The mission of The Military Reunion Network is simple: Support veterans planning their military reunions as well as the hospitality industry through education, connection and resource to achieve successful reunions and increased business. The result of our mission is one way to reduce Veteran Suicide. Continued connections made through military reunions keeps Veterans off a potential dark path.
- Teaching veterans how to plan a reunion from beginning to end
- Training the hospitality industry on best practices when working with the military reunion market
- removing the barriers limiting planners and suppliers ability to conduct business directly
- encouraging communication among the network members
- maintaining an accessible comprehensive list of resources from event insurance to logo items, planning manuals to organizational forms.
What is the story behind #militaryreunionsmatter?
The Veterans Administration August 2016 report on veteran suicide concludes that 20 veterans a day take their lives by their own hand. 65% of them are 50 years and older. Conversations and interviews conducted by The Military Reunion Network since 2014 have led us to believe that a significant reduction in veteran suicide is possible through veterans staying connected with their battle buddies long after leaving the military. A series of interviews on The Military Reunion Network radiocast aired in 2017 and is a reflection of our findings. We are committed to making it possible for veterans and their families to stay connected one reunion at a time.
Founded in 1991, The Reunion Network, as it was originally named, supported veterans through education and resources. TRN offered step by step instruction on the process including topics of creating RFP’s, conducting site inspections, negotiation, and contracts to name a few. The team traveled the country connecting reunion planners with the hospitality industry. In 1998, the name was changed to Reunion Friendly Network while maintaining the same focus and format. Reunion Friendly Network remained for close to 20 years.
The company was purchased by Sharon Danitschek in 2013, after several years of participation in Reunion Friendly Network events. While maintaining the core events, her commitment to education and connection is demonstrated through the addition of an Educational Summit, stronger social media presence and a weekly radio broadcast. In April of 2017 the name was changed from Reunion Friendly Network to The Military Reunion Network. There has been a commitment to veterans and the military for 25 years. The new name better reflects who we are and the community we serve.
Sharon Danitschek, President and CEO
Sharon brings over 25 years of hospitality sales and marketing experience to The Military Reunion Network. During her career, Sharon has held sales positions at downtown, resort and suburban hotels, representing properties on a local, regional and national level. Her most exciting roles were as the Opening Director of Sales and Event Services for the Lynnwood Convention Center in Lynnwood, Washington and as the Conference Planning Director for the Every Woman’s Money Conference. In 2011, Sharon began participating in the MRN events, representing Red Lion Hotels as National Director of Sales. She left Red Lion Hotels in 2013 when she purchased MRN from retiring founder Paul Spiewak. She brings boundless enthusiasm and expertise to her role and to the military reunion community as a whole. She was recognized as a 2019 Industry Trendsetter by Meetings Today Magazine and appeared on the cover with her father, a Veteran of the United States Navy. (to her right).
A Salute to Paul Spiewak, Founder
“If it were not for the vision, enthusiasm, drive and initiative of Paul Spiewak many of us, hoteliers and planners alike, would still be searching for the perfect hotel, attraction or Veteran to work with.” We have Paul (and the team at RFN) to thank for connecting us since 1991. He established the ConFAM concept, wrote the book on Military Reunion Planning and saw the need to keep the education and connection going. Paul and Sharon met in 2011. They shared a passion for the reunion market and conflicting views in industry trends like attrition. “It was clear our core values of partnership, integrity, education and philanthropy were in alignment. I am honored to continue what he started.” – Sharon Danitschek
Paul passed in July of 2021 at the age of 95. He and Sharon remained great friends up until his passing.
Vietnam War Commemoration Partner:
On October 24th of 2018, The Military Reunion Network was proud to become a Vietnam War Commemoration Partner. This distinction, through the Department of Defense, allows us to officially, find, thank, and welcome home any Veteran that served between November 5th, 1955 and May 15, 1975.