Things You Can Do to Support Those Who Served
Whether you realize it or not, you have a lot to thank veterans and their families for. They are among our families, friends, and neighbors, and there are many ways you can show your gratitude for their sacrifice. If you’re looking to empower, honor, and show appreciation for the people who keep the country safe, here are ideas you can explore. Make sure to visit the American Legion Department of Connecticut for more valuable resources for veterans.
Make a Card of Gratitude
Besides keeping the country safe, military members spend a lot of time away from their friends and family. Like everyone else, they need emotional support and to feel they’re appreciated. Writing cards of appreciation for veterans and service members helps. It’s a reminder to them they’re loved and appreciated for the great sacrifice they make in keeping everyone safe. You can submit your letters and cards through an organization like Operation Gratitude.
Volunteer Your Time
It will cost you nothing to volunteer for a day in your community. There are veteran programs always looking for volunteers in different capacities. Reach out to a hospital near you or a veterans’ home and ask if there’s a way you can help. You can easily find volunteer programs you can participate in within your state. If you know a veteran neighbor in need of transportation for their medical appointment, you can help them whenever possible. Also, for those needing help around their homes, you can offer to mow their lawn or do other tasks.
Sponsor Companion Dogs for Veterans Battling PTSD
Over a third of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans will or have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most of them are dealing with the stress of their time in service. Handling PTSD can affect not just the veterans, but it also touches their families and friends. Through programs like Puppies Behind Bars, you can sponsor a dog and get updates on their life and training.
Help a Veteran Get Education
After time in the military, one can also pick a new career path. If they already have previously completed a course in a university, you can help them get started with a Master’s program, which would advance their career. There are online advanced degree programs that make it easy to work full-time and study at the same time. Some of these programs span several industries, including psychology, business, criminal justice, and more. Check if they’re eligible for the GI Bill program, which helps veterans pay for graduate school, college, and other training programs.
Build a Home for an Injured Veteran
Often, severely injured vets come home looking for a place to live that accommodates their disabilities. You can offer support to such vets through organizations like Building Homes for Heroes, which specially modifies homes to accommodate severely injured veterans to ensure they can live independently. The homes are offered at no cost. Also, the organization offers financial planning to help veterans manage their income and savings in a more responsible way.
Keep Veterans Off the Streets
Because of lack of support and social isolation, former troop members are likely to become homeless. In the U.S., veterans are about 6% of the population yet make up 8% of the homeless population. You can help homeless veterans rebuild their lives by supporting a program like the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, which offers a framework that volunteers can use to organize support within their own communities.
Service members in the military, veterans, and their families sacrifice a lot to keep everyone safe. There are different ways you can help them feel appreciated for their sacrifice. Volunteer in projects that help veterans rebuild their lives after service and reach out to service members and their families to show your gratitude.