Every once in a while a true unsung hero emerges within a cause, someone who gives time and energy and never quits.
That person is our own Mark Jackson.
He will be pissed that we even mentioned him.
Mark has lead our Advocacy Team for the last nine months or so. In that time he and his small team have convinced a divided Congress to add two amendments to the NDAA and a VA reform bill. Mark worked directly with the former Secretary of Defense and his staff to have President Trump sign an Executive Order on his last day in office. (You can read about this legislation here.)
Today we learned that a bipartisan bill was introduced in both chambers of Congress that would provide presumptive base status to every military veteran that was at Karshi-Khanabad. (You can read more here.)
Mark and his team have done all of this while (in most cases) working a full-time job, and in some cases fighting K2-related illnesses. Somehow, he even finds time to surf occasionally.
Mark we couldn't do this without you and the rest of your team:
Mark Jackson, Advocacy Lead
Steve Nelson, Governmental Affairs Lead
Ed Rodriguez, Research Director
Warren Overbeke, Governmental Affairs
Abby Stuebs, Governmental Affairs
Drew James, Governmental Affairs
A couple of other thank-yous:
Scott Welsch and Tara Copp (without whom none of this would have started)
Derek Blumke who kicked off our legislative efforts
Catherine Herridge of CBS News for holding the DoD and the VA accountable
All of the news organizations that have covered our tale.
I'd like to also thank our Board of Directors:
Now the real work begins - as the Stronghold Freedom Foundation begins helping individual K2 Veterans find care and support inside and out of the VA system. Making sure that every family is cared for.
We are also still fighting for the Civilian Contractors and Federal Employees that were at K2, to make sure that those that are sick have the medical care they need.
On behalf of all of the families and veterans of K2 - I want to extend a huge thank you to all of the staff of SFF - past, present, and future. Your hard work IS making a difference.
Executive Director, (Interim)
Stronghold Freedom Foundation