Fashion and Gallantry Meet

The “Watercolor World” Gala, Saturday, September 26 at Cocoa Beach Hilton, Cocoa Beach, Florida brings aspiring models and decorated war veterans together in a common bond for the evening, as they all raise money for a veterans organization.

Cameron 3

Comeau

Jo’el Worldwear, an ethical fashion company and sponsor of the gala, will raise funds for Counseling to Careers, a 501 (c) 3 charity helping military veterans with counseling for Post Traumatic Stress from war and other challenges. The charity’s goal is to set these men and women up for success in the civilian world, and to help them secure jobs and careers after military service. To purchase tickets, click: 

http://www.counselingtocareers.org/?p=522.  Choose “events,” purchase via PayPal.

Statistics in America show veterans at a higher rate of unemployment than their civilian counterparts, and the number of unemployed veterans is expected to increase with more military personnel leaving service due to multiple deployments, retirement, and early releases over budget cuts. According to Reuters, the Obama administration and Congress have initiated an array of measures, including tax credits for companies choosing to employ veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Through monies raised at the Gala, Counseling to Careers hopes to employ extra case workers who will design appropriate counseling and support per each veteran they serve.

Charity founders Ray Giamporcaro and Valerie Oliver have both seen conflict, but from completely different vantage points. Giamporcaro is a military veteran who served shipboard in the United States Navy, while Oliver, lived as a child in Nicaragua during the Sandinista Army’s uprising against the government. “I might not have served in the military, but I have compassion for our veterans and others because I know firsthand what it’s like to live in a war zone,” said Oliver, whose father is a decorated Marine.

Giamporcaro said he was inspired to start the charity after hearing another Sailor, years after he’d left military service, talking about the same struggles he’d experienced trying to find a civilian job.

With their combination of experiences, the two are committed to complimenting other exiting organizations in the Space Coast area, and the local Veterans clinic, with their career-specific counseling services. They currently have the capacity to serve only 8-10 veterans on a monthly basis. “It’s a horrible shame for us when we hear that a veteran in our area has been lost to suicide, yet we might have made a difference had we just known they needed our support,” said Giamporcaro.

To raise funds, the Gala promises to have loads of entertainment, silent and live auctions, a special recognition for veterans, and a fashion show, centered around clothing and accessories made by women and men affected by war and conflict. Designers include: Sudara; L Saha; WOHP & TWARA, Afghanistan; Space Shirts; FreeSet and more…

SudaraL Saha

Brevard Brass has volunteered its magical band sounds throughout the evening. Matthew Susin, candidate for Brevard County School Board District 4 will emcee the event, and local well-known business leader Keith Houston of Crest Cleaners will speak briefly before introducing lifelong friend, Colonel Chris Comeau, US Air Force, recently retired. In his last military position, Comeau worked with US Dept of State; plus he has served at Al-Udeid Air Base, Doha, Qatar; with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington D.C.; as a command pilot, logging more than 3,000 flying hours in T-37, T-38, C-5, and KC-135R/T aircraft; in operational and staff tours in Air Mobility Command, US Air Forces, Europe, Pacific Air Forces, US Air Forces Central, Air Staff, the Joint Staff; and has commanded an air refueling squadron.

Brevard Brass

Special guests include: Vonabell Roocke-Sherman, professional television presenter with Home Shopping Network, actress and model, seen by hundreds of millions of viewers; Chelsea Owen of Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge; Model Cameron Kay of MP Mega Miami, whose models are featured on the covers of Vogue and Elle magazines; and Valerie Paul, St. Baldrick’s Foundation supporter, well-known for creation of uniquely themed bald Barbies for child cancer patients.

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