Episode 64: Featuring The Travis Manion Foundation and Operation Connect

Matthew Peace - Travis Manion Foundation

Alec Zirkenbach - Fathom CrossFit

Matt Peace, Navy veteran and program coordinator of the Travis Manion Foundation joined Navy veteran Alec Zirkenbach, owner of Fathom CrossFit in a sit down with Rise Up Radio hosts, Jared Kelley and James Carmody. Peace and Zirkenbach discuss how the Travis Manion Foundation and Fathom CrossFit are combining forces for the upcoming Manion Run and Manion Workout Day to honor Travis Manion and the sacrifice of all fallen military heroes. This year’s Run/Workout will be held on the 10th anniversary of First Lieutenant Travis Manion death. Manion was killed by sniper fire while saving wounded teammates and to honor the legacy of her son, his mother created the foundation to carry on the legacy of the service, character and leadership of her son as well as all fallen heroes. Zirkenbach and Peace unpack their personal military transition experiences, what the run and workout events include and where they will be held. Zirkenbach transitioned out of the navy as a disabled veteran and after going through rehabilitation wanted to get back into playing sports. He tells Kelley and Carmody, “I would never be where I am today if it weren’t for CrossFit. I train, coach and love CrossFit because it gave me a second chance at a healthy and happy life.”

Patricia Reily, Bill Loeber, Fletcher Damon - Operation Connect

Bill Loeber, Founder and Curriculum director of Operation Connect, joined Professor Patricia Reily, along with Fletcher Damon, Manager of Economic Development and Public Policy for North San Diego Business Chamber on Rise Up Radio to talk about Operation Connect and how it’s working to make transition from the military into the civilian employment sector easier for military veterans and transitioning members. Operation Connect, a San Diego Chamber program works with veterans and transitioning military service members to help them connect with business owners, leaders and other influential members in the community to find employment. Operation Connect looks for veterans who are recently transitioned, active duty military getting ready to transition out and veterans who have already transitioned out and are getting ready to graduate from school and are seeking civilian employment for the first time. Loeber, a former marketing exectutive with HP was selected as SDMAC Civilian of the Year for his work with Operation Connect. He explains that Operation Connect’s program curriculum was created specifically to help veterans get prepared and connected for jobs in the private sector. It is all about how to network, “I call it networking for introverts. You don’t have to be a super extrovert to be a good networker.” Professor Reily, a naval veteran is also Director of Veterans Services at Cal State San Marcos. She talks about how she became involved in the networking program and shares what she calls her toughest decision ever, retiring from the Navy. She goes on to explain how she got her first job after getting out of the military through a connection with a former boss. . “When I thought about it, I thought, that’s how people get jobs.” You have to make the connections.” She goes on to say, “We want our veterans to cross the stage with a diploma in one hand and the keys the office or a great job offer in the other. So that’s constantly driving me.” Damon manages operations at Operation Connect on behalf of the Chamber. He explains the networking events are held once every month, what the events entail and who they help. The chamber has a lot of sponsors within the business community who make the events possible. “We have a lot of really generous sponsors that help the chamber make this possible. We are really grateful for them,” he said.

Take Action

1. Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. Together with Fathom CrossFit they are creating an even bigger impact on the community.  Visit Travis Manion Foundation and Fathom CrossFit for more information.

2. Operation Connect has helped many Veteran's transition to their civilian employment. To know how you can sign up as a Mentor or as a Transitioning Veteran visit Operation Connect or call 858.487.1767