To all veterans, you have my most sincere gratitude and admiration. What you do for our country can never be overstated, and yet so often, we are far too understated in thanking you. Though we are inundated with Veterans Day sales commercials, we must remember the true reason for the holiday.
I found an interesting snippet while reading the Chicago Tribune today, in the “Parade” section (also online at parade.com/vets). There are varying levels of investments, but I think we can all start by at least saying thank you when you see a veteran and by sending a card via amillionthanks.org.
Upgrade a soldier’s helmet: For $35, you can provide a service member cushioning helmet pads to help protect against traumatic brain injury. operation-helmet.org
Foster a companion animal: Pets for Vets pairs shelter dogs with veterans in an effort to ease the emotional wounds of war. Volunteers are needed to offer foster care for rescues, as are professional trainers to prepare the dogs for their new roles.
Help throw a baby shower: Celebrate an expectant mom whose husband is deployed or injured by sending a gift or volunteering in person at a party hosted by Operation Shower. operationshower.org
Mail a care package: Look up specific requests for reading material, DVDs, games, and relief supplies from service members in all five branches of the military; pack the items with a letter of thanks and ship them off. booksforsoldiers.com
Tune in to Tim McGraw: As part of his initiative with Chase and Operation Homefront to provide mortgage-free homes for vets and service members in need, the country star is performing a concert tonight for military families, to air on the Pentagon channel and on his website (8:45 p.m. ET). timmcgraw.com
Support a Mission Continues fellow: The Mission Continues fellowship program allows post-9/11 veterans to continue serving at home by volunteering for 26 weeks with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and American Red Cross. Your donation can help vets finds ways to channel their skills as they transition back to the civilian world. Missioncontinues.org
Share your points: Transfer your hotel rewards points to Fisher House Foundation’s “Hotels for Heroes” program, which provides accommodations to the families of military service members who are undergoing medical treatment. Fisherhouse.org
Offer a vet a ride: Join the VA’s Volunteer Transportation Network and you can drive veterans to and from their appointments for services. Volunteer.va.gov
Donate gifts for kids in Iraq and Afghanistan: Operation Give collects toys and school and art supplies that our troops can then distribute to to local children in the areas where they are serving. Operationgive.org
Share your expertise: Sign up to teach a class or be a mentor to wounded veterans interested in exploring business opportunities after they leave the hospital. 100entproject.org
Send a holiday card: To date, amillionthanks.org has delivered more than six million letters to service members and veterans. This holiday season, express your appreciation for our troops with a festive card containing a personal message or prayer, postmarked by December 1. amillionthanks.org