The History

The Veteran Approved Network was founded to change the Veteran experience in Tampa Bay. Veterans deserved a reliable resource for trusted business that were bound by a Code of Conduct based on truth, fairness, and value. The Network’s mission focused on bringing civilian and military/veteran communities together in an atmosphere of respect and honor.

As the Network has grown, collaborations with Veteran focused organizations have allowed VAN (Veteran Approved Network) to introduce a plethora of amazing resources to the Veteran community. Now, Veterans can access VAN to find events throughout the year that focus on Health and Wellness, Education, Employment, Opportunity, and Support. At its core, VAN is a consolidated resource for Veterans where they can find trusted businesses, organizations, and supporters.

Through free membership, Veterans can access well deserved, exclusive discounts offered by ‘Vetted for Vets’ businesses, explore alternate therapies, discover employment opportunities, attend educational seminars, and best of all – enjoy some of the most incredible veteran-focused events in Tampa Bay.

The Mission

The VA Network is a consolidated resource portal comprised of businesses, military non-profits, and veteran-related services that truly care about the active-duty and Veteran community. At the Network, Veterans can rest assured these resources have all been Vetted For Vets and they have proven their commitment to truth, fairness, and value for Veterans. In addition to Veteran discounts and reliable resources, our Veteran community can access Veteran-focused events, seminars, networking opportunities, training opportunities, and simple help and guidance when needed most. 

The vision

VAN has created a modern connectedness model for the American Veteran while embracing the rich history of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Organizations. VAN sets the conditions to reengage the veteran community on their terms through innovative channels that appeal to veterans and their families of all ages. 

In the past two decades, existing entities have seen a drastic reduction in veteran participation. VAN will modernize the veteran expereince by launching the first VAN STATION in Pasco County Florida, in collaboration with the local American Legion. This modern ‘home’ for veterans will offer entertainment, events, dining, leisure, remote office space, a conference center, a concert venue, a training and certification center, and much more. 

"The VA Network came to be out of a strong desire to reach the Veteran and active-duty service member communities in order to provide them with resources they can trust. Our Vetting process was designed to shield our Veteran community from unethical or dishonest businesses. Our community reach enables incredible relationships between business owners, who truly love and support Veterans, and the Veteran community directly.

The VA Network is, in itself, a community of like-minded people comprised of business owners, non-profit organizations, and veteran community leaders who are working together to do better, serve stronger and pay back the debts of gratitude we all owe our military and veteran community. "
Toni Hedstrom
The Board of Directors
Toni Hedstrom
Steve Coker
VP of Veteran Relations
Lorna Petchey
Business Advisory Chair
Jeff Ackerman
Business Advisory Chair
Chaplain Don Hinst
Vanessa Martin
Vet Owned Business Advisory Chair
Jean Uffalussy
Gold Star Mother Chair
The Veteran Committee
The Veteran Committee is comprised of Veteran Approved Network Directors, Officers, Business Members, Non-Profit Founders, and Veteran Community Leaders. The Veteran Committee meets each quarter to develop alliances, strategies, and relationships that further our Mission for Veterans. 

Are you a veteran?

Sign up today and get information about upcoming events and socials, our VAN local discounts and more!!