Today is Veteran’s Day, a time we honor the men and women, past and present, who have served in the armed forces. I honor all of them, but especially my great uncle Julius who was killed in WWI just 15 days before the Armistice.
And my father, the real George Smiley, who served in Europe during WWII
Today (and every day) we remember our loved ones who have served or are currently serving, but some of us may wonder what more we can do. Thanks to Parade magazine, below are some things you can do NOW to help our troops and veterans. There are several things on this list I plan to do.
11 Ways to Help Our Vets and Troops on 11/11
- Upgrade a soldier’s helmet: For $35, you can provide a service member cushioning helmet pads to help protect against traumatic brain injury. operation-helmet.org
- Foster a companion animal: Pets for Vets pairs shelter dogs with veterans in an effort to ease the emotional wounds of war. Volunteers are needed to offer foster care for rescues, as are professional trainers to prepare the dogs for their new roles. pets-for-vets.com
- Help throw a baby shower: Celebrate an expectant mom whose husband is deployed or injured by sending a gift or volunteering in person at a party hosted by Operation Shower. operationshower.org
- Mail a care package: Look up specific requests for reading material, DVDs, games, and relief supplies from service members in all five branches of the military; pack the items with a letter of thanks and ship them off. booksforsoldiers.com
- Tune in to Tim McGraw: As part of his initiative with Chase and Operation Homefront to provide mortgage-free homes for vets and service members in need, the country star is performing a concert tonight for military families, to air on the Pentagon channel and on his website (8:45 p.m. ET). timmcgraw.com
- Support a Mission: Continues fellow The Mission Continues fellowship program allows post-9/11 veterans to continue serving at home by volunteering for 26 weeks with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and American Red Cross. Your donation can help vets finds ways to channel their skills as they transition back to the civilian world. Missioncontinues.org
- Share your points: Transfer your hotel rewards points to Fisher House Foundation’s “Hotels for Heroes” program, which provides accommodations to the families of military service members who are undergoing medical treatment. Fisherhouse.org
- Offer a vet a ride: Join the VA’s Volunteer Transportation Network and you can drive veterans to and from their appointments for services. Volunteer.va.gov
- Donate gifts for kids in Iraq and Afghanistan: Operation Give collects toys and school and art supplies that our troops can then distribute to to local children in the areas where they are serving. Operationgive.org
- Share your expertise: Sign up to teach a class or be a mentor to wounded veterans interested in exploring business opportunities after they leave the hospital. 100entproject.org
- Send a holiday card: To date, amillionthanks.org has delivered more than six million letters to service members and veterans. This holiday season, express your appreciation for our troops with a festive card containing a personal message or prayer, postmarked by December 1. amillionthanks.org
Who are you honoring today?