Operation Gratitude Launches New Podcast Hosted By Marine Veterans Now Serving As Nonprofit Leaders

Chatsworth, California

Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- National nonprofit Operation Gratitude announced the launch of its podcast, Solidarity of Service, hosted by Operation Gratitude CEO and Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Schmiegel and the Chief Strategy and Operations Officer for NAMI, Retired Marine Chief Warrant Officer-2 Sherman Gillums, Jr. The show explores inspiring stories about community, connection, and service, featuring true American patriots from all walks of life. The inspiration for the Solidarity of Service came from the two friends' conversations about their desire to help heal a divided nation and the power of service in uniting communities. 

“We believe that a grateful nation that serves together is a united nation. In our lives, and in America, there is a common thread that demonstrates service to others will bridge divides. And we have seen firsthand that this solidarity of service is the best way, and perhaps the only way, to reunite our country,” shared Kevin Schmiegel. 

“There are times when we’d realized our fates were intertwined and our unity got us through profound hardship, like we saw after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Yet, we can also see how anxiety and uncertainty can create fractures in our society, as we saw in the wake of COVID-19 and social unrest. History has shown us we are indeed stronger when we confront challenges together as a collection of individuals serving a common purpose,” said Sherman Gillums, Jr. 

The first three of 12 episodes were released today, featuring conversations between Gillums and Schmiegel on service during and after the military and a candid conversation with fellow Marine and COO of Operation Gratitude, Retired Colonel Paul Cucinotta. 

Fans of the podcast can contact communications@operationgratitude.com to provide feedback and ideas for the podcast, or to become a guest on the show.

To watch the recordings of the podcast, including the trailer filmed at the DC National Guard Armory, visit YouTube or listen via your favorite podcast app

About Sherman Gillums, Jr. 

Sherman Gillums, Jr. recently joined NAMI in the newly created position of Chief Strategy and Operations Officer. He served in the U.S. Marines for 12 years and received an honorable discharge at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer-2 after a career-ending injury while preparing to deploy to Operation Enduring Freedom with 1st Marine Division. In 2004, Gillums began his career in veteran advocacy as an accredited representative for veterans, dependents, and survivors. He later worked as an appellate representative at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, D.C. Shortly after, he joined Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) as Associate Executive Director of Veterans Benefits. He later went on to serve as the organization’s first post-9/11-era Executive Director. After a successful period of improving health care and quality of life for catastrophically injured veterans, Gillums joined American Veterans (AMVETS), where he served as the organization’s Chief Strategy and Advocacy Officer.

Gillums has testified before Congress as an expert witness and presently serves on several high-profile committees, such as the Federal Advisory Committee for Veterans’ Family, Caregiver and Survivor as vice chairman alongside chairperson Elizabeth Dole. He was appointed by Governor Ralph Northam to serve on the Fair Housing Board for the Commonwealth of Virginia for a second term. He also sits on advisory boards for Operation Gratitude’s BRIDGE Council and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

About Kevin Schmiegel

Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Schmiegel is the CEO of Operation Gratitude, whose mission is to forge strong bonds between Americans and their Military and First Responder Heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide. 

Prior to Operation Gratitude, Lieutenant Colonel Schmiegel founded Hiring Our Heroes – a nationwide grassroots campaign run through the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment in hundreds of cities across America. Since its inception, Hiring Our Heroes has held more than 1,000 job fairs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and on military installations overseas. To date, more than 500,000 of our nation’s heroes have been hired as a result of the program. He went on to serve as the first-ever President of Thanks USA, expanding the scope of its mission from providing post-secondary, need-based scholarships to military spouses and children to include Pathways for Patriots, an innovative program to provide meaningful employment for the scholars upon graduation.

LtCol Schmiegel is a Class of 1989 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel after 20 years on active duty and deployments to more than 50 countries.


Solidarity of Service, hosted by Operation Gratitude CEO and Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Schmiegel and the Chief Strategy and Operations Officer for NAMI, Retired Marine Chief Warrant Officer-2 Sherman Gillums, Jr. Schmiegel and Gillums assembling Operation Gratitude care packages for veterans on Veterans Day at the DC National Guard Armory.

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