Our 12th Annual Riverview Bank Symbol of Freedom Dinner Event was a huge success!
We welcomed back Command Sergeant Major – Gretchen Evans, US Army (ret.) at our event on November 7, 2022 at the AC Marriott Hotel on the Vancouver Waterfront.
The Riverview Bank- Symbol of Freedom 2022, Presented by Waste Connections of WA., Inc., benefiting CDM Caregiving Services.
The Symbol of Freedom event is centered around Veterans Day and is designed to honor our local and national Veterans, while providing an opportunity to educate the community of the important services that CDM Caregiving Services (CDMCaregiving.org) provides to our Veterans, the elderly, and all others, of any age, with differing abilities.
CDM has had the privilege to present speakers such as: Mr. Clint Hill (Secret Service Agent to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy), Jessica Lynch (PFC Army & POW survivor), Brigadier General Dan Cherry (USAF ret.), Lt. Joe Torrillo (NYFD survivor 9-11-01), LtCol. Michael Strobl (USMCand subject of “Taking Chance” Movie starring Kevin Bacon), LtCol Robert Darling (USMC ret.) to name just a few.
The 2022 event will see the return of CSM Gretchen Evans (ret.) Army, along with members from Team UNBROKEN, Dan Runyon- US Army Special Forces/Ranger (ret) and Dr. Anne Bailey.
Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans is one of the most decorated female veterans in U.S. history. Throughout her 27 years in the service, CSM Evans worked her way up to Command Sergeant Major – the highest rank an enlisted soldier can achieve. In this role, she was responsible for the security and personnel on all bases and forwarding operation bases in Afghanistan and oversaw more than 30,000 ground troops. She earned numerous medals and awards, including the Bronze Star, the Presidential Unit Citation Medal, and Global War on Terrorism ribbons, six Meritorious Service Medals, was inducted into the Veterans Hall of Fame in 2021 and in July of 2021 received the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2022 ESPY awards.
In 2019, Gretchen Evans created Team UNBROKEN. The core purpose of this team is to build morale and inspire others who face living with wounds visible or invisible and other life challenges. They emphasize their physical and mental abilities not their deficiencies. Evans states, “For every ability that we lose due to an injury or illness, we usually add an ability to mitigate that loss. For example, I’m deaf but I lip read, so I’ve picked up a new ability. Because I don’t hear, I see things that other people don’t see, and that can be extremely helpful. Your other senses kick in.”
While most of the members of Team UNBROKEN are veterans and active-duty service members, there are also some civilians. Gretchen is deaf due to a rocket blast, has a traumatic brain injury, as well as other injuries. Dan Runyon, a 20-year Army Veteran, was a Special Forces/Ranger who lives with a traumatic brain injury and PTS. Dr. Anne Bailey, a civilian, is a Type 1 diabetic. Anne serves Veterans everyday working as a Pharmacist and Clinical Innovation Director for the Veterans Administration. All team members have experienced some sort of ‘brokenness’ and been diagnosed with mental health issues, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) or have been permanently disabled because of an injury from their time in the Military.
The team competes in athletic events and are featured guests at speaking engagements in order to inspire people of all walks of life to live their best life regardless of the barriers they may face. The team motto is “What is Within Us is Stronger than What is in our Way.” Team UNBROKEN is making a positive impact in the lives of veterans and civilians across the nation by serving as ambassadors for this noble cause and demonstrating that each person has the ability to overcome the challenges facing them.
Funds raised at this event, will directly support the Living with Dignity program to care for at-home clients as well as support therapeutic offerings at the CDM McKibbin Adult Day Center.
CDM holds strong to their mission of keeping the elderly and disabled in their own home for as long as possible, this includes many Veterans as well as others of all ages with differing abilities.