As a Veteran, I often hear the phrase “thank you for your service.” At one level, I appreciate that people recognize, at least on some level, the sacrifices members of the military make daily. However, there is more to appreciating the impact and costs of service than saying thank you.
Veterans struggle with issues such as Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, depression, homelessness, and suicide. We need more than “thank you” and a referral to the nearest VA. The VA has its problems but does provide needed services. However, there is more demand on the system than VA is staffed and funded to address.
Have you ever helped a Veteran? It doesn’t have to be complicated, or a large time commitment, or monetary gift. Consider volunteering at a VA. Or donating to programs like Wounded Warrior Program Give to Wounded Warrior ProjectAn example of a need that is often missed: the VA gets HUD/VASH grants to help Veterans who are homeless get into affordable housing. Frequently, these Veterans have little or no resources. They may have a roof over their heads but lack cleaning supplies to clean their apartment. Or they have no furniture. One Veteran I know slept on the floor in a sleeping bag for over a month before he could buy an air mattress. Now, he has a regular mattress with no frame. But, he’s happy. He’s no longer homeless. What you can do to help: contact a local VA homeless program and ask if they need something for a Veteran going into housing. Another person I know has one bowl, a plate, fork, spoon, and knife. His apartment came with a microwave. Everything he eats is either something not requiring cooking or microwaveable food. Something small like a set of plates, bowls, and cutlery can make a difference.
I’ve blogged several times about fundraising for Riley. I have service connected PTSD and a Traumatic Brain Injury. Riley is primarily being trained to help with my TBI, as that is the most limiting medical problem. However, he is also being “cross trained” in several PTSD tasks. So far, only 12 people have donated to my GoFundMe campaign. Part of me is frustrated, thinking that since my TBI is not combat related, it’s not “sexy” enough to get donations. Meanwhile, I see a report about a fundraising campaign that earn $14,000 so a woman could pay for an abortion. What is up with that?
Please, if you want to thank a Veteran, or a service member currently on duty, do something tangible. We need more than words. I’d appreciate a donation to my campaign, but if you choose to donate to another Veteran or program, I still appreciate the fact you chose to help.
Have a wonderful day.