Coming Together — So That Our Veterans Don’t Fall Apart — the Veteran Mission Possible Campaign Veterans Day Update

Jerry Ashton
3 min readNov 11, 2022

Pictured: Col (ret) US Army Mikel Burroughs, Jerry Ashton, Navy vet along with his RIP Medical Debt co-founder Craig Antico — NYC Veterans Day Parade 2017

Most of us have seen the distressing headlines about our veterans: their rate of suicide, homelessness, drug abuse, incarceration rate, debt and more. Some have also read about the VA attempts via Mission Daybreak to specifically reduce vet suicide — even throwing $20 million dollars in prizes into the mix for organizations that they feel have innovative ways in which to specifically reduce vet suicides.

Several of VMP’s members competed — one successfully: Marine Veteran Rick Johnson CEO of Voi Health and Voi Technology.

But the overall experience was disappointing.

Innovation seemed to be less important than a solution’s ability to fit within the existing VA bureaucratic process. Contestants were put in silo’s, with no real attempt to create a community or develop cross-pollination. Previous contracts won through the VA moved a contestant’s proposal to the top of the judging stack. To make things worse, only 40 participants out of 1,371 entries “qualified” to share in the pot. Only 40???

Thus, the emergence of VMP and its energetic cadre of risk-takers and out-of-the-box thinkers and their supporters who were among the 1,340 who didn’t win a spot. We decided to create a community out of this disparate group. And, to locate and invite others also with good solutions but who were not aware of Mission Daybreak to join with us in a campaign that runs from 11/1/22 through 1/31/23. Veteran Mission Possible.

We intend to equal or better in featuring our members’ impactful solutions. But, how?

The importance of media

Equal to the need to ferret out and refine the thought leaders and their solutions is to see that their inventions and approaches are brought to public attention and especially to the ultimate recipients — the veteran in need and their advocates.

If they don’t know about you, they can’t do anything about you. To ensure that needed awareness, VMP is constructing a web of…

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Jerry Ashton

Navy Journalist veteran, co-founder and founder of the charities RIP Medical Debt and End Veteran Debt — co-creator of Let's Rethink This and "Impact Awareness"