2 rules and 5 ways: How You CAN Support the Troops

After yesterday’s experience and post, I, Ollie may have upset a few of you. I don’t want anyone to get the impression that they shouldn’t help the troops. We just need to come together and do it the right way. How do we do that? Well, let me show you a real life example.

In Popeye’s PIR group is a Navy mama that we call Goldfish. Now she is a pretty smart cookie. This is a post from her talking about supporting the troops:

I am working a local comedy jam that raises money for our local homeless vets tomorrow night. I was worried that I might get sucked into doing something for a military charity not worthy like the guy selling CDs but a co-worker is a military mom too and she took me down to the State’s Veterans Homeless Shelter so I could see just what I was volunteering for. What a tear jerker! Specially when the guys in wheelchairs tried to stand up for Colors…wow I cried all the way home. So wish us luck…we haven’t quite sold out yet!

Did you all see what she did? There were two simple things.  Did you see how spot on they were?

First, Goldfish started her support locally. It was a LOCAL comedy jam (charity event) that was raising money for  LOCAL homeless vets. Supporting the troops locally invests not only in the troops but it invests in the community. Bonds are formed. People tangibly connect. An abstract notion becomes real. -However- If you are unable to follow Goldfish’s example of supporting locally, go with something well established.

Secondly, she didn’t just take someone’s word. She checked it out for herself. I can not stress how important it is to actually research the charity that you invest in. Make sure they are legitimate. Make sure they do what they say they are going to do.

Don’t fall victim to those hawking wears and praying on your sympathy -or- guilt. Committing your support to our troops should never be a fleeting thought. Truly make it a conscience decision.

Here are 5 simple ways that you can with full conscience support our service men and women, as well as their families.

5. Write a letter of support. (and maybe a care package)

I cannot stress how much actual mail means. Military families learned it first hand when their loved ones left for bootcamp. Communication was often hard to come by. It’s not like one could pick up the phone and share intimate details of the day, or provide instant support. Those letters on the other hand became a lifeline. Families back home kept their soldiers and sailors grounded and encouraged.

4. Adopt an actively deployed military family.

No matter which way you look at it… deployments suck. Losing an active family member for weeks or months is an endeavor! You never know how much someone is part of you and your family until they are missing. That whole can be huge! An extra set of hands made the household function better and without them… chaos. So, go ahead and adopt that family down the road who’s mother, father, sister, brother, wife, or husband has just been shipped off. While you can’t take the place of  those same hands, your contribution to that family makes the work a little easier to bare. Just think, if you were suddenly on your own what would you need help with?

– And here is a little secret. When military personnel know their families back home will be okay, they are able to be more focused on the job at hand. With their mind where it should be, they are less likely to make mistakes and more likely to come home. Directly supporting their families, directly supports them!

3. Adopt a military family
Actively deployed military families are not the only ones who need support. Think about this. There are over 676,000 military families. The average military family is 35 years old or younger. They typically have 2 children under the age of 5. And they move every 2  1/2 to 3 years. – In other words these are young families in new locations. They have a steep learning curve. Having someone there for them, makes a world of difference.

2. Donate to your LOCAL VA hospital.
Whether it is time or money your local VA hospital is always in need. Medical equipment-expensive. Quality staff with quality training- expensive. Both in short supply. Moral- inexpensive. Plan a visit! Get to know the men and women are in the VA’s care. Support them by letting them know that someone thinks that they are real, tangible, and important.

Last but not least… the easiest way you can support our troops is to…

1. Just say Thank You.

Two small words make a world of difference. Just knowing that a person is grateful validates  the sacrifices that our service men and women, and their families make.

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