Project HOPE Team Responds to Local Health Needs from Hurricane Harvey

Millwood, VA, Aug. 31, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Project HOPE has deployed an expert team to respond to the health needs that are increasing by the hour in Texas as the state’s flood-damaged health system tries to cope with the impact of massive flooding that has inundated vast residential areas.Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force helicopters are scouring residential areas to rescue people who have been cut off by rising flood waters which have destroyed over 30,000 homes.  The Texas Department of State Health Services says that many hospitals around Houston and on the middle Texas coast are closed because of flooding. Surgeries have been cancelled and outpatient services and pharmacies have been shut down in some areas. Nearly 1,000 people, including some elderly patients trapped in flooded nursing homes, have been moved from medical facilities on 140 emergency missions. The knock-on impacts to local and state health services from the flooding are expected to endure for months to come.“Health is a critical issue at this stage and people have been and are going to be further affected in multiple ways from the storm.  Some have serious injuries, while others no longer have their medications for chronic conditions, and psychological trauma is and will continue to be highly prevalent.  The risk of waterborne diseases is also a major concern. As rescue efforts continue, our HOPE team of experts is in Texas now to help address the health needs of people in Houston and surrounding areas. ” said Dr. Tom Kenyon, CEO of Project HOPE.The HOPE team includes a physician with expertise in emergency response and two logistics experts to coordinate with authorities and partners on the ground to ensure that additional HOPE medical volunteers can be deployed where they are needed.HOPE is also supporting Team Rubicon, a disaster response organization that pairs the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders and medical professionals.  Team Rubicon’s experts are involved in rescue and recovery efforts. Project HOPE deployed medical volunteers in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in collaboration with the U.S. Navy effort following the historic disaster that struck the Gulf Coast. HOPE specializes in building long-term capacity after the initial shock of manmade or natural disasters has passed and has left a rich legacy of health infrastructure around the world, helping to establish hospitals and clinics, train health care professionals and assess needs in places as diverse as Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean. About Project HOPEFounded in 1958, Project HOPE is a leader in global health development and emergency relief programs. An international nonprofit organization, we save lives and improve health, especially among women and children. We accomplish our mission by improving the knowledge, abilities and tools of the health workforce to deliver high quality health services to communities in need. With programs in over 30 countries, we work at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges including infectious and chronic diseases, disasters and health crises, maternal, neonatal and child health and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. Learn more at www.projecthope.org and follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg Geraldine Carroll
Project HOPE
540-257-3746
gcarroll@projecthope.org

Iraqi Government Announces Liberation of Tal Afar

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Aug. 31, 2017 — The global coalition to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria congratulates Prime Minister Al-Abadi and all Iraqi forces on their stunning victory today in Tal Afar and northern Ninewah province, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said today.

Under the command of the Iraqi prime minister, all branches of the Iraqi forces took part in the liberation of Tal Afar — the 9th, 15th and 16th Iraqi Army Divisions, the Counter Terrorism Service, the Federal Police and Emergency Response Division, Iraqi local police, the Popular Mobilization Forces and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s peshmerga, officials said.

Dangerous Work Remains

While the city and critical infrastructure are under Iraqi control, dangerous work remains to completely remove explosive devices, identify ISIS fighters in hiding and eliminate any remaining ISIS holdouts so they do not threaten the security of Tal Afar in the future, officials said.

“Following their historic liberation of Mosul and now a swift and decisive victory in Tal Afar, the [Iraqis] have shown, once again, they are an increasingly capable force that can protect the Iraqi people, defeat ISIS within Iraq and secure the country’s borders,” Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, said in a release

“This is yet another significant achievement for [Iraq’s forces] and the government and people of Iraq,” Townsend added.

The coalition contributes to the defeat of ISIS by providing Iraqi forces with equipment, training, intelligence, precision fire support and military advice to leaders, officials said. By working by, with, and through the government of Iraq and the Iraqi forces, the coalition has enabled the Iraqis to reclaim 90 percent of their land from ISIS.

The coalition will continue to support the government of Iraq and Iraqi security forces as they fight on to defeat ISIS in western Anbar province and Huwayjah, officials said.

Telkonet Hosts Partner Week at New Wisconsin Headquarters

/EINPresswire.com/ — WAUKESHA, WI–(Marketwired – August 31, 2017) – Telkonet, Inc. (OTCQB: TKOI), a leader in intelligent automation and occupancy-based energy management technology, last week hosted their inaugural Partner Week conference.

Partner Week was created to address the need for increased collaboration and knowledge between Telkonet’s channel partners, integration companies, and Telkonet’s own technology leaders and team members.

“We had a number of conversations at the HITEC conference, and it was clear from everyone that there was a real desire to put this program together,” said Jason Tienor, Telkonet President and Chief Executive Officer. “We saw truly fantastic collaboration, learning, and idea sharing at this inaugural Partner Week, and we look forward to delivering an even better program next year.”

Partner Week consisted of learning sessions by Telkonet team members, including CEO Jason Tienor, Engineering & Product Development, Customer Service, Sales, and Marketing; educational discussions from a number of Telkonet integration partners; and evening entertainment that included a Milwaukee River boat cruise and tour at the Harley-Davidson Museum®.

“Partner week was a great experience and opportunity to meet all of the staff at Telkonet. The opportunity to have Resellers, Vendors and Staff together proved to an invaluable knowledge transfer. Thanks for the great hospitality and we are looking forward to many Partner Weeks to come,” said Dominick Calciano, SmartCon Solutions Principal.

Partner Week will take place annually.

ABOUT TELKONET

Telkonet, Inc. (OTCQB: TKOI) provides innovative intelligent automation platforms at the forefront of the Internet of Things (IoT) space. Helping commercial audiences better manage operational costs, the Company’s EcoSmart intelligent automation platform is supported by a full-suite of IoT-connected devices that provide in-depth energy usage information and analysis, allowing building operators to reduce energy expenses. Vertical markets that benefit from EcoSmart products include hospitality, education, military, government, healthcare and multiple dwelling housing. Telkonet was founded in 1977 and is based in Waukesha, WI. For more information, visit www.telkonet.com.

Semblant Opens New Customer Innovation Center in Shenzhen, China

/EINPresswire.com/ — SCOTTS VALLEY, CA–(Marketwired – Aug 31, 2017) – Semblant, the global leader in innovating and deploying protective nanomaterials for the electronics industry, has opened a dedicated Customer Innovation Center in Shenzhen, China. The opening of the new facility follows the adoption of Semblant’s MobileShield® waterproofing technology by multiple leading smartphone manufacturers in China, and the growth of additional vertical markets in Asia.

“We are excited to unveil our new Customer Innovation Center,” stated Simon McElrea, CEO of Semblant. “Shenzhen is the world’s epicenter for mobile phone manufacturing, both from an OEM and contract manufacturing perspective. With six factory instalments completed in China to date, and many more planned, we have established this facility to demonstrate all aspects of our high-volume solution to current and future customers.”

The Shenzhen center provides existing and prospective customers with unique insight into Semblant’s nanotechnology capabilities. The facility features full high-volume manufacturing lines, including state-of-the-art metrology, quality, safety, handling and maintenance systems, to enable engineering and operations managers to gain full hands-on experience. The site also provides product qualification and pilot-run services for a number of devices, in addition to providing turnkey partnership support and development services qualification to all of Semblant’s key customers.

In concert, the company has hired William Aw as Vice President of Asia Sales. Prior to joining Semblant, Aw led the sales organization in China, and Global Account organization for Greater Asia at Indium Corporation, a leading global supplier of advanced materials to the electronics, semiconductor and thin-film markets. He has over 30 years’ experience building businesses and sales organizations in materials and consumer electronics companies in the greater Asian market.

“I am delighted to join Semblant at a time of unprecedented expansion for the company,” stated Aw. “The consumer electronics waterproofing industry is at an inflection point in growth, and Semblant has the most proven material set and high-volume deployment model to service the market. We see tremendous opportunity for new products and new markets within China, and in the broader Asian region.”

About Semblant

Semblant is the global leader in innovating and deploying protective nanomaterials in the electronics industry. The company’s unique nanoshield nanotechnology solutions, backed by a broad range of fundamental patents, have been designed specifically to protect electronic devices from liquid ingress, corrosion and many other forms of damage. This saves the industry billions of dollars each year in return and repair costs. Semblant’s nanocoatings are also environmentally friendly and release no hazardous materials in the manufacturing process. The company provides solutions to the mobile phone, wearable, enterprise computing, network infrastructure, medical device, automotive and space/military/aerospace markets, as well as the printed circuit board and semiconductor/semiconductor packaging industries.

For more information, visit us at www.semblant.com, on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

Rosina Food Products Inc. Unveils New Packaging for Rosina Meatball Product Portfolio

/EINPresswire.com/ — BUFFALO, NY–(Marketwired – August 31, 2017) – Rosina Food Products, Inc., a family owned, industry-leading producer of frozen meatballs, pasta, and entrees, sold in food, mass merchandisers, military commissaries, and home delivery, today unveiled new packaging across its full line of Rosina brand meatball products.

A fresher, brighter, bolder new package elevates the Rosina brand while prominently featuring enticing product photos. Key product style/flavor information — Italian Style, Homestyle, Swedish Style, etc. — is color coded and more prominently displayed, as is product size and count information, making it easier for consumers to make their product selection. In addition, the packaging features an “Oven-Baked Goodness” burst to promote a healthier alternative to the fried selections of other meatball brands.

Prior to launching the new Rosina brand meatball products, the company conducted extensive sensory testing against a competitive product set at a leading research university where consumers selected Rosina’s Italian and Homestyle as the top meatballs in their category.

“We’re confident the new packaging better reflects the quality of the Rosina brand,” said Chris Tirone, Rosina Food Products, Director of Marketing. “Our new packaging design will clearly identify our brand and make it easier for consumers to select their favorite styles and flavors in the freezer section at retail. Data from our extensive research confirmed that our new product photography on packaging more accurately reflects Rosina’s delicious, high quality meatballs.”

The website call-out on the front of the new packaging directs consumers to www.rosinarecipes.com — a Rosina branded recipe site that provides consumers with quick access to hundreds of easy-to-prepare recipes for appetizers and meals featuring Rosina meatballs, as well as fast, delicious meal ideas from Rosina’s Celentano pasta brand. The site also helps consumers locate retail stores where they can purchase Rosina meatballs. Plus, consumers can find freebies, special offers and more on the rosinarecipes.com site.

“Based on research and consumer insights, the introduction of our new packaging will improve consumer engagement with our products and our brand,” said Tom Finn, Rosina Food Products, Vice-President of Retail Sales & Marketing. “The new packaging will also benefit our retail partners, who understand and appreciate that better packaging can help increase sales. We expect our new Rosina meatball packaging upgrade to do just that,” Finn continued.

The new Rosina meatball packaging is expected to start appearing in retail freezers by September 1, 2017. For more information contact the Rosina Customer Service Department at 888.767.4621 or visit Rosina online at www.rosina.com.

About Rosina Foods, Inc. – A Real Italian Family Honoring A Real Italian Tradition

The proud tradition of Rosina began in 1963 with a small store front sausage business in Buffalo, NY, servicing neighborhood meat markets, supermarkets and restaurants. In 1981, a new larger facility was purchased which allowed Rosina to expand into new markets and make their meatball products available across the country.

In 2000, Rosina acquired Celentano Brothers of Verona, NJ — a company with a similar history and rich in its family tradition. With the Celentano product portfolio Rosina was able to expand into frozen Italian entrées, filled pasta and eggplant products. In July 2006, Rosina announced the acquisition of two more frozen pasta brands — Italian Village and Floresta — adding numerous flavors and formats to its existing pasta portfolios serving both retail and food service markets.

Rosina’s growth continued in 2010 as the company expanded Internationally with the creation of an International Division. December 2011 brought even more growth with the acquisition of San Rallo Pasta Company. The San Rallo Pasta product line features specialty ravioli and eggplant available specifically to our foodservice channel.

Today you’ll find the brands of Rosina Foods in supermarkets, supercenters, wholesale clubs, military commissaries, cafeterias, and restaurants throughout North America and around the world. Rosina is also an ingredient in many other food manufacturers’ products such as soup, pizza, lasagna, and more.

Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/8/30/11G144811/Images/Rosina_26oz_family_lineup-48f1d82b15e5a57ebdaa1cf197c7986f.jpg

Face of Defense: Air Force Couple Takes Journey to Citizenship

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss., Aug. 31, 2017 — Air Force Staff Sgt. Luis Chiriboga and Airman 1st Class Estefania Briceno Ron travelled far from their former home in Ecuador and today they’re both airmen, U.S. citizens and married to each other.

Chiriboga is now an engineering technician with the 14th Civil Engineer Squadron here and Briceno Ron is a personnel and administration technician assigned to the 14th Medical Support Squadron here.

Chiriboga’s Journey

Chiriboga’s road to citizenship began much earlier than his wife’s. A native of Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, he arrived in Long Island, New York, with his parents and three brothers in 2003 when he was 15.

“A major part of why we moved is because [my] parents thought we were going to have a better future here than [in Ecuador],” Chiriboga said. He added that Ecuador was a very hard place for people to find jobs even with an advanced education and degree.

Moving to New York came with its challenges for Chiriboga and his family. His family had to overcome a language barrier and adjust to American culture, as well as find jobs to support themselves. His mom found a job cleaning houses with his aunt, who was already living in New York. His dad, who was a surgeon in Ecuador, found jobs sporadically and eventually started practicing natural medicine.

Chiriboga said he was surprised how young people were when they began working in the U.S. He said it seemed normal for someone to have a job at age 16, where in Ecuador, a 16-year-old would be focused on school.

To help pay for bills and rent Chiriboga and his three brothers all found jobs at a restaurant about a year after arriving in the United States.

“I was helping my mom and dad pay for the house; we were all trying to pitch in and pay for everything,” he said.

After graduating high school, Chiriboga earned his bachelor’s degree in digital electronics from Suffolk Community College, New York. Constantly going to work and school was eventually too much for him, he said, and he didn’t have enough time to focus on himself.

“I didn’t want to go to school anymore … by that time I was kind of working full-time and going to school full-time, trying to help my parents,” he said.

Chiriboga said knew he was destined to join the Air Force.

“I always wanted to join the Air Force since I was a kid,” he said as he recalled the countless times he passed a big mural of the Ecuadorian air force as he rode the bus on his way to school in Ecuador.

Enlisting in 2008, Chiriboga went on to receive his U.S. citizenship while stationed at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. In fall 2009, he ventured to St. Louis by himself, where he and many others took the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.

“I was pretty excited,” he said.

Marriage

While home on leave in 2010, Chiriboga attended a Christmas party with his parents. Briceno Ron and her family were also there. Although both were originally from Ecuador, they had not known each other previously.

The two began dating, and Chiriboga said their common life objectives and her goal-oriented drive is what attracted him to her.

They married in March 2011. Briceno Ron joined Chiriboga at Scott Air Force Base and the two would move to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, before moving to Columbus Air Force Base several months ago.

Briceno Ron’s Journey

Briceno Ron and her family moved to Long Island from Guayaquil, Ecuador, when she was 12.

Growing up, Briceno Ron said her family lived in Ecuador during a time when they changed from Ecuadorian currency to the U.S. dollar. Young at the time, Briceno Ron said, “When you are a kid you don’t notice stuff, but my mom said it was pretty rough.”

After arriving in New York, Briceno Ron also said the language barrier and American culture proved to be obstacles, just like during her husband’s transition.

After attending a primarily Hispanic middle school, she said the transition to high school was more difficult because not many people spoke Spanish.

“It was really hard to communicate with people … I was kind of like thrown in there to learn,” she said.

The big-city landscape was also an adjustment. Briceno Ron said the part of Ecuador in which she grew up wasn’t a big city and Long Island was a tremendous change for her.

“It was a different culture, I was used to little, tiny Ecuador,” she said.

After high school, Briceno Ron earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology. But school proved to be costly and she said it was time to look at another approach to help further her education, because she wants to earn her doctorate in clinical psychology.

That’s where the Air Force came in.

“I wanted to join for school, education; I wanted a way to pay for my doctorate,” she said.

Her husband, who at the time had eight years of service, was able to prepare Briceno Ron and ensure she was ready for the voyage ahead of her.

“He did a pretty good job of telling me, ‘Here’s what to do,’” she said.

Briceno Ron started basic military training in July 2016, and less than six months later she was in Memphis, Tennessee, accompanied by her husband, giving her Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.

She said giving her oath was a time filled with “mixed emotions, because I am the first one in my family to be a U.S. citizen. It [felt] good.”

Briceno Ron said her decision to join the Air force more than a year ago has opened many doors.

“I’m definitely grateful and I’m definitely thankful for the opportunities,” she said, “Like my citizenship, and by being able to do more than just being a resident.”

Briceno Ron said she’s now looking to earn her doctorate degree and to become an Air Force commissioned officer, something she said she couldn’t do before obtaining her citizenship.

Kratos Receives $2.2 Million in Contract Awards for High Performance Jet Unmanned Aerial Aircraft and Related Services

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 31, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq:KTOS), a leading National Security Solutions provider, announced today that its Unmanned Systems Division (USD) has recently received $2.2 million in contract awards for one of its newest high performance jet powered unmanned aerial drone aircraft and related services.  This new unmanned drone system is scheduled to be delivered within the next 12 months.  Kratos USD is a leading provider of high performance jet powered unmanned aerial drone systems for tactical and target threat emulation requirements.  Work under these contract awards will be performed at a secure Kratos manufacturing facility, and at customer locations.  Due to competitive, customer related and other considerations, no additional information will be provided related to these contract awards.Steve Fendley, President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, said, “Kratos is focused on rapidly designing, demonstrating, and fielding the highest performance unmanned aerial drone systems in the world, and we are very proud to be working with this important customer on this next generation UAS.”About Kratos Defense & Security Solutions
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:KTOS) develops transformative, affordable technology for the Department of Defense and commercial customers. Kratos is changing the way breakthrough technology for these industries are brought to market through proactive research and a streamlined development process. Kratos specializes in unmanned systems, satellite communications, cyber security/warfare, microwave electronics, missile defense, training and combat systems. For more information go to www.kratosdefense.com.
Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of Kratos and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. All such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and Kratos undertakes no obligation to update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Although Kratos believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements involve many risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from what may be expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements. For a further discussion of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of Kratos in general, see the risk disclosures in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Kratos for the year ended December 25, 2016, and in subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings made with the SEC by Kratos.
Press Contact:
Yolanda White
858-812-7302 Direct

Investor Information:
877-934-4687
investor@kratosdefense.com

II-VI Incorporated Introduces Small Form-Factor Dual Interleaver

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 31, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — II‐VI Incorporated (NASDAQ:IIVI), a leading provider of solutions for next generation optical networks today announced the introduction of its small form-factor dual interleaver platform for high bit rate transmission and emerging applications in optical access networks.
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/799fd6af-8b77-4231-9306-d0bbbd45e0c7Next generation broadband access networks require compact equipment to fit in small spaces in the outside plant. II-VI’s small 37 x 39 x 12 mm dual interleavers are uniquely designed to enable network operators to increase capacity by deploying dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology in locations where space is at a premium such as in remote nodes or base stations.“By building on our heritage as a pioneer in interleaver technology and by leveraging our strong core competency in micro optics, we achieved a small and cost-effective product to serve new high growth market opportunities including high bit rate transmission and wireless access,” said Dr. Sanjai Parthasarathi, Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Optical Communications Group. “The very compact size and cost effectiveness was achieved by optimizing a vertically integrated design that includes optical materials, coatings, components and assemblies.”II-VI’s interleavers enable DWDM networks to increase transmission capacity efficiently by doubling the number of channels within the same wavelength range. The small form-factor dual Interleaver platform features two interleavers, one for multiplexing and another for de-multiplexing DWDM wavelengths, both in a single compact package.  The product leverages II-VI’s advanced Gires-Tournois etalon technology that features a wide channel passband and high adjacent channel isolation for high bit rate and cascaded architectures. Its design is optimized to complement II-VI’s high performance wavelength add/drop thin-film filter technology. II-VI’s small form-factor dual interleavers are available now for evaluation in sample quantities.II-VI at ECOC 2017, Sep. 18-20, 2017, Booth #252II-VI will showcase new products at ECOC 2017 that are driven by advances in our materials and technology platforms.  The product showcase will include differentiated subsystems solutions, highly compact optical amplifier solutions tailored to enable high bit-rate DWDM transceivers, novel embedded monitoring solutions for transport networks, as well as key devices and sub-assemblies for datacenter transceivers.About II-VI IncorporatedII-VI Incorporated, a global leader in engineered materials and opto-electronic components is a vertically integrated manufacturing company that develops innovative products for diversified applications in the industrial, optical communications, military, life sciences, semiconductor equipment, and consumer markets. Headquartered in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, with research and development, manufacturing, sales, service, and distribution facilities worldwide, the Company produces a wide variety of application-specific photonic and electronic materials and components, and deploys them in various forms including integrated with advanced software to enable our customers. For more information, visit us at www.ii-vi.com.CONTACT:
Mark Lourie
Dir. Corporate Communications
mark.lourie@ii-vi.com
www.ii-vi.com

Face of Defense: Air Force Couple Takes Journey to Citizenship

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss., Aug. 31, 2017 — Air Force Staff Sgt. Luis Chiriboga and Airman 1st Class Estefania Briceno Ron travelled far from their former home in Ecuador and today they’re both airmen, U.S. citizens and married to each other.

Chiriboga is now an engineering technician with the 14th Civil Engineer Squadron here and Briceno Ron is a personnel and administration technician assigned to the 14th Medical Support Squadron here.

Chiriboga’s Journey

Chiriboga’s road to citizenship began much earlier than his wife’s. A native of Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, he arrived in Long Island, New York, with his parents and three brothers in 2003 when he was 15.

“A major part of why we moved is because [my] parents thought we were going to have a better future here than [in Ecuador],” Chiriboga said. He added that Ecuador was a very hard place for people to find jobs even with an advanced education and degree.

Moving to New York came with its challenges for Chiriboga and his family. His family had to overcome a language barrier and adjust to American culture, as well as find jobs to support themselves. His mom found a job cleaning houses with his aunt, who was already living in New York. His dad, who was a surgeon in Ecuador, found jobs sporadically and eventually started practicing natural medicine.

Chiriboga said he was surprised how young people were when they began working in the U.S. He said it seemed normal for someone to have a job at age 16, where in Ecuador, a 16-year-old would be focused on school.

To help pay for bills and rent Chiriboga and his three brothers all found jobs at a restaurant about a year after arriving in the United States.

“I was helping my mom and dad pay for the house; we were all trying to pitch in and pay for everything,” he said.

After graduating high school, Chiriboga earned his bachelor’s degree in digital electronics from Suffolk Community College, New York. Constantly going to work and school was eventually too much for him, he said, and he didn’t have enough time to focus on himself.

“I didn’t want to go to school anymore … by that time I was kind of working full-time and going to school full-time, trying to help my parents,” he said.

Chiriboga said knew he was destined to join the Air Force.

“I always wanted to join the Air Force since I was a kid,” he said as he recalled the countless times he passed a big mural of the Ecuadorian air force as he rode the bus on his way to school in Ecuador.

Enlisting in 2008, Chiriboga went on to receive his U.S. citizenship while stationed at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. In fall 2009, he ventured to St. Louis by himself, where he and many others took the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.

“I was pretty excited,” he said.

Marriage

While home on leave in 2010, Chiriboga attended a Christmas party with his parents. Briceno Ron and her family were also there. Although both were originally from Ecuador, they had not known each other previously.

The two began dating, and Chiriboga said their common life objectives and her goal-oriented drive is what attracted him to her.

They married in March 2011. Briceno Ron joined Chiriboga at Scott Air Force Base and the two would move to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, before moving to Columbus Air Force Base several months ago.

Briceno Ron’s Journey

Briceno Ron and her family moved to Long Island from Guayaquil, Ecuador, when she was 12.

Growing up, Briceno Ron said her family lived in Ecuador during a time when they changed from Ecuadorian currency to the U.S. dollar. Young at the time, Briceno Ron said, “When you are a kid you don’t notice stuff, but my mom said it was pretty rough.”

After arriving in New York, Briceno Ron also said the language barrier and American culture proved to be obstacles, just like during her husband’s transition.

After attending a primarily Hispanic middle school, she said the transition to high school was more difficult because not many people spoke Spanish.

“It was really hard to communicate with people … I was kind of like thrown in there to learn,” she said.

The big-city landscape was also an adjustment. Briceno Ron said the part of Ecuador in which she grew up wasn’t a big city and Long Island was a tremendous change for her.

“It was a different culture, I was used to little, tiny Ecuador,” she said.

After high school, Briceno Ron earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology. But school proved to be costly and she said it was time to look at another approach to help further her education, because she wants to earn her doctorate in clinical psychology.

That’s where the Air Force came in.

“I wanted to join for school, education; I wanted a way to pay for my doctorate,” she said.

Her husband, who at the time had eight years of service, was able to prepare Briceno Ron and ensure she was ready for the voyage ahead of her.

“He did a pretty good job of telling me, ‘Here’s what to do,’” she said.

Briceno Ron started basic military training in July 2016, and less than six months later she was in Memphis, Tennessee, accompanied by her husband, giving her Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.

She said giving her oath was a time filled with “mixed emotions, because I am the first one in my family to be a U.S. citizen. It [felt] good.”

Briceno Ron said her decision to join the Air force more than a year ago has opened many doors.

“I’m definitely grateful and I’m definitely thankful for the opportunities,” she said, “Like my citizenship, and by being able to do more than just being a resident.”

Briceno Ron said she’s now looking to earn her doctorate degree and to become an Air Force commissioned officer, something she said she couldn’t do before obtaining her citizenship.

Remarks by the Vice President to the West Virginia Chamber Summit

White Sulphur Springs Resort White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

6:59 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hello, West Virginia!  (Applause.) 

Dr. Wright, Governor Justice, Senator Manchin, Senator Capito, Congressman Jenkins, Congressman McKinley, Congressman Mooney, Chairman Graney, Chairman Jordan, distinguished guests, it is my great honor to be here this evening with the leading voice of business in the Mountain State, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.  (Applause.) 

And I bring greetings from a friend of mine and a friend of West Virginia, a businessman who’s fighting every day for a boundless American future, the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.) 

Before I get started, allow me to take a moment to address what I know is on everyone’s heart tonight, the unprecedented natural disaster of Hurricane Harvey and the ongoing response of federal, state, and local officials, and countless volunteers who are involved in rescue and recovery efforts even as we speak.

The American people and the world have been transfixed with images of destruction and suffering and the resilience of the people of Texas and Louisiana as Hurricane Harvey has battered that state — now Louisiana — over the past five days. 

As the President said in Missouri earlier today, “this storm continues to pose a danger to life and property,” and we urge everyone, all across that region to put safety first and continue to listen to local officials and emergency managers before venturing out into this still-dangerous storm.

The President, my family, and our entire administration have been deeply moved by the suffering of so many.  And even before the storm made landfall, President Trump took decisive action to bring the full resources of the federal government to support state and local first responders. 

The President convened the Cabinet twice over the weekend to ensure our administration is effectively partnering with state and local officials. 

At this very moment, there are more than 10,800 federal employees working hand-in-hand with state and local law enforcement to help the people of Texas and Louisiana.

The Coast Guard and the Navy are conducting search-and-rescue operations even as we speak.  And with more than 60 Department of Defense aircraft, along with aircraft of Texas National Guard, they are rescuing Americans in harm’s way.

Urban search-and-rescue taskforces are being coordinated by FEMA, and we’ve shipped more than 2.9 million meals, more than 2.8 million liters of water, and there’s more help on the way. 

President Trump and I commend Governor Greg Abbott for his incredible leadership, and the efforts of all state and local officials in Texas and Louisiana.  (Applause.) 

The state emergency management, the Texas National Guard, and first responders have been amazing.  And as the President said, their courage and devotion has saved countless lives, and it represents the best of America.  (Applause.) 

As all of you know, President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Texas just yesterday to oversee our rescue and recovery efforts, to stand with the people of Texas, and to assure them that our administration will continue to provide them all with the support that they need. 

The President actually asked me and my wife to travel to Texas tomorrow with the same heartfelt message.  To Texas and Louisiana we say:  We are with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you every single day to restore, recover, and rebuild.  (Applause.)   

Even in this challenging time, the people of Texas are proving yet again that the brightest lights oftentimes come the darkest moments.  In the midst of this historic storm, the people of Texas have responded with their very best.  This could well be Texas’s finest hour.

The road to recovery will be long and difficult.  But as the President said, we will endure, we will overcome. 

But we all need to do our part to help our fellow Americans get back on their feet.

When Congress reconvenes next week, the President will be calling on our nation’s lawmakers, including all of those gathered here, to take immediate action to pass additional funding for federal disaster assistance for families and businesses affected by this storm.  (Applause.) 

The President and I ask for your support and the support of the members of the House and Senate who are here as we move this legislation forward.

Second, we encourage each of you and all of your businesses to look for ways to support the efforts of organizations like Red Cross, Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, and so other private organizations that, as we stand here, are providing food and water and blankets and other basic provisions now and in the weeks and months ahead.

The needs are great, but we know the generosity of the American people will be greater still.  (Applause.) 

And lastly, the President and I would ask all of you gathered here to take a moment in the days ahead to pray — pray for the families who have suffered loss and the loss of a loved one; pray for the first responders, who at this very hour are working to save lives; pray for the federal, state, and local officials who are on the ground; and pray for countless volunteers, who we’ve all seen come alongside neighbors and even strangers in this hour of need.

With the leadership of our President, and the dedication of all the state and local officials, with the courage of our first responders, and with faith in Him who calms the storm, I say with confidence, the good and strong people of Texas and Louisiana will come through this terrible tragedy.  And as the President said, the Gulf Coast and America itself will be “bigger, better, and stronger than ever before.”  (Applause.) 

So thank you. 

It’ll be a long way back for those who’ve suffered much.  It will require our ongoing commitment of public resources — those that I described — and the generosity of businesses and the American people.  But beyond that, the President and I know that the best way to ensure the long-term recovery of America’s fourth-largest city, and the Gulf Coast region, and our entire country is robust economic growth, which is what brings me here tonight.

To spur that growth, earlier today in Missouri, President Trump proposed what he called an “American model” that will empower our country to in his words “succeed and grow together — as one team, with one shared sense of purpose, and one glorious sense of destiny.” 

It’s great to be back in the Mountain State, addressing the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.  This is an organization that knows a lot about growth and a lot about jobs and opportunities. 

For more than 80 years, this vital organization has brought together companies large and small to in your words “make West Virginia a better place to do business” and “enhance the quality of life” for your fellow citizens.  And you all have been doing just that. 

Today, you represent more than 5,000 job creators in all 55 counties, accounting for more than half of West Virginia’s workforce.   So why don’t you give yourselves a round of applause for the difference that the businesses and men and women here make in the lives of West Virginians every day?  (Applause.) 

And I got to tell you from day one of this administration, our President has been focused right where all of you are focused every day — on job creation and opportunities.  And really, the results speak for themselves.  President Trump has signed more laws to cut through federal red tape than any President in American history and has already saved businesses up to $18 billion a year in costs.  (Applause.) 

     In fact, the President ordered every agency in Washington, D.C. to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any new federal red tape on job creators across America.  (Applause.) 

To fuel a great revival of American industry, President Trump has been unleashing American energy, which is something West Virginia knows an awful lot about. 

The President already approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, he’s rolled back the so-called Clean Power Plan, and under President Donald Trump, the war on coal is over!  (Applause.) 

The great news is weekly coal production in the Mountain State has jumped 19 percent over last year alone.  And as the people of West Virginia heard the President say earlier this month, in his words, “We are building our future with American labor and hands and aluminum and steel.”  And what else?  Coal.  (Applause.) 

President Trump’s leadership is already making a remarkable difference.  Optimism is sweeping all across this country.  Businesses large and small as I stand here today have created more than 1 million new jobs since January 1 of this year.  (Applause.) 

Unemployment hasn’t been this low in 16 year, and more Americans are going to work than ever before in our nation’s history.  For the last eight years, the American economy averaged growth of only 1.8 percent.  But in case you didn’t hear about it, just this morning, the Department of Commerce announced that growth in the second quarter reached 3 percent for the first time in years.  (Applause.) 

Men and women, I’m here to tell you President Trump is keeping his promise to make America prosperous again, and under this President’s leadership, America is back.  (Applause.) 

Now, if we can keep up the momentum, the results are truly going to be remarkable.  Think about it, with just a 3 percent growth rate, we’ll create more than 12 million new jobs, nearly $10 trillion in economic activity.  And over the next decade, the average income for American families will rise by nearly $7,000 a year. 

And the President sent me here tonight, to make the case to the people of West Virginia on how we can achieve and sustain that kind of economic growth. 

The President’s strong conviction is — and I know it’s shared by many people in this room — the time has come to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms.  (Applause.) 

Today, President Trump proposed what will, in fact, be the single biggest tax cut in American history.  Speaking in Springfield, Missouri, President Trump called on the Congress in his words to “fundamentally reform our tax code for the first time in more than 30 years” by passing a historic tax cut that again, as he said, is “pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker, and pro-American.”  (Applause.) 

The truth is that cutting taxes is the single-most important thing we can do to create jobs, raise wages, and restore prosperity for the American people.  And as the President said today, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do just that.

It’s a time-honored truth:  When you cut taxes, you launch a new era of soaring incomes, more jobs, and a thriving middle class.  John F. Kennedy proved it.  Ronald Reagan proved it.  And President Donald Trump will prove it once again.  (Applause.) 

The unbroken truth of economic history is that tax cuts spark growth, and the bigger the cut, the bigger the growth.

Right now, our Internal Revenue Code unfortunately is stuck in the past.  Under our taxation system we have taxes that burden American families and actually hinder economic growth.

You know, there’s an old joke that the tax code is 10 times the length of the Bible with none of the good news.  (Laughter.)  And it’s true.  It’s really no laughing matter.

The truth is the tax code is too complex.  Our taxes are too high.  And our tax system has been hurting the American people for too long.  Today, taxpayers spend over 6 billion hours every year dealing writing their taxes.  About 94 percent of Americans, and more than 90 percent of small businesses have to pay somebody to prepare their taxes for them because it’s frankly impossible to do it on your own.  Folks, you shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer or accountant to figure out how much tax you owe the government.  (Applause.) 

All told, complying with the tax code costs our economy $262 billion every single year and nearly $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in America.  Our tax code is literally robbing the wealth of our families and future generations.

And while the tax code has been growing in size, tax rates have been rising, too — especially on job creators, the heart of this economy.  As you well know, American businesses now face a staggering tax rate of 39 percent, the third-highest in the industrialized world — and roughly 60 percent higher, on average, than our biggest competitors around the planet.  As the President said today, when it comes to our tax code, “America remains stuck in the past.”

China, Japan, Germany, Canada, Mexico — every major developed country has a lower business tax rate than the United States of America.  Well, that just shouldn’t be.

We’re one of the few countries in the world that actually taxes every dollar our companies earn overseas, putting our businesses at a tremendous disadvantage.

President Calvin Coolidge actually wisely observed, “the power to tax is the power to destroy,”   And today, our system of taxation is literally destroying the dreams of too many Americans.  

Our tax code makes it harder for companies to hire, to give raises, to invest in their employees’ success.

Our tax code actually kills jobs and stifles the entrepreneurship and the very work ethic that will move our country forward.  Our tax code causes American companies to close factories and build them elsewhere around the world.

And our tax code has given foreign companies an enormous competitive edge over U.S. job creators.  And dozens of businesses, including many iconic names, have literally fled the United States in favor of other countries where the burden of taxation isn’t so heavy.

In short, America’s tax code destroys our wealth, it destroys our jobs, and it destroys the enterprising spirit of the American people.  And that is ultimately the true source of our prosperity. 

Bottom line:  It’s time for a change.  And under the President Donald Trump’s leadership, we’re going to bring that change.  (Applause.)  We’re going to put more money in the American people’s pockets.  We’re going to put our job creators back on the road to success when President Donald Trump signs historic tax relief that will once again put America First.

Our tax-cut plan will bring back our jobs, bring back our wealth, and bring back our dreams.  It’s based on four principles that every American should be able to get behind.

First, as the President announced today, we need a tax code “that’s simple, fair, and easy to understand.” 

Second, we need a tax code that makes America competitive again and creates more jobs and gives working families the raise they deserve.

Third, we need to cut taxes across the board for middle-class families. 

And finally, we need to cut taxes so businesses can bring back the trillions of dollars that are trapped overseas to avoid unfair taxes and bring them here to create jobs in America.  (Applause.) 

That’s our President’s vision, and here’s how we’re going to bring this vision to life.  The American people always know how to spend their money better than some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., so we’re going to start out by cutting marginal rates to keep working families — give them the opportunity to keep more of their hard-earned dollars.

We’re going to simplify the tax code so that working Americans can file their taxes by themselves on a single sheet of paper.  (Applause.)  

We’re going to cut out the hand-outs, the carve-outs, the loopholes that benefit the wealthy and the well-connected, and make the tax code flatter and fairer for everyone.

And when it comes to businesses, President Trump is going to be fighting to cut the corporate tax rate in America so American companies can compete against anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world.  (Applause.) 

And we’ll also make sure that small businesses get the same benefits and tax relief that major corporations experience.  (Applause.) 

And we’re going to cut taxes so that the more than $2.6 trillion locked overseas can come home — to spur an avalanche of investment that will benefit every American for years to come.

In short, President Trump will empower American companies and workers to compete on a level playing field with anyone, anywhere in the world.  And as we know, when the field is level, American workers always win.  (Applause.) 

My friends, we all know what tax cuts will mean for American workers.  Tax cuts mean more jobs.  Tax cuts mean a raise in income for American workers.  Tax cuts will mean an economy where anything is possible, and where anyone can achieve the American Dream.

My friends, President Trump’s tax-cut plan will usher in an unprecedented era of growth and prosperity for all of the American people.  It’s a big task, and it’ll take all of us to get the job done.  And we’re counting on West Virginia’s support. 

We need all of the businesses represented here to speak out, to talk to your employees, tell your lawmakers how much you need these tax cuts.  Your voice is vitally important, and you need to be more outspoken than ever before.

It’s time to do what’s right, to put the American people first.  And today, President Trump in addition to calling on all of you, made a point in his words to call “on all members of Congress — Democrat, Republican, or independent — to “put the partisan posturing behind us, and come together as Americans to create the 21st century tax code that our people deserve.”  (Applause.) 

President Trump and I need the support of West Virginia’s leaders in the Congress.  So to both your senators and all of your congressmen, I say America needs this.  West Virginia needs this. 

And let me say to Shelley and especially to Joe, the President and the people of the Mountain State are counting on you to deliver tax relief.  (Applause.) 

Let’s decide tonight that we’re going to get tax cuts done for West Virginia and for every American, and we’re going to get it done together.

And with the help of all these West Virginia businesses, and the support of all your members of Congress gathered here, and with the leadership of President Donald Trump, I know we will pass historic tax cuts this year, and we will deliver real economic growth that will be lasting for the American people.  (Applause.) 

The truth is that tax cuts are the linchpin to making the strongest economy in the world even stronger still.  But as I close, let me also say that a growing economy is absolutely essential at such a time as this.  Tonight, wherever you call home, the hearts of every American are in Texas.  I know that.  Soon, the rains will subside, the floods will recede, the sun will once again break through the clouds above. 

And when that day comes, the people of Texas and Louisiana, who’ve suffered so much, will do as Americans have always done — they’ll rebuild their lives, their homes, their communities, and their great cities.

The American people will be with them in this task, working shoulder-to-shoulder, hand-in-hand.  But the surest path to the greatest recovery and the strongest renewal for Texas, for Louisiana, for all of America is a growing economy.

That’s why President Trump is going to keep fighting every day to unleash a new era of growth and jobs and opportunity and prosperity, so we can meet our obligations and our aspirations; and so that when we, as a nation, look back at this storm and at these turbulent times, we will remember not what was swept away, but we will remember what we built in its wake together.  (Applause.)  

We have much work to do — to rebuild those towns and cities of Texas and Louisiana, to renew our communities all across this country, to restore our belief that America’s best days are within our grasp. 

And as we work, and as we labor, I believe we would do well to remember that timeless wisdom, wisdom to which Americans have repaired all throughout our history.  As we rebuild in the wake of this great storm, as we bring our nation together in these too-divided times, let us remember that, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”  (Applause.) 

So let’s work.  And let’s pray and let’s have faith.  Thank you for the opportunity to address you tonight.  As I close my remarks, I do so with confidence and with faith that with your help and support, with the strength and resilience of the people all across this country, and with the leadership of President Donald Trump, and with God’s help, we will make America prosperous again.  We will make America proud again.  And to borrow a phrase, we will Make America Great Again.  (Applause.) 

Thank you very much.  God bless West Virginia and God bless the United States of America.

END 7:20 P.M. EDT