And ask yourself another question on Memorial Day: how can I help honor those who fight so hard for our freedom?
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Just start by saying thank you
Stacie Heaps’s husband, Shane, a veteran, served in Iraq in 2003, just six weeks after they got married. Awaiting his commitment, she made weekend trips to visit him at Joint Base Lewis-McChord just outside Tacoma, Washington.
Once while they were dining at a restaurant, a couple thanked her husband for his service and gave them cash to help pay for their meal. They also visited one of the churches in the area, and a woman who attended the services gave them $ 20 and thanked her husband for his service. Once the person at the reception of the hotel where they were staying offered them a free upgrade.
“These are all examples of ways you can really appreciate our veterans. And frankly, the simple statement “thank you for your service” meant he got the world for me too, “says Heaps.
She says that if you are looking for a way to show appreciation to a veteran:
“Small thanks, such as paying for a meal, or the bill at the supermarket or gas station. But above all, a friendly word, everything you show means so much! ‘
Help bring a veteran back to civilian life
Monetary donations are always necessary, but he says one of the best ways to help is through career guidance and advice to enable veterans to find secondary jobs after their employment. Find ways to donate your skills, time, and experiences to help a veteran go through a career transition.
What does he propose?
“Informal conversations where you sit with veterans to discuss their goals and share feedback from your own experience. This is especially useful if they have shown specific interest in the industry you work in or the type of work you do. In addition, it helps to show veterans that you care about them and that they are interested in their careers so that they can more easily talk about their ambitions and interests and can help you find ways to help. ”
Take it a step further by offering to review resumes and / or conduct fake interviews giving you a citizen perspective on their interview style.
“Veterans have skills such as problem-solving, organization and leadership that are well suited to all work environments, but often it can be challenging to express how they acquired these skills during the service as civilians are less familiar with military jargon and responsibilities Perez says.
Give honest feedback on how you think they can present these transferable skills and qualifications more clearly and effectively to hiring managers.
Share relevant opportunities you come across in your network with veterans. Meet colleagues and friends where needed, they can go a long way when a newly retired service member wants to expand their professional network and learn about new industries and opportunities.
More formally, you can advocate for veterans in your workplace by educating your colleagues about the unique benefits they can bring to your business. Volunteer to represent your company at veteran career fairs, explore on-job training, certification courses, and continuing education opportunities that can provide experienced workers.
“Most veterans are highly motivated and will be happy to seize these opportunities when offered. In addition, continuing education and certification programs not only help veterans expand their skills, they also demonstrate your company’s commitment to their professional advancement, ”said Perez.
If you want to volunteer or donate in other ways, he says that’s a great place to start United States Department of Veterans Affairs website to see which VA-approved Veteran Service Organizations are in your area and whether they have events or ongoing initiatives that you could participate in.
You can also contact your local VA advisory board. They can provide you with a list of local organizations, such as healthcare facilities, hospitals, or homeless shelters that need donations or volunteers.
Discover opportunities with the Wounded Warrior project
Then there’s the view of Drew Cheneler, an active duty soldier and founder of SimpleMoneyLyfe.comzrtfaaxquxsf. In an interview he said:
“The best thing to do to give back to the military community is to donate or volunteer for the Wounded Warrior Project. Aside from donating money, it is best to actively participate. The WWP offers many events in most states. This is a great place to connect with our warriors, hear their stories and celebrate their achievements both inside and outside the military. Sometimes even sharing a story on your social media account is enough to get others involved. ”
If it’s not the WWP, he says another great option is the American veterans eliminated (DAV). “They don’t get government money, so they really rely on donations. This is a great program to help disabled veterans and their families through hard times. ”
Consider supporting wear blue, Founded by Lisa Hallett. Her husband, CPT John Hallett, was killed in combat operations in 2009. Wear blue is a running community that unites and supports the military and their families, veterans, Gold Star families and citizens through active remembrance and meaningful relationships. They motivate and empower individuals to live healthier and more inspired through six programs:
- The Saturday Run.
- Memorial Day.
- Race with Teamwear blue.
- Gold Star Race program.
- Gold Star Youth Mentoring Program.
- For the fighting program.
Seamus Donahue is the son of U.S. Army Major Michael Donahue who was killed in Afghanistan in 2014. As a Gold Star son, Seamus was a very successful one wear blue Participant in the Gold Star Race program. He spoke from the heart in an interview. “Memorial Day is not just a day off or a reason to grill.”
Donahue has a few ways to honor the fallen on Memorial Day:
“Speak their name so they won’t be forgotten. Talk about it – the good, the bad, the jokes, the things that make you smile and cry at the same time. It is important to talk to others about those who cannot have that holiday with us. “
Then he says to remember the family.
“On this day, for the family that has lost a loved one, they can happily sit next to the grill, yet the day is likely to be a lot of unlisted grief. Be sincere and contact them intentionally. Everyone experiences trauma and loss differently, where time really doesn’t heal everything, it’s nice to receive a friendly message at check-in. ”
If possible, visit a military grave so you can see the volume and weight of everyone who died for our freedom. Pay your respect when you go.
Teach future generations that freedom is not free and that the cost of freedom is high. It comes with many sacrifices. Not only of those killed in action, but also of those who sacrificed time with family, but instead entered a foreign land to defend this land.
Finally, he says, reach for a golden star child.
“These are the sons and daughters who have lost a mother or father. They live a life without that parent and don’t do things like fishing, camping, outdoor sports. Don’t be afraid to contact and mentor those who have lost a parent. “
Patronize veteran-friendly companies
You can also support companies that support veterans. Take for example Warfighter HempFounded by Lieutenant Colonel (Retired, USMC) Steve Danyluk to provide veterans with an alternative to addictive opioids for pain and anxiety relief. His company makes tinctures, capsules, bath bombs, lotions, teas and oils.
Veterans receive a 50% discount in advance. The company also donates 50% of its proceeds to non-profit organizations that support veteran independence, including Semper K9.
AnytownUSA.com, the marketplace specializing in products made in America, offers veterans a 10% discount on all items every day, with no exceptions.
Live to give
Live to give is a bottled water brand that donates 50% of its net profit to charities that support military members, veterans and their families, especially those who have lost a loved one at work.
Co-founded by a former Green Beret who lost more than just his leg in the famous battle of Shok Valley, Live to Give knows the importance of giving back and remembering something on this vacation.
Tune into organizations
Veterans form a population at high risk of prostate cancer, with an incidence twice that of the general population. ZERO – The end of prostate cancer directs the effort to provide the veteran community with the resources, tools and training necessary to combat and prevent the disease.
Through Veteran vehicles, you can donate your car to a disabled veteran. You are doing well and will receive a tax deduction. Moreover, there are no costs for you. The organization will pick up your car, whether it is driving or not. They will handle the paperwork and issue an IRS tax receipt for you.
Infinite Hero Foundation
The Infinite Hero Foundation works to combat mental and physical health problems faced by military heroes and their families. You can volunteer, donate or shop for a good cause.
Veterans Advantage highlights some of the many organizations working on behalf of veterans and their families. So you can start here if you are looking for support places.
Make Memorial Day special this year. Strive to step up and make a difference in the lives of military members and veterans.
Above a few ideas to get you started. Choose one or come up with your own plan. Either way, the important thing is that you think about the true meaning of Memorial Day.