HKY4VETS BLOG

“Our heads are spun…”

By Nathan Huret January 10, 2020

The 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg can deploy at a moment’s notice – literally within hours (to anywhere in the world) in a crisis situation. In response to rising tensions in the Middle East, it did just that. Strategically, I understand the deployment – the current situation in the Middle East is a virtual powder keg and our forces sheer presence is a tremendous deterrent thankfully. But since the initial news of the deployment came out, I cannot help but think of the families and the situations the 82nd is leaving behind at just a moment’s notice. I keep…

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2019 – Transition & 2020 – Growth

By Nathan Huret December 27, 2019

For HKY4Vets, 2019 has been monumental – a year of so much “new” that it is honestly difficult to remember ALL that has been devised, planned, worked on, changed, moved forward and hoped for these past 12 months. Try as I might to stay away from our own “End of Year List”, it is impossible not to at least mention that as of January 1, 2019: The organization never had a vision or mission statement nor a plan of work that defined our 2019 overarching strategies tied to objectives to carry out those strategies. The HKY4Vets brand, to universally tie…

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A Dive Into Our Region’s Veteran Data: Early Takeaways (Pt. 1 of 2)

By Nathan Huret December 5, 2019

Before Thanksgiving I received a request from a local veteran in pursuit of some demographic data on our region’s veteran population. I didn’t know the information myself admittedly, but found it particularly interesting, especially in light of new research from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) comparing the various veterans’ benefits offered state by state (future blog post – feel free to read the report and get ahead). I am including all of the demographic data (all from the 2018 American Community Survey) I pulled at the bottom of this article (for all my fellow data nerds), but…

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Building a [skill]bridge….

By Nathan Huret November 11, 2019

For those that follow HKY4Vets, I suspect you might be growing accustomed to these somewhat longer “dry spells” with no updates (outside of our social media outlets). Always know when we go a tad bit quiet, it usually means we are really deep into making some really cool things happen – hopefully to the benefit of transitioning military, military families and our awesome HKY4Vets business partners. True to form, we are in that quietly, crazily active period right now. I thought I might preview a little bit of the happenings in anticipation. The short version is – HKY4Vets is actively…

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Serving Those Who Have Served – Overcoming The Hesitation

By Nathan Huret September 20, 2019

As I was doing my weekly content creation/search for our various social media outlets, I came across an article written by Amy Williams, who was chosen this past Summer to participate in the George W. Bush Institute’s Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program. Amy works with the Post-9/11 veteran population, but she has never served and was never a military spouse. In her blog article for the Institute, she describes feeling rather intimidated being among this select group of non-profit, business, education and other leaders from across the country because she hadn’t served. She didn’t have that experience of everything from “Boot…

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5 Things to Know About the USO Pathfinder Program

By Nathan Huret July 23, 2019

The following is taken from Chad Storlie with USAA’s “Going Civilian” blog. Chad wrote it so well and provided such good information, we foresaw no need to try and improve upon his work. Thanks Chad and USAA! “The USO has long been know as the military oriented organization that brings entertainers to deployed locations, the smiling greeters that welcome you with coffee & snacks no matter the hour when your touchdown after deployment, or the well needed rest areas in airports to recharge during a long trip. These are all facets of great USO services, but the USO also has…

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Meet a HKY4Vets Leader: Cary Bowman

By Nathan Huret May 21, 2019

We continue our efforts to highlight the brilliant and strategic minds behind the HKY4Vets Military Taskforce. Today, meet Mr. Cary Bowman, who served in the US Army from 1983 to 2015. The following are some excerpts from a recent interview with Cary. What motivated you to join the military? A desire to serve my country, grow and mature, adventure. Why did you pick the Army over other service branches? Educational benefits, always thought of being a soldier. Where did you serve the majority of your time in service? Fort Bragg, Washington DC, and multiple locations in NC with the Guard.…

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Carolina Caring Honors Our Nation’s Heroes with Dedication Ceremony

By Nathan Huret May 17, 2019

Each one of us owes our military veterans a debt of gratitude for their selfless service. As part of Carolina Caring’s (www.carolinacaring.org) mission to provide exceptional, compassionate care and enhance living for individuals and their families facing the end of life, Carolina Caring is committed to honoring all veterans in our country and in our care. This month, the organization will be unveiling their “Salute to Heroes Memorial” on their campus at 3975 Robinson Road, Newton, NC. The memorial pays tribute to the heroes in our community, honoring the sacrifice and commitment of law enforcement, firefighters, active military and veterans,…

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Meet a HKY4Vets Leader: Tim Adams

By Nathan Huret May 15, 2019

In an effort to highlight the brilliant and strategic minds behind the HKY4Vets Military Taskforce, I thought it might be interesting to showcase some of the leaders that volunteer their time to guide this effort forward. Today, meet Mr. Tim Adams, who served in the US Army from 1992 to 1996. Tim is now an Assistant Principal at Oxford Elementary School for the Catawba County School System. The following are some excerpts from a recent interview with Tim. What motivated you to join the military? College and adventure Why did you pick the Army over other service branches? They recruited…

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Recap – 2019 Foothills Veterans Stand Down

By Nathan Huret May 2, 2019

United by the theme of “No Man Left Behind”, the Veterans Transitional Advocacy Board recently hosted the 8th annual Foothills Veterans Stand Down at CVCC’s Tarlton Complex. Stand Down is a term that originated during the Vietnam War used to describe the practice of removing combat troops from the field and taking care of their basic needs in a safe area. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the Stand Down was “a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations” where troops had access to clean uniforms, warm meals, medical and dental care, mail, and camaraderie, all in…

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Roll out

By Nathan Huret March 26, 2019

HKY4Vets was given an awesome platform last week to come and speak to 300+ local businesses, non-profits, elected officials, and everyone in between at the Catawba County Chamber’s Future of Catawba County Summit. As you might have seen from our last blog post or just our general radio silence, we have been very busy getting this community-wide effort ready for primetime. Basically too busy to write about it. But we are in process of shifting to a new phase – a very important one – the Roll Out. The Roll Out is THE critical time when you take all these…

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Hunkered down…

By Nathan Huret March 15, 2019

We’ve been eerily quiet around HKY4Vets the last couple of weeks. Don’t take our silence that we are dead & gone – or have suddenly grown disinterested. When we go quiet to the outer world, it means (to quote the early 21st century philosopher, Eminem) “I been in the lab with a pen and a pad…” We’ve been really hard at work the last many weeks trying to figure out things like budgets, realistic steps to perhaps scale back a strategy or two, marketing materials, possible staffing needs, applying for grants, talking with other communities about HKY4Vets, prepping presentations and…

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New & shiny….

By Nathan Huret February 20, 2019

Near the end of 2018 and into 2019, you might recall that we decided to shift away from this organization’s previous name (“Welcome Home, Hickory Metro”) towards something that spoke more to our intended audience…and yes, also happened to be catchier. We decided on HKY4Vets (Hickory 4 Vets) because we felt it accomplished those very goals: 1. It clearly speaks to our intended audience – veterans (& military families) 2. Our social media accounts (Instagram, LinkedIN, Facebook, etc.) were already using the moniker. 3. It aligns itself well under the NC military brands of NC4ME and NC4Vets – we are…

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Throw in your favorite cliche…

By Nathan Huret February 11, 2019

For the particularly close followers of HKY4Vets or the most devoted from our legion of blog readers (all ones of you :), you will remember a mention that in recent months the Catawba Military Taskforce has attempted to put this “organization” on solid ground to build from in 2019. In virtually every respect, this is and will be the most critical year of this fledgling effort and set our trajectory for the foreseeable future. Throw in your favorite cliche related to maturing or growing and it probably fits us right now.     The way we wanted to flourish in…

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Imitation is the sincerest…..

By Nathan Huret February 4, 2019

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” – Charles Caleb Cotton A pretty well-known phrase we have all heard at least 200 times in our lives – be it when we find ourselves showing up to work wearing a similar color shirt as a co-worker or when you want to feature a graphic in your presentation similar to one you saw in another organization’s 2017 annual report. As our organization (HKY4Vets) has been engaged in an intensive effort to develop a new vision (“where want to be”), mission (“the reason we exist”), goals (“desired outcomes”) and objectives, we have also…

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Vets Receive 100K FREE Hilton Honors Points

By Nathan Huret January 18, 2019

As part of the Welcome Home, Hickory Metro Weekends we hosted in 2017 and 2018, we always wanted to provide hotel accommodations for visiting military families. It was something we were always proud to provide, but hotels remained our most expensive line item each and every time. Soon after that first weekend (and a whopping hotel bill!), we heard about an opportunity exclusively available for veterans conducting job-hunt related travel: veterans are eligible to receive 100,000 FREE Hilton Honors points to cover their lodging when traveling for interviews, trainings and certification courses. Hilton partners with the National Association of State…

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The glue

By Nathan Huret January 11, 2019

I am going to tell you right now that the glue that holds HKY4Vets together, that gives it a solid foundation, that ensures it continues to evolve to best meet the needs of military families is our “Board”. For roughly the last 2 years (meeting basically every 2 weeks), this ragtag group of Hickory Metro veterans, company representatives and non-profits have volunteered their time to provide input and a good guiding hand to all of our work. They are a fun group that has really built up a strong camaraderie (I think you see that in the pic below from…

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A new year brings renewed strategic focus

By Nathan Huret January 8, 2019

This whole thing – this program and all of these efforts since – started with a simple trip to a job fair taking place at Fort Bragg in Spring 2016. In an effort to support several area companies participating in the soldier/spouse job fair, representatives from the Catawba County Chamber and Catawba County Economic Development Corp. chose to tag along as well. I think we presumed this would be a one-shot deal and a unique way to help these companies – bridging some divide between the Hickory Metro and transitioning military/spouses by simply making them aware that such job fairs…

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Bright and shiny…

By Nathan Huret January 8, 2019

If you have ever visited our website before (say prior to Dec. 31st), you will quickly notice our website now looks all “bright and shiny”. Your eyes do not deceive you. Over the Holidays, we undertook the “fun” task of giving the whole website a complete makeover – new focus, pics, messaging, layout and structure. Again, I can’t emphasize enough how “fun” this was (said through gritted teeth). But the pain was worth the gain – and we hope you find it a substantial improvement over the previous incarnation. At the same time, we also dropped our previous “brand” of…

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