6 Ways To Actually Support Veterans In Your Community
The veteran community makes up about 1% of the entire population. They are a group of people who decided to forego their own personal goals and were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Some veterans are left with traumatic memories, feelings of guilt, and a skillset that isn’t marketable in the “normal” workforce. It’s important that we come alongside those who gave up so much for us to show them that we appreciate them, and help them where we can. Here are six ways to support veterans in your community.
- Drive A Vet To A Doctors Visit: A number of veterans need to see doctors regularly from exposure in combat, disabilities, and mental health visits. The struggle that many of them face is transportation. It’s not easy to get around when you are limited without a dedicated caretaker. They often forget appointments, or are unable to get the necessary help they need due to being without a vehicle. If you have a neighbor who is a veteran, ask them if you can offer them a ride to wherever they need to go.
- Bring Them/Pay For A Meal: If you spot a veteran in a restaurant, request to pick up their tab. Don’t offer it to them, because odds are, they will decline. Do it anonymously, and watch their gratitude. If you know a veteran nearby, bring them meals to ease the stress of cooking and cleaning. Little acts can mean a great deal.
- Job Training Exercises: Many veterans have training in a very specific skill set, that isn’t always applicable to every day jobs. Help coach them on other occupations that they could enjoy after their life in the military. Show them what certifications to take, and give them tips on how to interact in a civilian workplace environment. Offer financial help to pay for certifications, and/or prep them for interviews.
- Volunteer At Your Local VA Hospital: The VA has been going through a major shift in the past few years. They are improving, but still need as much help as they can get. Offer to help sort files, direct people, answer the phone, or whatever their needs may be.
- Ask Them To Tell Your Their Story: On of the most impactful ways to show you care is to take time out of your life to spend with a veteran. Ask probing questions to see if they want to open up and share about their experience. It can be a lonely life when most everybody around you never lived through what you did. Try to connect with them by trying to understand what life must be like. If they would rather not share about their life, then company and a great conversation will brighten their day.
- Shovel Snow/Yard Maintenance: Offer an act of service in return by shoveling their sidewalk and driveway so they don’t have to. Cut their lawn, or pull some weeds in their flower beds. Help them by doing little chores so they don’t have to worry about it. This is especially important for those who are older or have disabilities, but every veteran deserves an act of kindness.
Sure – fun runs, green lights, and yellow ribbons that “support our troops” are encouraging, but it doesn’t directly touch the life of someone who served our country. Be more proactive and reach out to someone to be their support system. Our veterans need to know that their service mattered. By putting actions behind your words, you’ll show a veteran that they are loved.