Earned Never Given.
Alabama Veteran came to be from the simple need to make a difference. Its Co-Founders hailed from both the US Army and Marine Corps. Co-Founder and current President, Al Castillo is a decorated Infantryman with a careers’ experience as a leader, warrior, and mentor who looked over our nation’s finest. He served in a variety of capacities as an Infantryman and is a Veteran of both the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Upon retiring from service Al settled in Hoover, Alabama. He will openly admit that until 2010, that he felt he had no purpose in life. His purpose arrived to him after receiving his second Purple Heart following a week long siege while deployed to Afghanistan that left him hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds. His purpose became to live a life of servitude.
Al is a tough, determined leader who saw the immediate need to contribute to our state’s veteran experience. Some would say he’s the real “world’s most interesting man”, maybe he is, but what we do know for sure is that his passion for connecting with and helping Veterans is unquestionable. In April of 2016 Al began reaching out to the community, sharing with them the importance of engagement and its impact in the lives of our Veterans. He explained that a sizable portion of our veterans were set to fail before even leaving the service, returning to communities in full swing that could not afford to cater to their reintegration pace. Something had to be done and Al spent the better part of a year working feverishly towards a solution. He devised a plan that could only be effective with the support of the community. That was when Alabama Veteran took form.
Within the first year following its date of inception Alabama Veteran had connected with over 1000 Veterans across Central Alabama and had resolved countless requests for assistance. The immediate return on creating open space for Veterans in the community was instant unification, resource networking, and job leads. Veterans were no longer disconnected and on their own. Alabama Veteran very humbly and with the financial support of Al and a few community members ramped up its mission, seeking out more Veterans, hosting community socials, and just this past year hosting three Strong Bond Retreats. We even launched well received Community Volunteer Programs and Health and Wellness Programs that promote confidence and community stewardship.
To this day our charge remains Everything Veteran. Our Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans are thriving, showcasing their skill, talent, and potential to make an impact on their communities at a higher level than before. That’s the power of engagement, that’s impact!