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John T. Powers initially founded Operation Vets in 2006 after seeing a close childhood friend struggle to readjust back into civilian society after deploying to Afghanistan. John spearheaded a statewide initiative in Rhode Island that became a support network for veterans transitioning out of the military and into higher education. While the primary focus was on education, he helped veterans and their families in accessing state and federal benefits, while connecting them with resources available to them.

Powers developed a statewide Veterans Resource Guide “Healing our Veterans and Families” that was created to assist veterans expeditiously access available resources and contacts. During this time he also began to access programs and services
available to veterans on campuses within the state of Rhode Island and New England region. Realizing the lack of services and support were systemic, Powers began to develop student veterans organizations and Veterans committees within Rhode Island higher education institutions to improve services on campus. Powers work within the state, led to a regional initiative within New
England and eventually serving as the executive director of Student Veterans of America, a national coalition of student veterans organization.

In 2009, Powers developed Operation Vets LLC to assist key stakeholders and organizations in developing strategies to support veterans in their transition after military service, and help them achieve their postsecondary education and career goals.