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Troop-support warehouse run by veterans

Posted: December 9, 2009 2:11 p.m.
Updated: December 10, 2009 2:03 p.m.
 
PASADENA -- Soldiers' Angels (SA) has opened its first Angel-operated warehouse, staffed by four recent veterans and Angel volunteers.

The warehouse streamlines SA's extensive packing, shipping and screen-printing activities in support of the troops, reducing the nonprofit's expenses and providing an employment opportunity for veterans.

"It's a better bang for benefactors' bucks," said Toby Nunn, Soldiers' Angels operations manager, who oversaw development of the warehouse.

Located across the street from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas -- an area with the highest concentration of military personnel in the United States -- the 10,000-square-foot facility reduces shipping costs for SA by its proximity to one of the largest targets of SA's troop support efforts.

In addition to reducing overhead, employing warehouse staff directly fits Soldiers' Angels' mission by supporting veterans.

"Staffing it with recent veterans provides a 'soft-landing' for their transition," Nunn said. "It surrounds them with like-minded people as they learn the corporate world."

It especially helps those who may be struggling, Nunn adds. "You can't say, 'You don't get it.' Because you're looking at a bunch of people who do."

The warehouse location means families with patients at BAMC can drop by to relax among people who understand. Family members and mobile patients often enjoy pitching in.

"Right now we have a couple of families and a Ft. Hood shooting victim helping out with the holiday care packages," Nunn said. "We've been shipping about one semi-(trailer) truck per day."

Next door to the warehouse is 3,000 square feet of exhibit space that will host military-themed book signings, video/movie screenings, SA leadership meetings and more.

Part of the exhibit space will house a permanent installation of the Tribute to Heroes and Angels museum, and the facility will also support a program of music therapy and music lessons for wounded veterans.

Co-founder Jeff Bader says the entire facility is more than a base of operations. "It will be a home--a home for our volunteers and supporters, our active duty and retired military friends, and most importantly a home away from home for our returning and wounded troops and their families."

This story is posted in The Signal's SCV Raw section. Click here for more information about SCV Raw.

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