Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Graduation Ceremony and Moving Forward

Last night marked the graduation for our veterans. The ceremony was a beautiful finish to such an amazing week for both veterans and volunteers alike. We made sure to catch almost every detail on video so that everyone can see and re-live the wonderful event time and again. We even got coverage from the local ABC station:

We began with a lovely serenade of "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes, seen here:

Then, we had a special table honoring and remembering our POWs from the various branches. The symbolism and ceremony surrounding this occasion can be seen in this video:

From there, speaker Will Gunn, General Counsel of the Department of Veterans addressed the FSU EBV Graduating Class of 2010, discussing changes in the GI Bills, and his hopes for their futures.

To finish things off, Dr. Blass announced our two $500 winners, Jeff Smith and Will Shultz, our two $1000 prize winners, Marylyn Harris and Daryl Jackson, and our two $1500 prize winners, Milton Tookes and John Colley. Catch all the excitement here: and here:

Finally, here's a letter from FSU Program Director, Randy Blass, talking about this year's class and our plans for the future. Keep posted for updates about EBV 2011!

Dear Friends of FSU EBV,

We bid an often tearful farewell to 21 of our newest friends last night as the FSU EBV 2010 program came to a close. It was a joyful evening and everyone present was moved by the experience. As this newest class of fledgling entrepreneurs makes their way back home, they will face many challenges. Our program now shifts from the logistics intensive in-residence program to the mentoring phase. Over the next 12 months this class will have direct access to everything from legal counseling to corporate mentors.

We will also be encouraging our grads to enter into business plan competitions in their local areas. That being said, the EBV Foundation, a separate, non-school affiliated, non-profit, established to support the entire EBV effort, will begin offering up to $30,000 annually (exclusive to EBV graduates) business plan competition. I know quite a few of our folks from this year and years past that will compete well.

Thank-you for your continued support,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Talking with our only female vet and preparing for Graduation!

This Tuesday, June 15th, marks one of the most exciting and nerve-racking days of the entire program. Today the veterans are delivering their final presentations in front of a panel of judges. They have been divided into two groups, and there will be 2 sets of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, getting $1500, $1000, and $500, respectively. This prize money is all thanks to the generous donation of Mark Llano and Source One Distributors.

Aside from presentations, the veterans will also be attending their graduation ceremony for the program tonight at the University Center Ballroom. The evening promises to be quite the event, hosting a very special guest speaker. Be sure to look at for all the official details on the blog tomorrow!

In the mean time, we spotlight our only female veteran, Marylyn, in this interview, as she talks about what it's like to be the only woman around, and also her thoughts on the program. Find it here at:

In light of graduation, you can also hear Professor Jim Dever talk about his involvement in the program and the transformation he has witnessed in the veterans:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day and Interview with Assistant Director and Head Volunteer

The new week started early on Monday with a Flag Day Ceremony at the Hotel Duval. Veterans, volunteers, hotel staff, and media all gathered to watch our veterans raise the American Flag, State of Florida Flag, and a Prisoners of War Flag. Hotel Duval installed three new flag poles just for this occasion, making EBV the first to use the poles.

After a brief introduction by hotel General Manager Marc Bauer, the crowd eagerly anticipated the flags, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance (which can be seen here: and a veteran led moment of silence for those Killed in Action.

To see official coverage of the event done by our local CBS station, visit here:

In other news, we have a spotlight on the FSU EBV Assistant Director and Head Volunteer Jeff Browne. Jeff sat down with us to tell us about his involvement in the EBV program. Listen to what he had to say at:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Donor Spotlight

Seeing as FSU EBV has no formal funding, fund-raising and donations is what makes this entire program possible. At this year's EBV, we are offering prize money for the first time ever, thanks to a generous donation from Source One Distributors. Veterans will all conduct presentations on their business plans and present them in front of a panel of judges. In two separate groups, there will be a first, second, and third place winner getting $1500, $1000, and $500 respectively. This means that 6 of our 21 veterans will walk away with a little nest egg to further their dreams - all thanks to Mark Llano and Source One Distributors.

Llano, the CEO and founder of Source One, flew into Tallahassee to do a presentation with our veterans, and we were even able to snag him for an interview.

To see part of his encouraging presentation, click here:

And to see the one on one interview we got with Mr. Llano talking about his inspiration to contribute to the program, click here: