Veterans pay high prices for their service: Up to 30 percent suffer from PTSD, and they face higher unemployment rates than the rest of the population. Civilians can be their strongest allies. Here are a few things you can do to help:
- Frequent veteran-run organizations. Locally and nationally, veteran-run organizations come in all forms. Head up north to beautiful Duluth for a romantic weekend at the A G Thomson House Bed and Breakfast. Check out the Wander North Distillery; their new product, Outpost Vodka, can kick off your weekend. Visit Trust Vets to see what services and companies are in your area.
- Donate. Financing an organization that supports veterans is no easy task. The Wounded Warrior Project celebrated a decade of service this year. Treat your family pet and support military working dogs simply by choosing Natural Balance.
- Volunteer. Use your strengths to help veterans in need. Carpenters, put your skills to use at Homes for Our Troops. If you have a driver’s license, you can Drive a Van to bring veterans to their medical appointments. You can also provide assistance to military families by volunteering with Fisher House.
- Provide an understanding ear. Care packages can be as simple as a letter. Operation Gratitude delivers your letters to troops abroad; a small, heartfelt note means the world to deployed soldiers. You can also develop a sense of community by sharing veterans’ stories, either via word-of-mouth or a blog. And remember, if you see soldiers in uniform, thanking them for their service could make their day
Always remember that we are only human. Above all, show veterans your love and support. There are more resources than ever for soldiers returning from deployment. The Center for Veterans Issues is a great place to start.
Image CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons