Thank a Veteran Today, Help Veterans Year Round
It is relatively easy to take time out of your day to acknowledge our veterans—in person or on social media—and say thanks to those who bravely and proudly served our nation. There are some CPAs who have found ways to give even more to our veterans. AICPA Insights recently spoke with former AICPA Chairman Ernie Almonte, CPA, CGMA, who has volunteered extensively with Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, a veteran’s organization in his home state of Rhode Island, about his experiences.
AICPA Insights: Why did you get involved in working with veterans?
Ernie Almonte: I have always been interested in history. The more I learned about history the more I realized the important role veterans play in our freedom. As a participant of the Marine Corps ROTC program in high school, as a son of a U.S. Marine veteran from the Korean War and a member of a family that has lost relatives and friends in various wars fighting for our freedom, I felt an overwhelming need to give back.
When I was the Chairman of the AICPA, there were three occasions where my flight to or from an event was also a final flight for one of our veterans returning to their final resting place. There have been so many signs in my life to remind me of the great price that some pay for our freedom.
AI: Why is this work important to you?
EA: I feel it is important to give back to those that gave so much for our freedom. Whether it is the veterans themselves, their families that also make sacrifices in their lives as they support the family while the veteran is deployed and the gold star moms who have lost their sons or daughters that have given the ultimate sacrifice.
I once heard the definition of a veteran as a person who at one point in their life made out a blank check to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life. This is something I always remember, along with personal friends who made the ultimate sacrifice.
AI: How can others get involved with Operation Stand Down?
EA: Operation Stand Down Rhode Island is a Rhode Island-based organization. The website is www.osdri.org. Its mission is to help veterans secure housing and employment as well as other assistance according to individual needs including case management, basic human needs, referrals and education and training services.
Editor’s Note: There is another chapter of Operation Stand Down in Tennessee and there are opportunities to volunteer to help veterans in all 50 states and territories.
Another way CPAs can help this Veterans Day is to volunteer five hours of free financial advice to veterans looking to start or grow their own business. The AICPA and SCORE have joined forces in the Veteran Fast Launch Initiative to connect veterans with CPAs across the country. Sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and access a toolkit of resources to get started.
Lauren J. Sternberg, Communications Manager, American Institute of CPAs.
American Flag courtesy of Shutterstock.