The 7x24 Exchange Washington DC Chapter celebrated our Veterans on November 5th at the Lost Rhino Brewing Company in Ashburn, VA. This event was organized by the DC Chapter’s USA-CO (Uniformed Service Advocates in Critical Operations) Committee.
The mission of this committee is: to serve as a support group that provides outreach, scholarships, recruiting, mentoring, and networking opportunities to create and enhance partnerships with Veterans and DoD in our Mission Critical and Data Center Communities. Further, we will engage and educate the community about our industry and its goals through volunteer efforts, financial/resource (trade) donations, and other touches related to a focus on Veterans.
Mark Barry, Board Member and Chair of USA-CO kicked off the event by honoring our Veterans, explaining the purpose of our new Committee, and introducing our first speaker of the evening, Captain Eugene "Red" McDaniel, Veteran, Living Legend, Non-Profit Servant, & Author. As a 6-year Vietnam POW Survivor of the "Hanoi Hilton" prison, a highly decorated American Hero, and Author of "Scars and Stripes," Red discussed how his time as a POW, his faith, and service to his fellow Veterans fully inspired his transition into civilian life. “I don't consider what we do a business. I consider it a ministry.” – Red
Red’s speech was followed by one of the truly most noteworthy testimonies to Veteran success in the Mission Critical Industry, Mr. T.J. Ciccone, Veteran, Professor, & VP Critical Ops – Stack Infrastructure discussed an unparalleled navigation from youthful and spirited Navy Nuclear Sailor to a “V-Suite Executive” inviting his fellow Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and Space Professionals; follow me, “you certainly can too!” – T.J.
Our industry made band, the DC Alley Cats; half of which are Veterans themselves in support of USA-CO, played 80’s covers for the rest of the evening while attendees networked, ate, drank and enjoyed the hits!
Below is a quote from our USA-CO’s Chair, Mark Barry:
"Lil, it was so fun; thank you! A huge congratulations to Ross, Brian, yourself, and the rest of the 7x24Exchange WDC Chapter Board, is in order! Our inaugural USA-CO event and first full year as a committee was a huge success; we're so pleased with the turnout across the Mission Critical Industry and within our Greater Washington, D.C. communities in support of our Veterans! We raised $1,500 for Wreaths Across America, another $1,000 for Captain McDaniel's Veteran focused charities, and an additional $10,000 in support of our 7x24Exchange WDC Chapter initiatives! We created a new special segment of Veteran-set-aside scholarships, commensurate with the mission of 7x24 Exchange at large. We brought some new, even unexpected, members into our 7x24 Exchange family. USA-CO's official launch to our Mission Critical Community & 7x24Exchange has even prompted other local 7x24 Exchange chapters to invite me in for discussions and for aid in starting their own local USA-CO Committees!" - Mark Barry