By Steven Weintraub, Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve)
(First of two parts)
Most Americans feel truly grateful to our nation’s veterans and military personnel and take many opportunities available to express that gratitude. But what does one do to specifically show appreciation for those families of service members, veterans, and all currently serving military to include guard and reserve personnel?
Many families within the military community often endure with the emotional and/or physical challenges their loved ones tend to experience as a result of their military service. A supportive, loving family can help a veteran or service member make the quite often difficult transition from uniformed service to civilian life, or help their loved one reintegrate after a deployment.
In many ways, these families make sacrifices or endure hardships like those their loved ones who serve their country. Thirty nine percent of military families have moved three or more times with dependents in the past 10 years according to the 2016 Vet Tix Annual Survey and Impact Report consisting of more than 44,000 military and veteran respondents. These frequent moves may cause difficulties for children adjusting to new schools and making new friends as well as spouses finding meaningful employment, making new friends and integrating into their new community.
American businesses and associations have become cognizant of the hardships veterans and their families face. The Electronic Components Industry Association, for example, supports the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and their Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) initiative. Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide program to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities.
There are national resources in place to alleviate the burdens military personnel and their families may too often experience. From professional development to financial assistance and even caring for pets, there are many of ways to give back this Veterans Day, and every day. Everyone can make a difference for veterans, members of the military and their families. Here are a few ideas for meaningful ways to show your support not only this Veterans Day, but every day.
Help Military and Veteran’s Families Make Memories
Veterans and military families often face financial challenges that can make it difficult to afford simple luxuries such as attending a concert, show or sporting event. The ticket prices for a sporting event can easily exceed $200 for a family of four. In fact, the Vet Tix survey found that ticket cost was the main reason military and veteran families are unable to participate in entertainment opportunities.
You can help a military or veteran family make special memories and attend the show or event of their dreams by donating tickets or funds to the national nonprofit, Veteran Tickets Foundation. The organization provides tickets for sporting events, concerts, performing arts, family activities and so many other ticketed events to verified members of all branches of currently serving military and honorably discharged veterans. With more than 3.5 million tickets distributed since its founding in 2008, Vet Tix has provided military and veteran families throughout the nation with opportunities to strengthen bonds with friends and family. The impact of the donation often goes far beyond a single day of fun.
Whether a veteran can reconnect with their family and community, or a service member gets out of the house for the first time since their deployment, Vet Tix events provide an environment for building memories and experiencing comradery with peers. Visit VetTix.org to learn more and to make a tax-deductible donation.
(Part 2 will appear on Monday)
Steven Weintraub is Chief Strategy Officer of the Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix) and a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Vet Tix is ranked as the 2016 Top-rated Nonprofit in the United States by GreatNonprofits. Follow Steven Weintraub on Twitter @weintraub_sd.