The Strindberg Laboratory, an innovative nonprofit that presents professional theater workshops and plays for disadvantaged populations, has agreed to partner with us in Long Beach. That means more opportunities for veterans to collaborate with actors, writers, directors and producers who have valuable experience in the creative arts, and to commune with peers in the process. Yesterday I had an online discussion with Strindberg co-founder Michael Bierman, who explained all veterans have a story to tell, and are encouraged to participate. People Magazine recently published a long piece about the work Michael and his wife Meri Pakarinen have been doing with California inmates. Check out a portion of the chat I had with Michael, and then scroll down to see a video report by People correspondent Tiare Dunlap:
Jeff Norman. RotorAct Long Beach president Brittney Olaes and John Bollinger
Renaissance man John Bollinger and I spoke last night at the semimonthly RotorAct Long Beach Happy Hour Meeting. It was quite a privilege to spend time with young movers and shakers who never stop making their city a better place. We shared our plans to establish an outpost in Long Beach where we’ll run a variety of programs with nonprofit partners including Rock to Recovery, The Strindberg Laboratory and Global Business Incubation. I met John in November when we both participated in the Emerald Veterans Business Summit at Loyola Marymount University. It was a conference for veterans who own or plan to own their own businesses. John is an architect, general contractor and construction engineering professor who helped launch the Long Beach World Trade Center and Port of Long Beach. We’ll be lining up partners and funding in the coming months in a variety of ways including our Night of Hope and Dreams, a tribute to Bruce Springsteen at the Brass Lamp Bar in Long Beach on March 18, the night before Springsteen’s last of three concerts in Los Angeles.
Some of the best veterans’ advocates operate in the nonprofit sector to accomplish what they couldn’t possibly do if they were to work for a government agency. But we certainly need as many talented and dedicated public servants as possible to address the needs of veterans, and it’s with that thought in mind that we wish the very best to our own Ricardo “Rick” Reyes, who has just been appointed Deputy Secretary of Minority Veterans at the California Department of Veterans Affairs. Gov. Brown made the announcement on Thursday. Rick was our Director of Military Outreach in 2009 and 2010, and still serves on our Advisory Board. He’s a remarkable Marine veteran who once went undercover posing as a homeless veteran to find out how veterans are treated in shelters. He’s now going to bring his passion to Sacramento and offer his services on a statewide level. The governor couldn’t have made a better choice.