John Nonnemaker, Director at Veterans Without Orders, served 24 years in the Civil Affairs branch of the military focused on disaster response and humanitarian assistance. Years of working with other NGOs and government organizations inspired him to co-found Veterans Without Orders, where veterans are empowered to continue serving and working. Their new mission is to combat the world water crisis.
“For me, I’ve noticed a lot of organizations use band-aid type solutions to treat issues with instant gratification.
If you peel the onion back on a lot of these issues, many are caused by dirty water, and there aren’t a ton of NGOs focusing on that.”
John Nonnemaker, Director at Veterans Without Orders.
This mindset has set Veterans Without Orders apart. One of the values the veteran-led, non-profit, clean water organization brings is understanding that there can be systemic implications to providing something new to other cultures. This philosophy is why Veterans Without Orders specifically works with women to provide sustainable access to clean drinking water.
Training women how to use water filters is a subtle way to empower them and enable them to become leaders and teachers in their communities. The team then asks the women supplied with the water filter to make a promise to share the system with at least two other families, increasing the likelihood the filters will be accepted and utilized.
“There are a lot of organizations out there doing wonderful things, and I hope everyone takes the time to get to know those organizations and support those causes that are making a difference,”
Veterans Without Orders relies on the Iridium Extreme® PTT devices for communication during their missions. Every time they travel, the team pre-programs their phones with numbers for the local U.S. Embassy, and military response in case of an emergency. Being connected in places without terrestrial coverage helps make the team and their families back home feel more secure knowing emergency communication is in the palm of their hands.
Most significantly, Iridium Extreme PTT has enabled the Veterans Without Orders team to expand their work and stay in touch during split operations. Having reliable communication allows them to expand outreach within the communities they serve by dividing their operations between villages to cover more ground. This helps them serve more communities in one trip.