To all my friends--known and unknown--Happy Veterans Day.
Our veterans have done great things for us and there are many people and organizations who are willing to say 'Thank You' in various ways.
First there's VALOUR-IT, the annual Soldiers Angels effort to raise funds for special laptops designed for grievously wounded service members. (If someone can tell me how to insert the donation button without all that extraneous BS code showing up, I'd be happy. Even VALOUT-IT's USAF team leader, Greyhawk, doesn't know how.)
There's Let's Say Thanks, a sweet way to boost the morale of service members away from home during this holiday season. Their mission:
...to provide a way for individuals across the country to recognize U.S. troops stationed overseas. By submitting a message through this site you have the opportunity to send a free personalized postcard greeting to deployed servicemen and women.
The postcards, depicting patriotic scenes and hometown images, were selected from a pool of entries from children across the country.
There's America's Wounded Heroes, which provides handicapped service members wounded in battle with all kinds of equipment
such as motorized wheelchairs, golf carts, Segways, and other mobility devices not provided for by the government and private insurance.
While most [veterans] work with the VA, many also rely on volunteers or small nonprofit groups...[which] can often provide services government agencies usually cannot -- a rent payment, a restaurant gift certificate, even a lawyer.
Here are the two featured:
1. 9-1-1 Veterans--a one-man operation started by Steve Clark a Suffolk County (NY) police officer an Navy veteran who saw a need and is attempting to meet it.
Clark's nonprofit is tiny. He is its sole employee, and he runs it with just a few thousand dollars raised so far. "I think there shouldn't be a need for 9-1-1 Veterans," he said. "But a lot of these guys need an advocate."
Read how Clark helped Iraq War veteran Cris Benitez. (Some webmaster should donate a website to this gentleman.)
To date CSAH has helped over 4,000 severely wounded troops and their families through emergency financial aid, family support programs and the Road to Recovery conference.
Now I know how a lot of these guys--both wounded and not--are prideful sorts. They don't want "handouts." However, implicit in the concept of 'handout' is that it is unearned.
The items and services which these organizations provide has been more than earned by the recipients and, in reality, there is no way that in-kind payback can be delivered. These organizations and the people who contribute time, money and energy to them are merely reciprocating in the only methods possible. Call it the second half of a gift exchange.