AVER-GLA President to Lead Pledge at County Board of Supervisors Meeting

AVER-GLA President, Apolonio E. Muñoz III

AVER-GLA President, Apolonio E. Muñoz III

On 11 June 2013, as part of LA Pride Celebrations, the LA County Dept of Military and Veterans Affairs has asked, Apolonio E. Muñoz III, President, Greater Los Angeles Chapter, American Veterans for Equal Rights(AVER) to lead the Pledge of Allegiance for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Meeting. Apolonio will be attending the meeting as a special guest of Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, Los Angeles County 5th Supervisory  District. At every Regular Board of Supervisors Meeting, a Veteran, and a minister from the community  is selected to open the meeting by leading the Pledge of Allegiance and giving the benediction, these individuals are also recognized by the Board, and every week it rotates between the various Supervisory Districts.

Apolonio is the first openly Gay OIF Veteran to participate in the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Meeting to date, and is honored to represent the 5th District. He was asked to participate in the meeting due to the extensive work he has been doing with LGBT Veterans in and around the Greater Los Angeles Region. Apolonio also currently serves on the AVER National Board as the National Membership Chair, the Southern California Veterans Employment Committee as the Public Relations Officer, the San Gabriel Valley Veterans Employment Committee as the 2nd Vice-Chair and the Public Relations Officer, The Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as a Fully Professed Sister/Board Member, the 211 LA County Veteran Advisory Committee, and the San Gabriel Valley Homeless Veteran Stand Down. Apolonio is currently enrolled at University of Phoenix in Pasadena, where he is studying for his Bachelors in Human Services (thanks to the Post 9/11 GI Bill), and plans to continue working in Veteran Social Work upon completion in November 2014. Sadly however, he is currently unemployed, but keeps busy with school, and his philanthropy until the right Social Services position comes along.

Apolonio served in the US Army from Oct 2001-June 2004, at which time he was honorably discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Apolonio was on deployment to Baghdad, Iraq in support of combat operations under Operation Iraqi Freedom (March 2003-March 2004) with B Company, 440th Signal Battalion, 22nd Signal Brigade, V Corps (out of Darmstadt, GE), when he was outed by his fellow soldiers, and subsequently kicked out of the military for being openly gay. Despite his paperwork claiming to have served Honorably and receiving the following medals/certificates: Army Commendation Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and induction into the Order of the Combat Spur (2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment); there still is a blight on his record for being kicked out for violating the UCMJ. His paperwork states he was removed from service for “Homosexual Admission,” an indicator to any who reads the documents, such as potential employers, the the Veteran is Gay and could be subject to further discrimination. Also, Apolonio will forever be labeled as a Gay Veteran by the Dept of Defense and Dept of Veterans Affairs simply due to the wording in his discharge. Being that Apolonio has lived his entire adult life facing discrimination for being a Gay Veteran, he works with groups all over Southern California to make sure that no other Veteran has to go thru what he did. It wasn’t until only a few short years ago that Apolonio even qualified for benefits, which was a separate struggle in it of itself, related mostly in part to his discharge. Another reason, why Apolonio works with Veterans, Gay and Straight alike, so that every Veteran receives the care and treatment they deserve. Apolonio lives by one simple motto, “They [Veterans] put their life on the line for us, the least we can do is take care of them when they come home.”

TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2013, 9:30 A.M.

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