As a first responder, Chynelle Washington is usually the first to assist at an emergency. The specialized training she’s received makes her a vital asset to people in dire circumstances. With nerves of steel and technical training in her arsenal, Washington has helped save hundreds of lives in her community. Serving as the director of initiatives for National Invest in Veterans Week, Washington views her role in the organization as vital as serving as a first responder. Recently named “Best Social Impact Initiative of 2021” by The Ritz Herald, the organization is focused on advancing the organization’s mission further. We sat down with Washington to discover the theory behind why the organization chose the first week of March as the start of National Invest In Veterans Week.
Veterans are honored and celebrated heavily during November, why March?
Chynelle Washington: Having served in the community as a first responder, I know firsthand people’s issues in our communities. In the military veteran community, the month of November is usually dedicated to honoring veteran’s service to our nation. Rather than bundle National Invest In Veterans Week with the traditional veteran holiday season, our co-founders thought it better to honor veterans in March. Not only is March a great time of year regarding weather, but it’s also beneficial for several other reasons that benefit veteran businesses.
Speaking of veteran businesses, the SBA celebrates National Veterans Small Business Week in the first week of November. Why do veteran business owners need another week to be honored?
Chynelle Washington: The SBA does a great job of promoting veteran business owners during National Veterans Small Business Week. Not only do they provide resources for veteran business owners daily, but they also have a direct influence in the legislative realm. However, as I stated previously, every November, American’s are inundated with analyzing the ways to support veterans from an honoring standpoint. National Invest In Veterans Week’s mission is to hyper-focus on veteran business owners with a singular spotlight, and there is no better month than March to accomplish that mission.
You noted earlier that March is an excellent month for veteran business owners. Why so?
Chynelle Washington: March is significant for several reasons. For one, American’s are receiving their tax refund checks, so veteran business owners are benefiting from a revenue standpoint. Secondly, the holiday season ends in January. Veteran business owners can receive more support from the media during this time since the Superbowl and other major sporting events have concluded. Lastly, March is also Women’s History Month. With so many female veterans starting businesses, the benefit is twofold for this particular veteran entrepreneur demographic.
It also helps that February is a short month compared to March. Are there any other notable holidays for veterans during the month?
Chynelle Washington: Actually, there are. For instance, March 3rd is the U.S. Navy Reserve’s Birthday, March 4th is Hug a GI Day, and March 5th is the official Navy Seabee birthday. After National Invest In Veterans Week, March 13th is K 9 Veterans Day, followed by the American Legion’s Birthday. Falling at the end of the month is Medal of Honor Day on the 25th, accompanied by National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29th. Regarding February, Black History Month is observed during the entire month. We felt it best that we leave the celebration to African Americans’ advancement to be a primary focus for February.
We appreciate your time for this interview. You also have a business that helps people lead healthier lives. How does your business Fit To Eat Nutrition correlate with National Invest In Veterans Week?
Chynelle Washington: Fit To Eat Nutrition focuses on making losing weight as simple and engaging as possible. Our mission is to make the change to a healthy lifestyle as engaging, flexible, and sustainable for busy professionals or busy stay-at-home parents alike. Our philosophy on achieving a healthy balance between eating and fitness is more than just counting calories and picking up a few weights. We introduce to clients that the connection between healthy eating and fitness is necessary to overcome physical and mental limitations and creating longevity overall. This directly correlates to military veterans since we have discovered, through research, that military veterans are suffering mental health illnesses at a rapid pace. At Fit To Eat Nutrition, we have worked with veterans to help them live healthier lives, subsequently leading to better health from a physical and mental health standpoint.
I appreciate your time, and I wish you the best of luck moving forward.
Chynelle Washington: Thank you for your time; for more information about the mission and vision of National Invest In Veterans Week, visit our website at https://www.investinveteransweek.com.