Much like everyone with social media access at their fingertips, I have a constant news feed that flows in by the hour. Most of it is not really worth previewing but today I hit on some tips for how to take Veterans Day recognition beyond a “thank you” for those who do or have served and thought they were worth noting (and then acting on at least a few of them of course!) Many of these are a truly honorable way to recognize the 19.6 million active and former US service members who have gone to war.
Local VA offices identify volunteer opportunities to assist local veterans. Transportation to doctor appointments and other needs are identified and there are even electronic links to make volunteering easy.
Send a care package:
Operation Gratitude has sent more than 2 million personally addressed care packages to those who serve as well as veterans, wounded warriors and their families or caregivers.
Support vets suffering from PTSD:
The VA offers the PTSD Coach Online to help those in need if you know of anyone who might benefit from the assistance.
Sponsor a service dog:
Freedom Service Dogs of America match those returning to civilian life to help with the transition. There are several other great groups out there that NTCA staff has supported in the past that are worth a look.
Donate travel points:
The Hero Miles Program, run by the Fisher House, allows for the donation of frequent flier miles to bring families to the side of those receiving medical care at VA or military health facilities.
Help Homeless Vets has a program called “Stand Down” that is set up to help homeless vets manage their life on the streets with food, clothing and other support.
Honor the Greatest Generation:
I have witnessed the Honor Flight Network’s work in bringing veterans on a free trip to Washington, DC to visit the WWII Memorial. What a touching way to honor some of those still alive from the Greatest Generation and to allow them a special trip to see the monument devoted to the freedom they fought to achieve.
Share Their Stories:
The Library of Congress is collecting stories from veterans from all wars through the Veterans History Project. What a wonderful way to gather these personal stories and recollections before they are lost to the hands of time.
I remain hopeful that in the next year we will be able to add to this list more ways to support NTCA’s Virtual Living Room program. This initiative that has gotten off to a great start in McKee, Ky. will enable NTCA members to work with their local VA and public institutions like their local library to establish a place for their local rural community veterans to have broadband access. We are close to working with an industry partner who is also supportive of these efforts and finding ways to utilize broadband to make a difference in the lives of those who have served and are excited to continue the work with NTCA members who take care of those who live in their communities.