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Embrace's Blog

Friday, 04 September 2015 19:09

Embrace to Complete 9th Home Remodel of 100% Disabled Navy Veteran

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Contact: Celina Ner

                                                            Embrace Public Relations

(619) 857-7326

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Embrace’s Healing Our Heroes’ Homes Program To Begin Remodeling the Home of 100% Disabled Navy Veteran Mark Shumaker

Dixieline, North Shore Construction, SDG&E & QBE Foundation, Among Sponsors


SAN DIEGO – (September 1, 2015) – Embrace’s Healing Our Heroes’ Homes program will carry out the 9th home remodel after the Labor Day Weekend. The remodel will occur from Tuesday, September 8 through Saturday, September 12 from 8:30am-3:30pm each day. College students and Jack In The Box Brand Ambassadors will comprise the 50-100 volunteers needed to complete the remodel. The mission will take place at the Lemon Grove, CA home of retired, 100% disabled Navy 2nd Class Petty Officer, who served in the Persian Gulf war and completed 5 deployments during his military career.  Shumaker, now 42 years old, has a 100% disability rating from the V.A., suffers with bipolar disorder, and considers his only family his service dog named Mac. 


M Shumaker

Petty Officer and H3 beneficiary Mark Shumaker receiving an award for excellent service to the Navy 


The mission for Shumaker’s home includes electrical wiring upgrade, window replacement for energy conservation, landscaping, the demolition and replacement of concrete, new wooden fencing around the property for security and privacy, new security door, canine door installation, plumbing upgrade, bathroom vanity remodel.  Labor and materials are estimated to be approximately $20,000.


“Mark is a unique and deserving beneficiary on a number of levels,” said Sean Sheppard, Founder of Embrace.  He is a veteran who has served this country selflessly and has incurred disabilities as a result of that service that can and can’t be seen by the naked eye.  We are honored to provide him with a greater sense of security and safety as a result of this remodel.”


A native of Waldorf, Maryland, Petty Officer Shumaker attended Linton Hall Military School in Bristow, Virginia. Upon graduation, he attended Oak Hill, a prestigious Southern Baptist boarding school before moving to Florida to join the Navy.  Petty Officer Shumaker served on the USS Nicholson DD982 and the USS Kitty Hawk Carrier CV-63.  His duties included boat operations, radar and information technology.   He was awarded a total of 16 medals including several for excellent service to the Navy.  His physical and mental disabilities as a result of his service have made life extremely challenging. He regularly attends DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) meetings.


With a focus to restore the homes of disabled veteran homeowners, H3 falls in line with Embrace’s mission to mobilize college student volunteers and community members to serve less fortunate members of civilian and veteran communities. 


Sponsors for this mission include the San Diego Gas & Electric, QBE Foundation, Jack In The Box Foundation, Dixieline, North Shore Construction Co., National Electrical Contractors Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 569, The Mike Whitmarsh Foundation, Scott Heyden Landscaping, Greenfield Fencing and the Rob Benzon Foundation.


All Embrace programs aim to create a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic service learning experience for college students, connect young adults to veteran community members in need, raise awareness of low income, disabled veterans, and increase the value and efficient use of their homes. 


For more information on Embrace and the H3 program, visit


About Embrace


Founded in 2000, Embrace uses community service to bring diverse groups of people together to bring about social wellness in our society. The organization focuses on the utilization of college students and recent graduates to develop their leadership qualities and remedy community problems such as health disparities and homelessness on a volunteer basis. Founder Sean Sheppard's ultimate goal is to bring about legislation that makes community service mandatory for all college students that attend state funded institutions of higher education.


For more information on Embrace, visit


For more information about Sheppard and his life, visit



Wednesday, 25 February 2015 20:14

San Diego State University Hosts 2015 Ex 4 Vets V


San Diego State University to Host Ex 4 Vets V

Associated Students and Student Veteran Organization link up with Embrace to deliver  ‘One SDSU’ event that benefits veterans

SAN DIEGO – (Wednesday, February 25, 2015) – For the fifth year in a row, San Diego college students, members of the military community (active duty and veterans) and the general public will come together on the San Diego State University (SDSU) campus to workout for charity at Embrace’s 5th Annual Ex 4 Vets (Exercising to Support Our Veterans) event on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 11AM.  The turbo kickboxing and boot camp workout raises funds for Embrace’s two programs that assist disabled and homeless veterans: Healing Our Heroes’ Homes and Embrace The Streets respectively.

Embrace, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that brings diverse groups of people together to serve veterans and civilians in need, will once again partner with fitness guru Cindy Whitmarsh and her fitness team to deliver the event, which has previously occurred on the U.S.S. Midway in each of the past 4 years.  SDSU Associated Students and the SDSU Student Veteran Organization were key in ensuring that this year’s event will take place at the new Conrad Prebys Student Union Center at SDSU.

"As many as 1,000 veterans attend SDSU, and Ex 4 Vets is an exciting vehicle to bring a heightened awareness of student veterans to the SDSU campus culture," said SDSU Student Veteran Organization President, Erika Armenta.  “The folks at the U.S.S. Midway have been amazing hosts over the past 4 years, “ said Embrace Founder, Sean Sheppard, “but as an SDSU alumnus, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to bring such a unifying event, in the name of our veterans, to a place that I call home.”  

                                                                       To donate to Embrace click here.

The Cindy Whitmarsh fitness team will deliver the 1-Hour long workout.  Participants who raise pledge money for their workout will be supporting Embrace’s programs that serve veterans. Participants that form work out teams representing student, military or religious organizations keep 50% of all net pledge funds raised.  Over the past 3 years, the event has raised over $33,000 for the aforementioned groups.

SDSU Associated Students President Jonathan Cole had this to say about the event: “Ex 4 Vets is an opportunity for our students to give back and support the men and women who have risked their lives for our freedom. As a One SDSU community event, Ex 4 Vets will empower the communities of our campus to come together in order to rally behind this important cause. We will not only serve as advocates for the veteran population on campus, but in the Greater San Diego community as well.”

Prizes for the top fundraising individuals and teams include 40” flat screen televisions, hopper passes to Disneyland/California Adventure, $400 gift cards to Walmart and Best Buy and dinner at the posh University Club at Symphony Towers in San Diego.  Greeks will once again compete for the coveted Ex 4 Vets Cup, which goes to the top fundraising sorority and fraternity.

San Diego State Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Aaron Bruce, had this to add; “I’ve watched diverse groups of Aztecs come together to serve the community through Embrace for over 5 years now.  To bring an event like Ex 4 Vets to Montezuma Mesa, that benefits both veterans and Aztecs, just makes sense.”

A partial list of Ex 4 Vets V sponsors and partners include Alliance Healthcare Foundation, SDG&E, Military Home Loans, Mike Whitmarsh Foundation, Jack In The Box Foundation, SDSU Student Veterans Organization, SDSU Associated Students and the SDSU Office of Diversity.   

Ex 4 Vets V is scheduled for Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 11AM. For more information, visit

About Embrace

Founded in 2000, Embrace uses community service to bring diverse groups of people together to bring about social wellness in our society. The organization focuses on the utilization of college students and recent graduates to develop their leadership qualities and remedy community problems such as health disparities and homelessness on a volunteer basis. Founder Sean Sheppard's ultimate goal is to bring about legislation that makes community service mandatory for all college students that attend state funded institutions of higher education.

For more information on Embrace, visit

For more information about Sheppard and his life, visit



Monday, 20 October 2014 19:49

Get to know Embrace Intern Samara Batoog



Samara Batoog is a third year student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing at San Diego State University. Samara is involved in a variety of organizations on campus such as Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women and Sports Business Initiative. In her spare time Samara enjoys being adventurous, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. Samara values giving back to the community and having compassion for and helping others. 


Monday, 22 September 2014 22:19

Meet Embrace's New Intern, SDSU Student Keaton Lash

Keaton Lash is a second year student pursuing a  Bachelor of Science degree in Finance with a minor in Spanish. Keaton is involved in a variety of different organizations such as Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Sport Business Initiative and the International Business Society. Of these three organizations Keaton is involved in he currently sits as the Chief Financial Officer of the Sports Business Initiative Organization and was the past Vice President of Philanthropy of the International Business Society. Keaton's off-campus involvement entails serving the homeless in the San Diego area. Keaton is passionate about leadership and strives every day to make an impact in the growth and strength of the San Diego community.


Thursday, 28 August 2014 21:19

Sean Sheppard selected by CA State Senate and Assembly as one of several "California State Heroes"

Sean Sheppard selected by CA State Senate and Assembly as one of several "California State Heroes"


Embrace Founder Sean Sheppard has been selected by the California Senate and Assembly to speak at a press conference held at the California State Capitol on September 2, 2014.  The legislation's measure is the first in the nation to recognize September 2014 and each following September California Heroes Month, which honors all those who give selflessly to improve or save a life and/or the planet (which includes but not limited to military/veterans, first responders, teachers community workers, etc).

Senator Joel Anderson, the sponsor of the legislation, will speak first, followed by Ms. Daisy Tate, the legislation's initiator and co-author, followed by selected California Heroes, which include Sean.

Friday, 30 May 2014 23:10

Join us as we heal the home of Staff Sergeant Patrick Ozborn


Embrace's Healing Our Heroes' Homes program will continue its eighth home restoration next week. The mission will take place at the San Diego home of retired, paralyzed Marine Staff Sergeant Patrick Ozborn, who served in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  Ozborn, now 36 years old, is paralyzed from the sternum down and suffers from T5 spinal cord injury due to a motorcycle accident.


The mission for Ozborn's home includes the demolition and extension of his driveway, concrete ADA compliant wheel chair ramps at the entrance and side of the home, brick pavers around the home, new fencing, new front door with widened ADA compliant entrance, kitchen remodel and master bathroom vanity remodel.  Labor and materials are estimated to be approximately $30,000.  Funds raised from Embrace's Annual Ex 4 Vets IV event ( that occurred last month will pay for incurred costs.  


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE Monday, June 2 & Tuesday, June 3.  Morning and afternoon shifts are available.  If you would like to register or would like more information please visit  for more information. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014 22:46

EMBRACE PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: Alliance Healthcare Foundation Board Trustee, Jeffrey Willmann

Jeffrey Willmann is President and CEO of Opprime’ Investments and Insurance Services, a local boutique consulting, investment, and insurance brokerage specializing in strategic relationships, business development, marketing, and insurance management services for their clients.  Jeffrey’s work includes; mergers and acquisitions, and clients and sales acquisitions.  He is currently on the board of various foundations including the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation and Alliance Healthcare Foundation, and is a shareholder & officer at multiple health care businesses.  In the past he’s held positions such as CFO, Director, VP, and CEO at several well-known organizations. 


Mr. Willmann is passionate about caring for the underserved, homeless, and foster children.  His passion for serving led him to feeding 500 homeless people monthly since 2009; as well as being a 2010 LEAD San Diego Graduate.  Jeffrey was the founder of Urban Angels ( that serves over 100,000 meals per year.  Mr. Willmann was interviewed by KUSI in October 2013 for the work Urban Angels does in the community.


Jeffrey Willmann was born in 1969, in Fargo, North Dakota.  He holds a Masters degree from Arizona State University in Health Service Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Arizona.  He moved to San Diego in 1996 and enjoys spending time with his fiancé and 1-year-old daughter.  Since having his daughter he’s learned parenting works a lot like community service and giving back.  Contribution and giving back is a must.  It's the only way to get real joy or fulfillment…”


Monday, 14 April 2014 18:26


Dan Huslin founded The Dark Horse Group in 2009 with the goal of providing quality marketing services to Southern California businesses.  Drawing upon his 20+ years of professional experience in marketing, research, sales and public relations he and his team are proud to offer award-winning ideas and creative, combined with quantifiable results, to their clients.  Last year, The Dark Horse Group debuted on the San Diego Business Journals Book of Lists Top Advertising Agencies and is one of San Diego’s fastest growing agencies.


Huslin is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University where he majored in English with an emphasis in Writing.  He enjoys cooking, reading, golfing and taking his family and pet Weimaraner to the beach.

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