For the Love of Veterans

Josie Koonce accepts an Outstanding Volunteer award from Associate Director Frank Kehus.
Josie Koonce accepts an Outstanding Volunteer award from Associate Director Frank Kehus.

by Beth Lamb with contributions from Joe Brown, Lisa Donna and Sylvia Jackson


Josie Koonce would tell you her love story in such a way that you became a part of it.  Amidst bombing and the horrors of World War II, a young German girl met a member of the U.S. Air Force.  Part one of the love story is the American Airman who swept her off her feet and became her husband.  Part two of the love story is how Josie fell in love with America.

She was scared, nervous and excited while trying to understand and become a part of our culture.  As Josie stood in front of the judge who would grant her U.S. citizenship, he gave a speech to the group of soon-to-be American citizens. Josie quoted the judge as saying “they were not getting citizenship status to be lazy, but they were to be a productive part of this Nation, that they owed a debt to it for being part of it.  They should get jobs and that they should volunteer to help when and where they could.”

Josie Koonce took those words to heart.  She began volunteering at the Marion VA in 1988 and was also a member of the Air Force Seargents Association.  She was an avid protector and defender of Veterans and their rights.  She volunteered in the business office, helped Voluntary Services, and sat many long and tearful nights as a friend to those in hospice care.  She touched so many lives in our community, volunteering almost 14, 000 hours at the Marion VA.  She was dedicated to Veterans simply because she loved them.  She always referred to the men and women who wore the uniform as “hers”.  She took ownership of the care of Veterans—it was a bond she established that would not be broken.

Josie Koonce passed away last weekend and the family held a quiet ceremony on Monday, August 1, 2011.  The staff, Veterans and volunteers of the Marion VA mourn the loss of a treasured friend.  In her honor, take the time to tell a Veteran patient the story of a girl who fell in love with a military man and his country, who dedicated so much of her life to those who protect our American freedoms.

Thank you, Josie, for letting us be a part of your love story.


O’Neill’s New Appeal: Form & Function

Orange County Business Journal August 29, 2011 | Hamanaka, Kari Seeks Share From Nike, Gap in $3 IB Activewear Market Surf brand O’Neffl Clothing USA is betting that its new activewear line will win a place for the Irvine-based label in the highly competitive women’s workout apparel market.

The company says its O’Neill 365 collection mixes technical fabrics and fashionable cuts as key points of distinction in a segment dominated by big names such as Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike Inc. and Gap Inc. in San Francisco.

“We saw a need for it in the market as far as there were lines out there that were very highperformance and then lines that have a fashion-forward focus,” said O’Neill Director of Marketing Cedar Carter. “We saw a nice place in the middle to merge performance and fashion.” O’Neill 365 is geared toward women who hike, run and walk, as well as practice yoga and other activities. It’s a slice of the market worth $3 1 billion in sales last year, according to Port Washington, N.Y., consumer and retail research company NPD Group Inc.

The Jine includes sports bras, tank tops with built-in support, hooded sweatshirts, capris, and other pants and jackets. It’s divided into three categories: workout clothes, performanse pieces and separates that can be layered over gym clothes. see here athleta coupon code

Prices range from about $30 to $90, on par with competitors.

3XDRY A technical aspect blends function and fashion. O’Neill is pushing what it’s calling 3XDRY, a fabric that’s waterproof on the outside and absorbs moisture on the inside to eliminate sweat marks.

O’Neill Clothing USA has the license to make clothing under the O’Neill brand. It operates as a division of action sports apparel licensing company La Jolla Group Inc., which is also in Irvine and counts Rusty, Metal Mujisha, True Love & False Idols and other brands in its portfolio.

It recently launched its first in-house line cailed In God’s Hands.

La Jolla has sales of about $200 million, according to a Business Journal estimate.

The company doesn’t break down sales by division, but O’Neill is believed to be one of its larger brands in terms of sales.

More recently, La Jolla has said it’s pushing to diversify its brand portfolio.

Earlier mis year, La Jolla struck deals with Rancho Dominguez-based FMF Racing and Los Angeles skateboarding website and indoor skate park The Berries to make clothes under those brands. It also shed surf brand Lost at the start of the year (see story, page 1).

O’NeilFs move into women’s activewear matches La Jolla’s overall diversification strategy. The 365 Une holds the potential to bring significant revenue from a raft of retailers besides surf shops, department stores and other mall chains. this web site athleta coupon code

New Market “We’re going to be able to reach a new market with 365 at athletic specialty stores, yoga studios and boutiques, upscale fitness boutiques and surf specialty accounts that have an active customer base,” Carter said.

It’s a slightly older customer the company is targeting – ages 25 to 35. That could match up well with the line’s higher price points and help shelter it from the finicky juniors business that hasn’t been kind to surf apparel companies since the recession.

“In the past couple years, we’ve started diversifying our image in general to let people know we are more than just a surf brand, and obviously our roots are in surfing and tied to the ocean, but we have evolved into a fashion brand as well; so this is just another extension ofthat, and it’s reaching a different customer than the current juniors clothing base,” Carter said.

The company has plans to launch a national marketing campaign for the 365 line with print ads in fitness and lifestyle publications plus a digital campaign that includes social media.

O’Neill hired Olympic swimming gold medalist Natalie Coughlin to be featured in the print ads and in-store marketing materials.

BIg Competition To succeed in the U.S. women’s activewear market, O’Neill will compete against much larger companies marketing fashion and hightech performance pieces.

Nike is the big player in the athletic shoe and clothing world, but more boutique-style companies have cropped up in recent years looking to tap the women’s activewear market.

Gap acquired Petal uma-based Athleta Inc. in 2008 and is aggressively growing the brand.

Earlier this year, the company opened an Athleta flagship store in San Francisco and most recently opened two stores in New York.

More Athleta stores are set to open in Newport Beach, Los Angeles and other locations later this year.

“Pushing Accelerator” Gap Chief Executive Glenn Murphy told analysts during an Aug. 1 8 call that the company is “pushing on the accelerator” with Athleta.

He added during the call that “anybody who’s in our way competitively, we think we have a better model.” Baltimore-based Under Armour Inc. is also getting aggressive: Chief Executive Kevin Plank said in statement issued last month that “201 1 is a year where we are on the offensive.” Under Armour upped its profit and revenue outlook for the year last month.

Revenue is expected to come in around $1.4 billion, representing as much as 35% growth from last year.

Profit is expected to be up as much as 42% this year to $155 million to $160 million.

Other industry competitors include Canada-based Lululemon Athletica Inc. and Greensboro, N.C.-based VF Corp.’s Lucy Activewear Inc. in Alameda.

[Sidebar] O’Neill 365: technical fabrics that eliminate sweat maks Hamanaka, Kari


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