09 November, 2011

Support Our Veterans!

With Friday being Veterans Day I wanted to reprint a list Parade had in their Sunday issue on ways to help our vets (and their families) this year.

D is a vet, and my cousin's husband is in Afghanistan. It is important that we support the men and women who serve, they gave/give us the right to many freedoms we take for granted - including the freedom to reject them. Think about freedom tomorrow and what it has cost to get and maintain it. I've been in countries where what we take for granted isn't possible - and maybe if we had to live without our freedoms we would start to appreciate them better.

Maybe we should start tying yellow ribbons on the trees again so we all understand and come to stand behind those who are serving and those supporting them from far away.

Thank you to those who have served, to those who gave and went before. Thank you to your families and all you've had to endure. Thank you.

11 Ways to Help Veterans on 11-11-11



1. Give shelter
Homes for Our Troops constructs houses for severely injured veterans who served after 9/11. Donate equipment or help build a home. homesforourtroops.org

2. Offer a vet a ride
The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) provides free transportation to men and women unable to travel to VA medical facilities on their own. You can volunteer to drive a DAV van for those in need. dav.org/volunteers

3. Provide foster care for a pet
Take in the dog or cat of a deployed soldier or a wounded veteran while he or she is on duty or receiving VA medical treatment. guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org

4. Record a war story
Do you know an old soldier with tales from the front lines? The Library of Congress wants to hear his voice. Go to the website below for tips on conducting an interview or to request a field kit, including biographical data and release forms. loc.gov/vets

5. Put those old cell phones to good use
Instead of stashing your used phones in the junk drawer, ship them to Cell Phones for Soldiers. For each one donated, the organization will pay for an hour of talk time for troops overseas. cellphonesforsoldiers.com

6. Donate used DVDs
Drop off movies or television shows at your local VA facility, or mail them to DVDs4Vets, a national organization that distributes them where needed. dvds4vets.org

7. Cut coupons
Have some expired coupons lying around? Military families can use them for up to six months past their end date. coupsfortroops.com

8. Contribute to a holiday drive
Operation Gratitude’s annual campaign collects clothing, food, and more and packs it in gift boxes for service members. Pitch in by offering up items; local residents can sort them on-site. operationgratitude.com/volunteer

9. Post a care package
site
Through the organization Kitchen Table Gang, hospitalized veterans and troops abroad can receive personalized parcels containing everything from candy to board games. Get a service member’s address from KTG, bundle up items with a note of thanks, and send them off. soldierpackages.org

10. Share your expertise
MilServe connects volunteers with vets in many areas: financial counseling or legal services; job search guidance; even carpentry, for building wheelchair ramps. milserve.org

11. Support Big Brothers Big Sisters
The national organization has a special Military Mentoring program for children with parents in the armed forces. The group carefully pairs kids with adults serving in the military, as well as with veterans and civilians. bbbs.org
(from Parade)


Can you think of any others? How do you support our troops and their families?


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© Amanda Lunday