Symbol of Freedom Event Features Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans

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CDM Caregiving Services hosts Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans (ret.) Army at 11th annual Symbol of Freedom event on Monday, November 8th, 2021.

The Symbol of Freedom event is centered around Veterans Day and is designed to honor our local and national Veterans, while providing an opportunity to educate the community of the important services that CDM Caregiving Services provides to our Veterans, the elderly, and all others, of any age, with differing abilities.

CDM has had the privilege to present speakers such as: Mr. Clint Hill (Secret Service Agent to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy), Jessica Lynch (PFC Army & POW survivor), Brigadier General Dan Cherry (USAF ret.), Lt. Joe Torrillo (NYFD survivor 9-11-01), LtCol. Michael Strobl (USMC and subject of “Taking Chance” Movie starring Kevin Bacon), LtCol Robert Darling (USMC ret.), Oz Sanchez. The 2020 event honored local legend Royce Pollard as the inaugural Symbol of Freedom awardee.

The 2021 guest speaker, CSM Gretchen Evans (ret.) Army. Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans is one of the most decorated female veterans in U.S. history. Throughout her 27 years in the service, CSM Evans worked her way up to Command Sergeant Major – the highest rank an enlisted soldier can achieve. In this role, she was responsible for the security and personnel on all bases and forwarding operation bases in Afghanistan and oversaw more than 30,000 ground troops. She earned numerous medals and awards, including the Bronze Star, the Presidential Unit Citation Medal, and Global War on Terrorism ribbons, six Meritorious Service Medals, and numerous other awards, and in September 2021, Gretchen was inducted into the Veterans Hall of Fame.

After a combat injury, recent PTSD diagnosis, and subsequent retirement from service, her transition from military life to civilian life was difficult. Her heart was broken, and she felt hopeless, not only due to the injuries she sustained but also due to the sudden loss – of family, a team, the fellowship, and the mission she had found and loved, the military experience. Today, Gretchen Evans is determined to pay it forward by focusing her efforts on improving the lives of her fellow veterans by actively serving as a mentor, coach, and community activist. Gretchen is an ambassador for nonprofit No Barriers USA. She continues to serve as a board member of several veteran-focused organizations and is a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans, Iraq, and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Both the VIP and Dinner events will be held at The Royal Oaks Country Club. The VIP event offers an opportunity to personally meet C.S.M. Evans, have a quick chat along with a photo opportunity and/or autograph. A Dinner event will immediately follow and feature motivational words from the keynote speaker. Funds raised at both events will directly support the Living with Dignity program to care for at-home clients as well as support therapeutic offerings at the CDM McKibbin Day Center. For ticket information, visit

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