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Target Circle 2021

Project: Return To Work Inc. (R2W) chosen as a nonprofit for Target Circle

Project: Return To Work Inc. (R2W) has been chosen as a nonprofit for Target Circle.

We’re participating in the Target Circle program in Southwest Florida this year! You can vote for us and help direct Target’s giving to benefit our nonprofit. For full program details and restrictions visit Target Circle. target.com/circle

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Fran Nixon Award 2018

Octogenarian earns lifetime achievement award

ENGLEWOOD — Jenna Lonsdale didn’t let her disability define her. She proudly worked at Nielsen Market Research Company in Venice. She did great there until she lost her job when the office closed.

The 28-year-old Englewood resident was one of 396 workers laid off in April. In five years, she had only missed one day of work. She was told to file for unemployment. There were several setbacks for Lonsdale. She doesn’t drive and there’s no public transportation from her neighborhood to areas where she could apply for work at area pet stores, day care centers or libraries.

“The problem is unemployment tells you to apply for five jobs a week,” she said. “It’s very hard to do when you don’t drive.”

Another challenge with her disability is she fidgets when she’s nervous and believes it sometimes doesn’t make for a good first impression. A little frustrated, Lonsdale needed help but wasn’t sure where to turn.

Her life changed after learning about the Return To Work program in Punta Gorda. It helps job seekers engage with employers. It also matches client interests, abilities and aptitudes that helps get them a long-lasting job they enjoy and find rewarding.

It’s where she met Fran Nixon, the Missions Operations Manager, and her team. They worked to help Lonsdale connect with local employers and transition back to work.

In time, Lonsdale had the training she needed to go to work at a preschool a short distance from her home.

Lonsdale recently shared her testimony as an honored guest at a special awards ceremony for Nixon at Boca Royale Golf & Country Club in Englewood.

Nixon was bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award signed by President Donald Trump.

The Charlotte County resident, who is in her 80s, was lauded for volunteering more than 1,000 hours in a year and given a gold medal and 4,000 accumulative hours.

Nixon, who helped her own son Rob Brazell, found Return To Work 20 years ago in Colorado, is considered a “tough as nails, but always a lady.”

Nixon expanded the program in Florida and managed the contract with Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation agency. She also provided services to newly enabled job seekers, a job that caused her to travel statewide to meet them and their families and the employers. She periodically attends White House teleconferences, advocates the Return To Work program throughout the region and recruits new applicants, works with mentors and other volunteers in the Service Learning Internship mission.

“Part of Mom’s daily task is to pray for Return To Work clients and all of the people that it touches,” Brazell said.

Brazell told the crowd his mother exceeded the requirements for the President’s Volunteer Service award. She was given an official pin, medallion and a framed certificate. The award is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service and administered through the Points of Light organization. It celebrates the impact people can make in their community and the world.

Nixon credits her success in helping touch the lives of 8,500 applicants and others throughout the year to God. She is a member of the First Church of Christ Scientists in Englewood and the mother church in Boston.

“We have a very diverse organization with no limits to make a difference for abled to disabled clients,” she said. “We work with a hodgepodge of people who will fit in regardless of their background. It takes a nation to help.”

Nixon said she had to learn the software for the system. With the help of Brazell, she said, it made a difference in advancing their program and even more people find jobs.

Nixon shared several success stories. She also thanked Nikki D’Agostino, the client services specialist at Return to Work for her drive in positive outcomes and lasting placements for local employees. She also thanked her son and close friends who never let her down. She said local companies including Weiler Engineering Corp. in Punta Gorda and several others have been instrumental in helping provide meaningful jobs to Return to Work clients.

Shortly after meeting Hosea Cannon, a pastor and chaplain at the Denver Sheriff’s Department, Nixon joked she loved him and wanted to adopt him as her own. Cannon flew in to give an inspirational speech at Nixon’s ceremony.

Cannon reinforced Nixon’s lifelong choices in helping others. He explained there’s simple keys to success in life.

“God is in control,” he said. “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Appreciate your family and learn to love them. Forgive immediately your sister, mother, brother. Focus on what’s good. Be kind.Volunteer often. Look down on others to only help them up. Love your neighbors as you love yourself.”

For more information about Nixon’s program, visit www.return2work.org.

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A Mother’s Love

Non-profit organization needs your donation to keep its mission alive.

“Thank you for your service,” the phrase civilians often use when they encounter military personnel, seems inadequate considering the sacrifices these warriors have made.

Please give lasting thanks by making a donation to Project: Return to Work Inc. (R2W). This national organization honors returning veterans by matching them with employers who need their skills. R2W’s unique approach slashes the job-search timeframe from months or even longer to just minutes compared to services provided by government agencies. Since 1998, R2W has helped thousands of returning vets, military spouses and disabled civilians find jobs commensurate with their skills, aptitudes, and interests.

Founded by former aerospace engineer Rob Brazell, his mother, Fran Nixon, and lifetime mentor, Malcolm D. Crawford, R2W was initially conceived to help people with disabilities. Brazell, who had recently recovered from a terminal illness, decided that “instead of building rockets and satellites I would start R2W to help myself and other disabled people transition back to employment and self-worth.”

Combining Nixon’s human resources and government background and Brazell’s technology prowess, the mother-son team launched the software-driven job search organization 17 years ago and gained a successful track record placing civilians. Brazell’s father, Ray, a WWII Marine, Uncle Floyd and Uncle Dale, a WWII Army Veteran, then helped expand R2W’s mission to include veterans—especially wounded warriors—and their spouses. Nixon, a state-certified vocational rehabilitation counselor in Florida, procured and fulfilled government contracts while Brazell, accompanied by the late Sargent Douglas “Bulldog” Dellinger, gave motivational speeches at military bases, prompting hundreds of injured soldiers to sign up for R2W’s innovative services.

“R2W’s achievements would have been impossible without the devotion of my mother, who not only nursed me back to health during my illness and helped me launch a model business but also came out of retirement to help save it years later”, Brazell says.

Four years ago Nixon, emerged from retirement again when a car accident left Brazell with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder—injuries identical to those of hundreds of the veterans R2W had served. Nixon has covered many of Brazell’s former duties since his accident, and this proud son credits his mother with keeping R2W afloat during his ongoing rehabilitation. On a personal note, Nixon purchased a puppy for her dog-loving son this Christmas, and she hopes to persuade the breeder to donate a puppy to a returning vet.

“Today R2W is thriving with fewer resources thanks to donated technology tools and bright young volunteers who understand how to use them,” says Brazell. “Without new funds, however, we’re in danger of losing grant money that is crucial to our mission. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation this holiday season.”


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In Loving Memory of Malcolm Douglas Crawford

(August 29, 1920 – May 6, 2014)

I am deeply saddened to inform our readers that Malcolm Douglas Crawford, R2W’s Treasurer and my lifelong mentor, passed away on May 6 after a long illness.

It is difficult for me to put into words the profound influence Malcolm Crawford has had upon my life, my career and the founding of R2W. The best place to start is with a brief summary of this extraordinary man’s background and achievements.

Malcolm Crawford was born in Nashville and later studied Economics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Inspired by the geopolitical events of the era, he enrolled in the newly established Tufts-Harvard Fletcher School of Diplomacy, from which he received an MA in 1944. He then went to Yale Law School, from which he graduated with honors in 1947. He subsequently served as a consular official at the U.S. Embassies in London and Paris, assisting with postwar reconstruction efforts. He spent most of his professional life working as a securities and corporate attorney in Denver, and worked well into his late 80s.

When I was ready to make the leap from “Big Corporation USA” to my own company in the 1980s, Malcolm helped me form my aeronautics business. He taught me everything I know about private stock sales, as well as how to negotiate with multiple partners all vying for control. His generous guidance and counsel added greatly to the success of my aerospace business prior to my being diagnosed with a terminal illness. When I started to get better, Malcolm helped form, manage and operate R2W—including helping to recruit a blue-ribbon board and win our initial government contract. He continued to open doors and make difficult situations effortless for us over the years, never asking for anything in return.

Malcolm’s mentorship transcended private and public business endeavors. We talked about The New Deal, Adolf Hitler, and the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II. We talked about analogies in today’s world and how he might do things differently. He had a wonderfully reserved sense of humor—smiles and chuckles as opposed to big belly laughs. He was one of America’s greatest statesmen and philanthropists and I was extremely fortunate to have known him.

Malcolm is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, Sheila Eigeman Crawford, and his five children and seven grandchildren. Please join me in remembering Malcolm Crawford for his gift of friendship, his generosity, kindness and intelligence.

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Just Plain Very Hard – Flash Floods – Boulder, CO

So hard to get the brain around how the recovery will happen since these scenes are repeated over such a broad area along the Front Range (plus the downstream impact as the waters combine on the plains). I’m attaching two photos — one of the church where I was married and where my daughter and I were involved for all of her life and a couple more years before that for me (about 14 years). I’m also attaching a photo of how it looks now. Descriptions sound like soil from the Fourmile Canyon Fire’s burn area came down bringing black water (not “blackwater”), cars, telephone poles, large boulders … and gouged the area to six feet below the former road bed.

I used to live in Boulder Canyon — my own house was not in the 100-year-floodplain but so many were. As you know, rebuilding can’t begin until there is a road to deliver supplies.

It just hurts to think about and I’m not even dealing with any loss. My daughter lives on Capitol Hill and I live next to Highlands (HIGH lands) so … we’re fine since we didn’t have runoff or canyon flashfloods to experience.

I know you’ll like how people will pull together but it’s also a tense time when absolutely everyone is grieving. Very different from when, say, one person’s house burns and everyone chips in to help their situation.

There are also degrees of “survivor guilt” where someone feels they can’t talk about their sadness because they “only” lost the VIEW from their home and someone else lost their HOME. In every case, each person needs to find someone who can listen but often other victims are the only ones who really understand and yet they are coping with their own loss. Recovery is prolonged because of this and it’s just plain very hard.

R2W Headquarters Hit Hard.
Please volunteer online or donate now
100% helps R2W client
15 years in Boulder

Stay tuned for prayer circles and heartening National Guard rescuers near R2W’s offices.

Volunteer For Boulder Emergency

The roads are closed. Still, volunteers from other states are keeping R2W’s operations running. Clients can still login and connect with employers. We’re still conducting counseling services that are more relevant than ever.

We are focusing on helping evacuees transition out of shelters and replacing computer equipment to get key counselors back into the field. We are using R2W’s buddy system to help each other with shelter, food, groovy clothing, a good listener, and a place to call home while figuring out the next step. Recruiting volunteers for the cleanup.

Your help matters more than ever right now. Please GET INVOLVED now.