Juan Mendez, United States Marine Corp, E-6 Staff Sergeant, LCVFSF Veteran Peer, was a student at College of Lake County where he met LCVFSF staff members Jessica Lopez and Angel Andrade. “They told me about the work the foundation was doing on behalf of Veterans and their loved ones,” Juan said. Prior to CLC, Juan did community outreach work in Milwaukee that included the Marines’ “Toys for Tots” and worked with Marine Reservists on employment and other issues. Juan was deployed three time to Iraq, as well as other assignments in the Philippines and ports in Singapore, Japan and Thailand. While Juan is new to the foundation, he already enjoys his work. “I’m impressed with the partnerships the foundation has formed and the collaboration that these make possible. We talk about the best solution to complex problems and we all benefit from the exchange. I have learned the value of listening. I have seen the value that LCVFSF adds as a resource hub.” Juan is holder of a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from North Park College.
Ashton Kroner, United States Marine Corp, E-5 Sergeant, LCVFSF Social Media Contractor, is also currently serving as Outreach Coordinator for The Road Home, a program of The Center for Veterans and Their Families in Chicago. She deployed with the 1st Communication Battalion, 8th Marines in Iraq and was sent on temporary duty assignment as a Lioness, gathering intelligence from local women. After completing a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, Ashton became a Marine recruiter in the Albany, N.Y. area. She has a bachelor’s degree, is a mother of two, and is married to a fellow Marine. She is one of many Veterans who continue to serve their country and community after they no longer wear the active duty uniform.