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Operation Fun Day to raise resource awareness

Helping fellow veterans

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When Ronald Letendre retired as a sergeant first class after 20 years of service in the Army, he had worked in multiple positions, including field artillery meteorology, as a master driver teaching Soldiers how to drive military vehicles and as a platoon sergeant.  He had served his country well and was looking forward to new experiences away from the Armed Forces.

Letendre was not expecting to meet a fellow veteran that would change his life.

He now works with veterans on a regular basis with the National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide.  In fact, he is in charge of planning an event for veterans and their families later this summer on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.   

"Veterans and their families - active, retired, and former - are all invited to attend," Letendre said. "We encourage them to spend the day perusing the vendor booths and learning about the businesses in the area that are here to support the Servicemembers and their families."

Free activities such as bowling and skating are planned for the event, tentatively titled Operation Fun Day.  Another activity will be adaptive sports, including basketball and volleyball, which will be demonstrated by veterans and provide a learning opportunity for attendees, who can try to play the sports in wheelchairs, too.

In addition to planning the JBLM event, Letendre is a group leader for a support group at his church for civilians and veterans who live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  He helps others learn about PTSD and that they are not alone in their struggles. 

Though a Boston native, Letendre decided to stay in the JBLM area after retirement. He is getting married on July 14 and is getting used to the life changes that a marriage brings.

When not helping others or spending time with his new family, he is attending school on the G.I. Bill and working toward his Associate of Arts degree.  He is not fond of the homework, but the experience may prove helpful when talking with his future stepchildren when they need to do their homework, too.

Letendre can also be found networking with business owners and professionals in the local communities around JBLM.  He networks to increase awareness about the organizations he works with as well as his own business.  While networking, he is able to learn about the options that are available for his fellow veterans, group members and others he may meet. 

One meeting he attends regularly is the Heroes to Hometown in downtown Tacoma.  Quite a few of his contacts have come from this one meeting, and they have helped him be able to help others.

A glance at comments left by friends on his Facebook page shows that he has a big heart and cares about those around him. When you talk to Ronald Letendre, he listens. 

For more information about Operation Fun Day, contact Letendre at

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