Episode 63: Featuring Tony Teravainen and Sallay Kim, Kelly Nicholls and Retired Chief Darryl Hebert

Tony Teravainen - Support The Enlist Project (STEP)

Tony Teravainen, retired US Navy Submariner and Co-founder/CEO of ‘Support The Enlisted Project’ sat down with Rise Up Radio hosts, Jared Kelley and James Carmody to talk about STEP and the important financial help it provides to military families in San Diego County. S.T.E.P. is a non-profit organization that helps military families by providing junior military families (E1-E6) and recent veteran families’ financial grants during times of financial crisis. Teravainen, who grew up in a military family understands the struggles our youngest military service members and their families face. The organization provides financial grants and the tools and skills the families need to move them from the crisis to financial stability through learning how to manage their finances. That opens up a path to freedom and a path to getting out of debt. He explains it is kind of a financial intervention. Teravainen said, “San Diego is the perfect place for S.T.E.P. There’s 85,000 of these E1-E6 junior enlisted service members stationed in San Diego. Almost 10% of the entire military is stationed inside San Diego County. San Diego County is also the number three veteran populated county in the United states.” He went on to say, “We as a community believe we can do better by our military families. We ask a lot of these military families. That’s why we formed S.T.E.P.”


M.I.T. (Military In Transition) Firefighter For A Day

M.I.T. (Military In Transition) Firefighter For A Day is a program that exposes military veterans to what it is like to be a firefighter for a day using hands on along with simulation exercises. It helps former military members discover is becoming a firefighter is something they are or can become passionate about doing. Retired Fire Chief and academy supervisor Darryl Hebert sat down with Rise Up Radio hosts, James Carmody and Jared Kelley to talk about M.I.T. Firefighter For A Day. M.I.T.’s program coordinator Kelly Nicholls and co-program coordinator Sallay Kim joined Chief Herbert in explaining how the program works and what lead to their involvement. Herbert explained how a group called San Diego Leadership Forum, a “bunch of leaders” from the military, fire departments and businesses get together to think about what they could do to get involved in their communities by finding issues they could bring some help to. He said he thought about all the people who are being discharged from the military in San Diego but end up not being able to stay in San Diego because jobs are not available. “We don’t hire any better firefighters than ex-military people or military veterans. They understand service, they understand dedication, the chain of command all those things” Herbert said. Because he didn’t know anything about marketing, fundraising etc. he had Nicholls come over to the training center and as he explained his vision, ‘she took it an ran with it”. Nicholls, who is Senior VP of Lee & Associates works 50-60 hours a week so she needed to bring aboard someone who could help so she wrote Kim. Kim owns Serenity Event Solutions and after attending one of the M.I.T. events she decided it was something that fell into her wheelhouse. The job is to streamline the process for former military members to become firefighters if that’s what their passion is. To help those folks so that they don’t have that period where they’re just a little bit adrift and don’t have the support that they need. Herbert added, there are a lot of them out there that don’t even know being a firefighter is something they can do or actually want to do.

Take Action

1. STEP is 100% supported by the community. To learn more how you can help or can benefit from their services visit Support The Enlist Project

2. M.I.T Firefighter For A Day will be having their quarterly meeting Friday, April 21st. Register HERE or visit their website to learn more about how they are helping serve veterans.