Helping service members in far-flung parts of the world feel a little less homesick is a patriotic gesture, and there are several ways you can do it. Soldiers’ Angels offers services that help deployed and wounded military personnel and their families, as well as our veterans. Through FOCUS, military families can learn practical skills that help them cope with the stresses of military life, from deployment and reintegration to family communication.
For senior veterans, getting to medical appointments and making full use of a Medicare Advantage plan can be a challenge. Some Advantage plans like those offered by Humana provide vision and dental coverage as well as access to exercise facilities, but these plans often change. If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, review the terms of your coverage each year to ensure you’re getting the most out of your coverage. Otherwise, you could be missing out on a valuable health resource.
Service members returning to civilian life with a serious wound or disability often struggle to find a sustainable source of income. Sometimes, all they need is someone to point them in the right direction. If you know a veteran or recently separated service member who doesn’t know where to turn, tell them about the 100 Entrepreneurs Foundation, a resource for wounded members of the military who want to start their own businesses. Veterans and their family members can pick up valuable information by attending classes and workshops, where they learn skills that serve them well as entrepreneurs and help them return to the workforce.
Many of our veterans suffer long-term physical and mental consequences because of their service. As a result, it can be hard for them to keep medical appointments or get to the grocery every week. Consider driving a veteran to appointments; it’s a great way to learn what it means to serve in our military and make a new friend, who may be lonely and looking for someone to socialize with. Contact the DAV Transportation Network, an organization that coordinates the activities of volunteers who provide this important service.
Why not pick up the tab the next time you see a veteran waiting in line for coffee. Some of our older veterans may have trouble making ends meet, which makes this more than just a nice, symbolic gesture. (Arrange to pay anonymously if you’re worried about embarrassing someone.)
Veterans who struggle with disabilities and the psychological residue of combat stress sometimes require the aid of a service dog. Service pets help veterans recover a measure of independence and do wonders for their self-esteem and mood. You can donate money for the training of a service dog, which can cost more than $30,000.
Expressing gratitude to a veteran or service member can be a very simple matter — as easy as spending a buck or two to buy coffee or give a veteran a ride to a medical appointment. No such act of kindness is too small, or too insignificant. The effort and gesture themselves are a poignant and meaningful act that says you understand and appreciate their sacrifice.