Sentinels of Freedom

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General Dynamics is a proud supporter of the Sentinels of Freedom

Sentinels of Freedom (SOF) is a national nonprofit organization that provides severely wounded post-9/11 veterans with comprehensive personal support and financial assistance as they complete their higher education and achieve success in their post-military careers.

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Sentinels of Freedom Supports Wounded Veterans Like...

Jhonnatan Chinchilla, Gunny Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps

Immigrant, Veteran, Cancer Survivor, Single Father, and now a College Graduate.

Sentinel Jhonnatan “Jhonny” Chinchilla immigrated to the United States from Guatemala when he was six years old. He enlisted in the Marine Corps following his high school graduation. After four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, the severe back injuries sustained during his active duty resulted in his honorable discharge. His struggles, however, were far from over.

After being diagnosed with testicular cancer, this single father fought the battle of his life. He fought for himself and for his daughter.

Once in remission, he decided to return to school with Sentinels of Freedom standing proudly by his side. Thanks to the Newman’s Own Foundation Grant, SOF was able to help Jhonny achieve his dream. The housing and living subsidies and financial and personal mentoring provided to Jhonny enabled him to focus on his schoolwork and his family.

During his time at the University of San Diego (USD), he served as the President of the Veterans Student Organization and later as the Finance Chair of the USD Associated Student Body. Volunteering and giving back to his fellow veterans and students comes naturally to Jhonny.

Jhonny graduated from USD with an Accounting degree and a minor in Supply Chain Management. Jhonny was honored with multiple academic awards, but by far the most meaningful was a special award created just for him by USD: The Jhonnatan Chinchilla Perseverance Award.

This first-generation college graduate continued his education at USD in their master’s accounting program, with a letter of recommendation written by the university’s president himself. Jhonny graduated with his Master of Science in Taxation in 2019 where he then worked for several years at EY in global compliance and reporting before accepting a position with Deloitte in their blockchain and cryptocurrency department where he currently works.

Jhonnatan Chinchilla Sentinels of Freedom

Erin McLoughlin, Technical Sergeant, U.S. Air Force

Erin enlisted in the U.S. Air Force directly following high school. Upon completion of basic training and graduation from medical laboratory technician school, she deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq four times in support of Special Operations Forces as an aircrew instructor.

During flight testing, Erin suffered a rare form of decompression illness that permanently damaged her nervous system. At the time of her injury, Erin was only a few courses away from completing her bachelor’s degree in healthcare management. Not one to give up, she applied to the Sentinels of Freedom Program (SOF), determined to finish her degree. SOF was able to ease Erin’s financial burdens by helping with her car payments and tuition costs. She was able to focus on her studies and graduate with her bachelor’s degree from Trident University, as well as completing the Human Exploitation Rescue Operative (HERO) Child-Rescue Corps program; a year-long unpaid internship. SOF also assisted Erin with her resume, and she was subsequently hired as a computer forensic analyst with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

Since her graduation, Erin relocated from Arizona to Colorado and created a new home near the mountains. She accepted a position with Highmark Company as a Technical Analyst where she is now able to work from home and spend time with her two dogs, Spock and Leo.

Erin McLoughlin Sentinels of Freedom

Joseph Latham, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps

Joseph Latham grew up in a very patriotic town with flags on every light pole. He enlisted in the Marines following in the footsteps of his uncles who served and grandfather who served in WWII. Joseph only planned on serving for 4 years, but after the events of September 11th, he continued to serve for a total of 15 years. Those years consisted of a lot of ups and downs but are ultimately etched in his mind as his greatest accomplishment in life. He does not view his service as a sacrifice but as an honor. Joseph completed two deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan, as well as three Military Expeditionary Unit deployments throughout various countries in the Pacific Ocean. In 2004 he was injured by an IED explosion during combat operations causing a concussion from the blast and receiving shrapnel to his legs, hands, and hearing loss that required hearing aids.

Upon his discharge in 2016, Joseph struggled with building new relationships. The military issued friends and peers, but in the civilian world, he had to learn to be open to his community and seek out the similarities such as being parents, patriots, or enjoying similar activities. Joseph completed his master’s degree in July 2018 and was accepted to a clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology graduating in June 2022. While pursuing school, graduated Sentinel, Deverson Lochard, told him about the program he was using to help him through his schooling – Sentinels of Freedom, and encouraged Joseph to apply.

Since his acceptance to Sentinels of Freedom, Joseph has been connected to ACP, who paired him with a mentor that has made an impactful difference in his journey. They remain close and continue the mentoring relationship. He was also provided with networking opportunities, connected to financial counseling, and provided a monthly stipend to help offset the cost of living while going to school full time. During biannual reviews with his case manager, Joseph has stated the assistance from SOF has been unmeasurable and a huge help for him and his family while he pursues his dream of becoming a licensed clinical psychologist working with veterans by assisting them through addiction, trauma, and interpersonal relationships.

Before graduating, Joseph was selected for a position in the Advanced Mental Health Interprofessional Education Fellowship Program with the Department of Veterans Affairs. This was a huge accomplishment for Joseph and is a testimony of his hard work and dedication to his education. Achieving this goal is a distinct honor as this is a very sought-out and competitive internship. Following graduation, Joseph accepted a position as the Director of the Veteran’s Service Center at Irvine Valley College. He recently accepted a new position as a licensed mental health provider at the VA in Long Beach where the direct work with veterans has been extremely rewarding. Joseph plans to remain in Long Beach, CA with his wife Talia and their 4 kids as they continue to grow within their community and family.

Joseph Latham Sentinels of Freedom

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