Leave No Veteran Behind (LNVB) is a national 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides educational and employment services to Veterans who face economic hardship. Through our innovative educational debt relief scholarship, community service, employment training, and job placement programs, LNVB invests in heroes who have honorably served our nation and seek to continue their service as productive citizens in their communities.
Empowering veterans through education and employment not only keeps our promise to veterans and their families, but it is a sound strategic investment that strengthens the fabric of our nation and provides a catalyst for continued success.
Why We Exist
The military has many codes of conduct that enable diverse individuals from all parts of the nation to represent the US with honor and win our nation’s wars. One code that is paramount is that we never leave a soldier, seaman, airman, or marine behind. This principle should transcend the military and should be a part of our national fabric as Americans. We should not allow individuals to slip through the cracks, especially if they are bettering themselves as citizens and soldiers by attaining higher education so that they may bring their expertise to the military and civilian workplace. It is well understood that veterans of wars are highly vulnerable to a number of social and mental ills that affect them at higher rates than average Americans. It is also well known that veterans make up a disproportionate amount of our homeless population. This is a travesty — but a solid education and employment can serve as an essential lifeline for returning veterans making the transition back to civilian life.
Leave No Veteran Behind was founded by two veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, Roy Brown and Eli Williamson. Both founding directors hail from Chicago, IL, and after graduating high school they attended Luther College in Decorah, IA. During college they both joined the US Army Reserves and were assigned to the 389th Engineering Battalion. During their senior year of college their reserve unit was activated to go to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Eli was able to complete his degree because he joined the active duty Army and attended the Special Warfare Training Center at Ft. Bragg North Carolina for the psychological operations (PSYOP) course. After completing the PSYOP course he was assigned to the 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne). He then deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Subsequently, he was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
When the 389th was called up, Roy was forced to put a halt to his education and deploy with the reserve unit. When Roy returned from Iraq he completed his degree in business administration and became a district manager for Aldi Corporation in the Baltimore area, where he administered daily operations for several stores.
During their time in the service and in the private sector they both struggled to pay educational loans from college because they were not covered under any military programs for educational debt repayment. Initially, they thought they were the only ones who had this problem, but after countless conversations with other frustrated veterans they found that they were not alone. They also saw that many returning veterans were struggling to find employment as well. After much thought and planning they decided to form Leave No Veteran Behind. They hope to ensure that all veterans get equal access to education benefits and that all veterans are provided opportunities for meaningful employment so that no veteran is ever left behind.
Paying homage to our roots, the Leave No Veteran Behind logo is modeled after the military badge. A military badge is defined as a military decorations that are displayed on uniforms to denote a variety of qualifications and accomplishments to service members. Using this as a paradigm, our logo(badge) denotes the accomplishments of those our program has helped.
The silver badge surrounded by two olive branches which symbolize peace after completing the mission. Centered in the middle of the olive branches is a book symbolizing knowledge gained through a veteran’s education and experiences. Behind the book is a sword that splits into plowshares. This symbolizes that a veterans military training can be repurposed through education into peaceful application that will benefit society.