At Pets for Patriots, every day is an opportunity to honor our veterans. Here are a few suggestions for enriching the lives of our military veterans and their families any day of the year:
Visit sick, injured and elderly veterans: many veterans in hospitals, nursing or retirement homes struggle with loneliness and depression, and would welcome someone coming by for a visit. While you can ask the staff beforehand if personal care items or home-baked goods are permitted, the greatest gifts are your time, companionship and willingness to listen.
Hire a veteran: veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan face higher rates of unemployment than veterans and civilians in general, with the greatest percentage of unemployed among 18-25 year-old veterans. Even if you aren’t in a position to hire, you can recommend a veteran for a job at your place of work, help a newly returned service member write a resume, sponsor a veteran at a professional networking event, or help a veteran acquire skills to land a new or better job.
Adopt a military family or veteran: the spouses, children and parents of military members serve as well; they sacrifice the comfort and companionship of their loved ones during deployments, change of duty stations and other realities of military life. In addition, 40% of veterans are 65 or older, including many who live alone or far from their loved ones. Offer to help with minor home repairs, local errands or simply ask if they want to talk. Check in from time to time since they may be hesitant to ask for help. Consider inviting a local military family or veteran to your holiday dinners or weekend cookouts, knowing that they may be without a mother, father, spouse or child.
Support veterans causes: the scope, variety and urgency of veterans’ needs is vast and growing, especially as more men and women return from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Find a veterans service organization that inspires you – like Pets for Patriots – and give as often and generously as you can. If you’re unable to contribute financially, consider volunteering or spreading the word about their good work.
Say “thank you.” As you go about your daily life, thank veterans where ever you may see them. It may be a veteran in uniform, or one wearing a commemorative military cap or jacket. Step forward, extend your hand and say, “Thank you for your service.”