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Ideas for Honoring Our Veterans

act-veterans-saluteVeterans Day is incredibly important to me.  Thanking our veterans for their incredible service is one of my most important missions.  In fact, I was the National Commander for the DAVA, the year I founded A Creative Touch.  Volunteer work and advocacy for our servicemen and women is still a large part of my life today; I volunteer 2-3 days per week, and I am always inspired by the courage and commitment of our veterans.  I encourage others to get involved, too!

Since Veterans Day, which honors all service members, is just around the corner, there are several ways you can celebrate our military:

  • Observe Veterans Day on November 11th by attending services and events in your local community.
  • Volunteer with your local VA facility or donate to the VA here .
  • Document and learn about veteran service through the Veterans History Project, a Library of Congress program that collects and archives oral histories (interviews) from veterans. You can even volunteer to gather histories from your local veterans, if you are a student in the 10th grade or higher. Many Eagle Scouts participate in this program, so inquire with your local troop if your child is an Eagle Scout. If you are a parent, teacher, librarian, scout guide, or involved in an organization for children and teens, this website also has resources to highlight the importance of Veterans’ Day to future generations.
  • For younger students, the “Take A Veteran to School Day” program-created by the History Channel-is an opportunity to increase awareness about Veterans’ Day but bringing a veteran to your school to speak to a class or student assembly.
  • The VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Foundation has created a campaign called “Return the Favor,” which allows volunteers to leave virtual thank you notes to veterans, volunteers to donate to VFW efforts, and lists special events organized by the VFW.
  • Another way to volunteer for our veterans is by contacting organizations that provide care packages and other items to individual veterans and VA clinics. As one elderly veteran told the Lincoln (NE) JournalStar newspaper, a care package shows that “somebody cares” about them.
  • Operation Gratitude is an organization that delivers care packages to active duty military overseas and was the first organization to send care packages to our veterans at home. As founder Carolyn Blashek says here, “it is never too late to say thank you” to our veterans for their sacrifices. One of Operation Gratitude’s programs is a monthly care package service–you can send one veteran of World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War one care package every month! You can also write a letter to a veteran as an individual or group.
  • Create a blanket for a veteran with Soldiers’ Angels “Blankets of Gratitude” program. Visit their website for instructions on how to knit a blanket for a veteran and join their Sewing Team.
  • Donate toys, services, and funds to Operation Homefront, an organization that provides a variety of services to active duty military, veterans, and their families.
  • You can also organize an independent local effort through your church, employer, or other organization. For example, employees of the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences program created their own care packages for veterans at a Little Rock facility. Working with the Red Cross, local school children, and raising over six hundred dollars of their own funds, these employees created 125 care packages, a video tribute, and even held a Veterans Education and Benefits fair “where 20 veterans’ organizations and agencies were on hand to answer questions about retirement and health benefits, education opportunities, counseling and other issues.”  If your company or organization decides to take on a care package project, A Creative Touch can help with the selection of items to include.

Please join me in celebrating veterans in your community this year!

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