As you gear up to BBQ hop today, spend some time thinking about the brave folks who lost their lives protecting our country. Yes, I am feeling patriotic at the moment. I’m thinking about my grandfathers, both of whom were proud of their military service, my friends who have returned from their fourth and fifth tours, and the recent NPR piece I heard about a couple who deployed to Iraq together but didn’t return that way.
At the wise suggestion of my colleague, Cheryl, we thought we’d observe this holiday of freedom, respect, pride, and appreciation here on the Connection Café blog with a behind the scenes interview. This time, we’re behind the scenes at America Supporting Americans (ASA), an organization working to improve the lives of men and women in the military through their three signature programs: Adopt-A-Unit, Foster-A-Unit, and the Youth Civic Action and Awareness Program.
This is where Linda Patterson, the president and founder of ANA, comes in. Linda has been hard at work since the Vietnam War to connect active military servicepeople with supportive organizations back home. She first got involved in this important work while visiting troops in Vietnam in 1968 (where she met and married her husband who was serving as her military escort)!
Here’s her interview with Connection Café:
CC: What’s your elevator pitch about what America Supporting Americans does?
LP: We build strong supportive, sustaining relationships between our military forces and their assigned America Supporting Americans civilian sponsors (cities and youth, athletic groups, private business, and civic organizations). America Supporting Americans has supported and maintained long term relationships with our active military servicemen and women reaching back to the Vietnam War. We’re still in contact with those veterans today!
CC: Of Convio’s online tools, what have you found most useful?
LP: ASA’s online forms are so convenient for troops and sponsors to register with us through our site. The forms are also so easy to use for online donors.
CC: What are you most proud of regarding your use of Convio with your organization?
LP: I think Convio allows us to effectively network and outreach to constituents. I receive tons of positive feedback on the layout of our website, too. We’re a small organization with a very professional web presence because of the Convio tools. I’m always proud of our Adopt-A-Unit events. Here’s a recent article showcasing plans for an event in Kentucky.
CC: If you had advice to share for a new Convio admin, what would it be?
LP: Remember that leading a non-profit organization is a roller coaster ride, but having a vendor like Convio helps you through those low dips with their professional consultation, advice, and supportive staff. Also, communicate to show genuine examples which inspire and motivate others to think outside the box.
CC: Thanks for telling us about your work!
LP: Here’s a photo of our troop support program bringing together our active units of today with their brother warriors of yesterday (the same unit, only 43 years apart, Vietnam veterans, soldiers who served with A Company 1-327th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division visit during Week of the Eagles at Fort Campbell, Kentucky 2009).