Marine extends a hand to those returning home

CAMP PENDLETON — From day one, Marines are instilled with the importance of counting on one another while deployed. Thanks to one Camp Pendleton sergeant’s dedication, that tradition has continued here at home.
For more than a year, Sgt. Daniel Arcand, assaultman instructor, School of Infantry-West, has been running a non-profit charity group he founded known as American Spartan, Inc. The primary mission of his charity is to provide wounded combat veterans and their families financial assistance and help facilitate an easier transition from military to civilian life.
Arcand, who has had three combat deployments, started the program after many of his close friends sustained injuries or were killed while deployed. Arcand watched first-hand as their families struggled to get back on their feet after returning home.
“I started this program because I wanted to help assist combat-injured service members move on to the next step in life,” Arcand said. “Our goal is to make their lives as easy as possible to be successful in reconnecting with society.”
Although Arcand founded American Spartan Inc., it was advice and guidance from numerous outside agencies and current nonprofit organizations that helped him. Camp Pendleton has numerous resources and programs combat veterans can use to help with their transition, but American Spartan stands alone in that the charity’s board of directors is solely run by combat veterans.
“A lot of times Marines and sailors don’t want to talk to someone they can’t relate to, but this program it makes it easier for them to feel relaxed with no pressure,” Arcand said.
Recently, Arcand conducted the program’s first fundraising event — the Spartan Hike. Nearly a dozen Camp Pendleton Marines carried 45-pound packs and traveled 419 miles for three weeks along the Pacific coast south of San Francisco until ending up in San Clemente. During this event Aracand and his program succeeded in surpassing their goal of raising $100,000.
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