 3
• This Year's Educational
page 4
Did you know...
Domestic violence is the
leading cause of injury to
women between the ages
of 15 and 44 in the United
States, more than car
accidents, muggings, and
rapes combined.
Ten years of her husband’s abuse was
more than enough for Stacy, whose name
has been changed to protect her privacy
and safety.
She left, with no idea how she and her six
children would survive, but with a
certainty that anything would be better
than the brutality and fear of their
previous life. Still, it was a struggle. Stacy
spent three years trying to raise her kids
on her own, while also learning to be
emotionally and financially independent
again—the proud daughter of a Korean
War veteran.
“When I heard about the National
Home, it sounded too good to be true.
But after doing some research, I knew
that this was my next step.”
At the Home, she found the emotional and
financial support she needed. Just as
important: she found a safe haven for
herself and her children.
With the help of her caring and
professional case manager, Stacy began
putting her dreams into action. While
living at the Home, she was able to go to
college full-time and earned an Associate’s
degree in General Studies and a Bachelor’s
in Management and Organizational
Development from a local college. She
learned how to manage her money and
save for the future and when she left, she
was able to move her children into a home
that she had bought and was able to
continue her education, earning her
Master’s degree in Family Studies.
It’s been six years since Stacy left our
campus, but the long lasting impact on her
life and the lives of her children is
apparent. Two of the children have
graduated high school and are attending
college while working full-time. Next year,
three of the kids will be in high school
and one in middle school. Stacy is grateful
for their strength, and for all the
opportunities to grow and thrive that life
at the National Home offered them. After
their very rough beginning, she says now,
“The National Home gave my kids the
chance to be kids and allowed me to give
them a normal upbringing.”
Facing the Future
Without Fear
Make It Happen
A publication of:
VFW National Home
for Children
3573 South Waverly Road
Eaton Rapids, MI 48827
Phone: 866 483-9642
Patrice Green, Executive Director
Molly Studinger, Program Director
Tim Smith,
Operations Director
Sue Alverson, Development Director
Todd Marriott, Facilities Director
A Word from...
Patrice Green, Executive Director
Veterans and their families find
themselves in need of the services of
the National Home for a variety of
reasons. Sometimes it is because they
are in an abusive relationship. There
are only 1,500 shelters for battered
women nationwide and this lack of
shelters could be one of
the reasons why women
have so much difficulty
escaping abuse. And it’s
especially poignant
when you realize how
common such abuse
actually is. According to
the FBI, a woman is
beaten by a spouse or
partner every 15 seconds
in the U.S.
Because you are a caring
person, I know how you
would react if someone in your family
desperately needed assistance or
became the target of an abuser. You
would take them in, protect them, and
help them to recover. And that’s
exactly what your support helps us to
do when a member of our extended
VFW family is a victim of abuse, or
needs our help in some other way.
This issue of The Home Front features
the story of “Stacy” and her six
children. We’ve changed her name for
her safety, but over the years, numerous
women with similar stories have
sought—and found—shelter here at the
National Home. Some
were veterans themselves,
others the daughters and
granddaughters of war
heroes. All needed and
benefited from the caring
attention, counseling and
protection that your
donations allow us to
Each and every one of
these women would love
to thank you personally,
though of course they can’t. I hope you
will accept my personal gratitude
instead, along with the knowledge that
your support has helped Stacy’s family
and so many others to build new lives,
without fear. As always, thank you!
The flower beds around campus are weeded
and mulched, brush and leaves have been
picked up, and fine mulch (kiddy carpet) has
been put down in the three playground areas,
all thanks to a crew of volunteers from Axson
Technologies, led by GM Marty Poljan.
“The whole team from Axson was a great
help,” said National Home Facilities Director
Todd Marriott. “They gave us more time to
tackle other pressing needs around campus,
and we are grateful.”
Thank You,
One of our biggest treats of springtime is
when the community kids put on their
annual music recital. The crowd was
entertained with a multitude of talents
including solo and duet piano
performances, singing, and a trumpet
solo! The little trumpeter was thrilled
when the crowd called for more, which
he had already prepared for, and he
launched into it immediately after hearing the word “encore”. Another highlight was a
beautiful piano rendition of Adele’s “Hello.”
The kids have been taking lessons all year with their teacher Rhonda Kennedy who has
been teaching students piano for 38 years here at the National Home! The only
requirement for students is a minimum age of 8 years old and an interest in learning
music. Rhonda’s teaching doesn’t just stop at piano, either. If a student is in band or
choir and wants to bring their music in for help, she will work with them on that
material as well.
Showtime at the
National Home
A beloved long-time
friend to everything-VFW,
Sandy Germany first got involved with the
National Home when she became an active
member of the VFW Auxiliary, and
increased her involvement as she became
active with the VFW Auxiliary National
Line Officers. She is proud to have had a
hand in the Home’s growth, and equally
proud to see that growth continue, as she
says now:
“It was my honor to be the National
President when the first duplex was erected
at the Home and more have come since
then. Everyone supporting such a
tremendous facility and cause can never be
One of Sandy’s biggest regrets is that she
is no longer able to visit here and work
directly with us as often as she used to.
But her support continues, and she
eagerly encourages others to join in that
“I support the National Home because they
are responsible for the wellbeing of so
many families, including the youth. What
small amount I am able to share with
them just means that I am not the only
one who could be helping in some way. We
should always remember that they need us
and that any amount can help.”
“I would tell everyone, DONATE, no matter
how large or small, it all adds up to a
great donation and helps to enable the
Home to remain in existence.”
And above all else, make a trip to Eaton
Rapids, Michigan to visit the Home. There
is always someone willing and able to take
you on a tour of the entire facility.”
Given this devotion to our cause, it’s
probably not surprising that Sandy comes
from a family tradition of military service.
Her father was a World War II veteran. Her
brother served two tours in Vietnam, and
her oldest son served in Korea, Iraq and
Afghanistan. All are also members of the
VFW family, as Sandy notes:
“My father and brother are deceased, but
were life members of Kichler Pippen VFW
#5658 in Elberta, and my oldest son, now
49 years old, continues to serve as a Life
Member of this same Post. My love is with
each and every one of them.”
After many years, Sandy’s work with the
VFW Auxiliary National Organization is
beginning to slow a bit, but she still
cherishes her belief in what the
organization stands for as well as its goals
for the past, present and future. And we
cherish her!
Sandy Germany
As a past National President and current
Department Secretary/Treasurer, Sandy works
with and for the VFW Auxiliary every day.
Where should we shine
the Spotlight next?
If you would like to nominate another
member of our community – or volunteer
yourself – for a future Donor Spotlight,
please contact Nancy Archambeau at
(866) 483-9642, or by e-mail to:
The music lessons and annual recital are just part of the wide-
ranging program of activities that are planned for children at the
National Home.
We have a 4-H program, parties, fishing expeditions in the
summer, skiing and skating in winter…and of course, since these
are kids with a family tradition of service, we give them lots of
opportunities to learn and volunteer. Throughout the year, there
are sports and games programs of every imaginable kind.
But it’s only the support of friends like you that makes these
activities possible. Will you come to the aid of our kids—and our
Activity Fund—with a special gift today?
How to help:
You can donate specifically for the activity program by
writing “Activity Fund” in the memo line on your check, and
return your gift in the enclosed pre-addressed envelope.
Thank you!
Please support the
2016 Activity Fund
The National Home was
glad to have the
opportunity to host this
year’s Women Serving
Women Vets retreat.
This Michigan-based
organization seeks to
identify and help the more
than 14,000 female veterans living in the state—women who
may be struggling with addiction, homelessness, sexual
trauma, PTSD, or joblessness. WSWVETS’s mission is to connect
them with the service organizations that will provide
assistance in these areas.
“This retreat has renewed my belief in the power of prayer,
recovery and life.” remarked one attendee. She said that it
was “just what I needed to return home and begin my new life
[of recovery].”
Women Serving
Women Vets
Each year, the National Home residents
and staff gather as a community to
share and celebrate the
accomplishments of the children and
parents here at The National Home. This
year we honored educational
achievement, our preschool and high
school graduates, and parent honorees.
The preschoolers were very excited to
receive their diplomas and sing their
song! Preschool teachers Ivy Bush and
Nicole Mendoza read the childrens’
names aloud, along with what they
wanted to be when they grew up. And
there were many wonderful career
choices like bike shop mechanic, an
EMT, Captain America, and Elsa.
Our graduating High School seniors,
John and Corey, both received
graduation gifts and Corey received a
scholarship to help him next fall when
he attends Michigan State University to
study engineering.
One of our residents, Lois, stood at the
podium and thanked everyone for
helping her to get through her tough
times, enabling her to obtain a
certificate in Bookkeeping and secure a
full time permanent position.
Husband and wife duo, Brad and Sherry,
have both experienced big
accomplishments in the past year.
Sherry has graduated from Davenport
University with a degree in Business
Administration and Brad received his
Associate’s degree at Lansing
Community College and plans to attend
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor for
It was so wonderful to have the
opportunity to come together and share
in the joy of fulfilled goals!
National Home Campus
Calendar of Events
Aug 6 Ohio Day
Aug 7 Michigan Day
Sept 24 Illinois Day
Sept 25 Indiana Day
Oct 21 Trustees Board Meeting
Oct 22 Annual Meeting of Life
Oct 22 WI/MO Fall Festival
Dec 3 Cootie Christmas Party
There are very good reasons why charitable gift
annuities have been around – and remained popular –
for more than 100 years. An annuity not only helps
your favorite charity, it can bring you important
benefits as well, such as:
• providing a guaranteed, fixed income for life (some
of which will be tax-free).
• possibly saving tax on Social Security benefits.
• supplementing your retirement income.
• reducing capital gains taxes, and saving on estate
• offering an alternative to CDs and money market
If you want to ensure that the National Home can meet the future needs of
veterans’ families and children, establishing a charitable gift annuity may be the
perfect option for you. And it’s easy!
Nancy Archambeau, Assistant Development Director, can help you learn more
about charitable gift annuities and how they might meet both your personal
and your charitable goals. To get started, simply use the enclosed reply form to
request our brochure, contact Nancy toll-free at 866-483-9642 or use our interactive
tools at to explore the benefits of different scenarios.
Can a Charitable Gift Annuity
Benefit You…AND Veterans?
Congratulations on This Year’s
Educational Achievements