Veterans transitioning to civilian life face challenges that may be difficult to understand by anyone who hasn’t served a stint in the military. When a person enlists in any military branch, they essentially write the government a blank check for an amount up to and including their life. Particularly for veterans who have lost limbs or have other disabilities due to their service, transitioning can be particularly arduous. Although the debt of gratitude for this sacrifice doesn’t have a tangible value, those who want to help veterans with their transition can volunteer with organizations such as the following:
Disabled American Veterans
Established in 1920, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) provides needed services such as transportation to appointments as well as helping with other tasks that will vary according to the individual.
United Service Organization
The United Service Organization (USO) provides services to active-duty troops as well as veterans and their families. Internet, email service, and entertainment are provided to the troops, and volunteers provide emotional support for active duty and veterans and their families.
Hire Heroes USA
It’s often difficult to obtain employment after military service. Hire Heroes USA provides career training and counseling to help veterans obtain employment.
Wounded Warrior Project
Veterans who have suffered the loss of limbs or have other service-connected disabilities face even more severe difficulties when transitioning to civilian life. The Wounded Warrior Project provides psychological and emotional coaching, counseling, and therapeutic training to facilitate the transition. Volunteers can host fundraisers and help provide emotional support to those who have been wounded.
Honor Flight Network
Honor Flight Network transports wounded veterans to Washington, D.C., so that they can visit the memorials appropriate to their service. Volunteers accompany the veterans and escort them during their visit.
Volunteers in Operation Gratitude send care packages to wounded service members, their caregivers, and other veterans to express gratitude. Commonly sent tokens include a letter or a hand-knitted scarf, and volunteers also organize collection drives, particularly during the holidays.
VA Voluntary Service
Veterans and their families who are undergoing care at a VA facility can benefit from volunteers at the VA Voluntary Service who drive them to appointments or help at the VA nursing homes, hospital wards, and the numerous VA outreach centers.
Volunteering to help veterans, especially those who have suffered life-altering disabilities due to their service, is one of the best ways to show gratitude for their service and sacrifice. The next time you see a veteran or an active-duty military person, make sure to thank them for their service and their sacrifice!