Historical Gift sent to the White House representing the 2M Veteran Women in the US.

AMOR Umbrella, a Military-Veteran and Women Empowerment Advocate and Support Agency, recently sent a historical gift to the White House on behalf of the 2 million+ veteran women in the US. 

This idea was proposed to us, by Makissa Lewis, a veteran woman and the founder of My Seester, during her appearance on our podcast Founder Time by AMOR umbrella, in episode #16. She suggested that one of our Heart Shaped umbrellas, (our signature product), should be signed by several Florida women veterans and then sent to the White House, given Florida’s standing as the 3rd state with one of the largest populations of women veterans.

As a veteran myself and the founder of AMOR umbrella, I was honored by the suggestion and the opportunity to honor our military-veteran community. I took on the challenge and embarked on a year-long journey to make it a reality. Throughout the year, we collaborated with various organizations to host events and gather the required signatures. One of these events was an afternoon retreat at the breathtaking Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, Florida, where we invited our fellow veterans to unwind and appreciate the stunning surroundings.

It was a privilege to undertake this mission, and I am grateful to everyone who contributed to its success. The signed Heart Shaped umbrella is a tribute to the brave and resilient women who have served our country, and it symbolizes our gratitude and support for them. We hope this gesture serves as a reminder that their sacrifices and contributions are deeply appreciated and will never be forgotten.

I took on the challenge and with that goal in mind, I embarked on a nearly year-long journey to make it happen.

Along the year, we  collaborated with several organizations to organize events to gather the signatures required.

One of those events was an afternoon retreat in beautiful Vizcaya Museum and Gardens here in Miami, FL where we invited our fellow veterans to take the time to relax and enjoy the beautiful settings.

Photos credit: Niurka Castaneda

In a recent event, we had the pleasure of collaborating with Fishing with America’s Finest, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans, to organize an afternoon retreat. Our mission was to take a group of veterans fishing in the beautiful Everglades.

During this collaboration, we had the privilege of filming a two-part episode that showcases the incredible work that Fishing with America’s Finest and its founder, CPT Neal Stark, do for our veterans and their families. The episode is now exclusively available for viewing on Legrity.tv.

Join us as we highlight the importance of giving back to those who have sacrificed so much for our country. Let’s show our veterans that their service is not forgotten and that we are grateful for their sacrifices.

We believe it is vital to represent every branch of our armed forces. Therefore, we made it a priority to personally meet with the courageous women who serve in the Reserve Guard.

By meeting these women face-to-face, we were able to gain a deeper understanding of their unique experiences and the challenges they face. We were inspired by their dedication and commitment to protecting our country.

Join us in recognizing the invaluable contributions of these brave women and all those who serve in our military. Let’s show our support and gratitude for their selfless service.

Photo credit: Niurka Castaneda

We are proud to have sent the Historical Thanksgiving Gift to the White House for our Vice President, created with the intention of representing our 2M+ women veterans in unity. This gift was the result of collaboration between Civilian Minorities and Veteran Small Owned Businesses, demonstrating the power of working together towards a common goal.

The Historical Thanksgiving Gift serves as a symbol of gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made by our women veterans. It is our hope that this gift will raise awareness and honor the contributions of all women who have served in the military.

Join us in recognizing the significant impact that women have had on our armed forces, and in celebrating their achievements. Together, we can show our support for all women veterans and ensure that their contributions are never forgotten.

We can now say:

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

The Historical Thanksgiving Gift was mailed roughly at 620 AM on Friday 19 Nov 2021.

Curious note: The post office were we mailed from is steps away from the original Boston Tea Party.

Address: 306 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210, USA

What was the gift?

The gift we sent to the White House was a beautifully elaborate mixed media art creation that took almost a full year to complete. This unique piece featured a red heart-shaped umbrella adorned with the signatures of several veteran women from across the country. What started as an entrepreneurial class project has now evolved into a movement that represents the rich cultural diversity of our women veterans from all military branches.

The creation of this gift was a labor of love, as we sought to honor and recognize the incredible sacrifices made by our women veterans. Each signature on the umbrella represents a powerful story of courage, strength, and resilience.

Join us in celebrating the stories and experiences of our women veterans. Let’s come together to show our appreciation and support for these incredible individuals who have served our country with distinction.

We are thrilled to have presented a unique and meaningful gift to honor our Vice-President’s South Asian heritage. The gift included a two-color, purple and gold multipurpose Tenugui Cloth, symbolizing the Purple Heart Award. This cloth serves as eco-friendly gift wrapping material, and can later be worn as a shawl, representing the versatility and resilience of our women veterans. The cloth was designed by the talented team of Nefertiti San Miguel & Etnia Fusion + Friends.

In addition to the Tenugui Cloth, we included a handmade black leather traveling case, designed by Niurka Castaneda & Nefertiti San Miguel, and crafted by Donald Dodson, a veteran and owner of Dodson Designs. This case represents the beauty and craftsmanship of veteran small owned businesses, and serves as a symbol of our gratitude for their contributions.

The gift included a two-part Origami Scrapbook, designed by the talented duo of Nefertiti San Miguel and Danigami. This unique and personalized greeting card reflects the creativity and dedication of our team in putting together this gift.

In addition to the scrapbook, we included a set of custom wooden military tags made by fellow veteran and former marine Frank Manteau, owner of Kamikaze Wood Werks. These tags symbolize the collaboration between our organizations, AMOR umbrella and Nefertiti San Miguel’s design company, and our shared commitment to supporting women veterans. We also included a lavender sachet to add a touch of soothing and comforting fragrance to the gift.

To provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the almost year-long process of creating this gift, we included a photo-journal, designed by Niurka Castaneda. This journal captures the dedication and hard work of our team, as well as the many meaningful moments and memories that went into creating this special gift.

Join us in celebrating the rich cultural diversity of our country and honoring the sacrifices of our women veterans. Together, let’s continue to support and empower all those who have served our country with distinction.

Introducing the Collaborators:

Without the guidance and support of numerous individuals, both anonymous and acknowledged, this initiative would not have been possible. We are deeply grateful for their invaluable contributions and cannot thank them enough. Rest assured, we will continually update this page with more information and photos to share the complete story with you.

To bring this extraordinary gift to fruition, I am thrilled to embark on a personal journey to Boston, MA to meet our new friends and collaborators, whose exceptional talents and expertise were vital to the success of this project. Our goal was to represent the rich diversity of our female veterans, and every aspect of the gift carries significant meaning.

With great care and attention to detail, we have created something truly special, and we are excited to share it with you. Together, we have made a meaningful difference in the lives of our veteran women, and we invite you to join us in celebrating their strength and sacrifice.

Meet the Veterans

Frank Manteau
Kamikaze Wood Werks

Andy Nelson, Fortis LLP

Niurka Castaneda,
AMOR umbrella Founder

Donal Dodson,
Dodson Design

Niurka is a veteran and the founder of AMOR Umbrella

Frank joined the United States Marine Corps right out of high school. As 7 1/2 years of service he entered back into the civilian sector where he has held many position from security, bounty hunter, auto parts sales, scare actor, haunted trail director, wed designer, heavy equipment shop service writer, wood shop owner, and many others.

He is the owner of both Kamikaze Wood Werks and Crayons Ready-to-Eat.

He is also in the treats business. 4 years ago he and his business partner Cassandra turned the joke of calling Marines Crayon Eater into a reality by bring the first colorable chocolate crayon to market. They created Crayons Ready-to-Eat.

 

There were so many parties involved in this effort that we turned to  the best legal advisor that we know and trust when comes to any legal matters, he is not only a brilliant Attorney at Fortis LLP, but a veteran as well.

 

He is a veteran and the owner of Dodson Designs where he crafts fine handmade leather goods with a creative flair. A life-long artisan who loves sharing his interests with others, he has explored many arts including jewelry, printmaking, pottery, woodworking, and painting, all of which he uses in his current work. He is most passionate about creating something that is not only artistic, interesting, and creative; but something that has an inherent practical use to the client. 

He is Donald has been a graphic artist, web designer, and high school history teacher. Donald is a combat veteran and served for 20 years. He started Dodson Designs in 2016 and never looked back. He lives near Lancaster, PA with his wife, and two dogs.

Meet Etnia Fusion + Friends

Danigami, Origamist

Vincent Liu, Artist

Nefertiti San Miguel, Etnia Fusion + Friend Founder

Nancy Griftin, Multimedia Artist

Nefertiti San Miguel is the embodiment of passion, a vivid advocate for the arts, neuroscience and mental health. As an international mixed-media artist, Ikebanist, performer, speaker, entrepreneur, published author and trailblazer, she raises eyebrows across numerous industries. With a reputation for rocking her eclectic style, Nefertiti is the founder of Etnia Fusion, a Boston based small enterprise dedicated to promoting and cultivating multiculturalism through educational programs, functional/wearable art and dance. 

She is the creator of the community project What Is Your Reality? and guide From Chaos To Calmness. She’s been featured on radio and television programs, web series, YouTube Channels, newspapers and magazines across the nation, and in recent years has been garnering international attention through podcasts from New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Since 2021, Nefertiti has been sharing her talents with AmorUmbrella, a Veterans Organization serving military women transitioning into civilian life and the business world. Her current endeavors include: teaching her method of art installations NM3 (Narrative Multi-Sensory Mixed Media Art) as therapeutic activity for stress management and 3D Vision Board for life achievers. Her personal time is spent unplugging from big city living, exploring the world, and getting naturally high on extreme sports.

 

Danigami is an award winning Origamist who has been practicing his craft for more than 15 years. He enjoys showing young and old alike that anything is possible through the Japanese art of paper-folding. He has been featured artist at several gallery exhibits but his real joy comes with selling his wares at local craft fairs and interacting with all walks of life. 
 
He currently resides in Winthrop (MA) with his husband, holds a full time job as 911 dispatcher at the Boston Police Station and since 2015 has been sharing his talents intermittently with Nefertiti San Miguel & Etnia Fusion + Friends. Danigami and Nefertiti not only have in common a lifetime dedication to cultivating different Nipponese art forms but also they bond in a special way over the same fondness for Halloween Season and appreciation of Asian aesthetics. 

Vincent Liu (also fondly known as Mr. Nutty in the Etnia Fusion world) is a vivid portraitist and videographer, pursuing a graduate degree in the field of Digital Media Design at Harvard University. Through his creativity and exploration of innovative concepts, he aims to transcend the artistic world with technological platforms. When not absorbed in the dynamics and intricacies of computer syntax Vincent enjoys conceptualizing ideas for short films and capturing the beauty of urban society in his sketchbook. He is the most recent addition to Etnia Fusion + Friends

As creative individuals Vincent and Nefertiti (Founder of Etnia Fusion + Friends) naturally connected immediately as a synergy of artistic energy flowed through them upon first encounter back in Spring of 2020. Ever since, the two have enjoyed their friendship immensely as they have shared some holidays together and frequently engage in exciting excursions throughout the city of Boston in search of decadent culinary experiences and spirit drinks. Those outings have been named: Destination Unknown…

Nancy Griffin is a consummate multimedia artist, a professional fashion and costume designer / creator and consultant for stage, screen, weddings, and special events. These talents grew out of her vocation as a performer and teacher of traditional Near / Middle Eastern and Hawaiian cultural dance. Since 2017 she has been a beloved member of Etnia Fusion + Friends. In 2022, she will be celebrating 40 years in the fashion and entertainment industry! 
 
She is a choreographer, writer, producer, and director of professional performances, for both group and solo format. She is a repeat performer in Canada, the East and West Coasts of the continental US, The Big Island of Hawai’i, and Oahu. She’s always in anticipation of new and wonderful opportunities in creation, education and sharing insights in her journeys!

The journey of the gift for the VP was just the beginning of our mission to honor and empower the 2M+ veteran women who have served our country – a remarkable 10% of our overall veteran population.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the many individuals, organizations, veterans, and supporters who joined forces to bring this vision to life. Your unwavering commitment and dedication have inspired us to launch a movement that celebrates and uplifts the stories and achievements of our female veterans.

As we reflect on the year-long effort invested in this project, we will share more pictures that capture the epic collaboration and tireless work that went into it. We invite you to join us in continuing to elevate the voices and contributions of our veteran women, as we work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

What our contributors said?

Mentions in the Press

Would you like to collaborate with us in putting together the next gift initiative representing our military families?