Van Hollen to Welcome Veteran, Advocate as Guest at State of the Union
Today Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen announced that he will welcome John Mendez as his guest at the 2012 State of the Union address. Mr. Mendez served in the 26th Expeditionary Marine Force in Bosnia and Somalia from 1991 – 1995. He currently does outreach for Bethesda Cares, a nonprofit organization that works to devise solutions to problems related to homelessness and poverty. Mr. Mendez focuses his efforts on finding housing for homeless veterans. He will join Congressman Van Hollen in the U.S. House of Representatives Chamber for the address.
“I’m so pleased that John Mendez will be my guest at this year’s State of the Union address. His service to our nation, both in the United States Marine Corps and as a tireless advocate for homeless veterans, has helped thousands of people in our community,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “He knows first-hand the effects of the struggling economy on our returning troops, and we both look forward to hearing the President’s plan for moving the economy forward.”
JOHN MENDEZ BIOGRAPHY
John Mendez resides in North Bethesda, MD and serves as the Outreach Specialist for Bethesda Cares, Inc. His outreach tactics, benefits assistance, and “housing first” advocacy have resulted in multiple permanent housing placements for some of the most long-term chronic homeless in Montgomery County, MD. One key component to Mr. Mendez’s success has been his strategy to coordinate housing placement with HUD-VASH housing vouchers for homeless veterans through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, DC. In 2011, he received a Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for successful outcomes. Last November, he served as the Organizer for the Bethesda Chapter of the 100K HOMES Campaign, a nationwide effort to prioritize housing and services for 100,000 medically-vulnerable street homeless across the United States.
Mr. Mendez received an honorable discharge at the rank of Sergeant from the United States Marine Corps for active duty service from 1991 – 1995. His military service included two deployments with the II Marine Expeditionary Forces, where he participated in multiple military operations, including Operation Restore Hope in Mogadishu, Somalia, as well as Operations Provide Promise and Deny Flight in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mr. Mendez received two meritorious promotions during his military service and was named “Outstanding Marine” of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit during the II Marine Expeditionary Forces deployment in 1993.