There are many challenges facing veterans and their families in life after the military, making community support essential for them, which is why organizations often encourage people to get involved in various volunteering opportunities to help out.
As former congressman Jeff Miller, who chaired the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs before retiring from Congress last year, once said: “The willingness of America's veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude,” according to Inc.com.
Gratitude comes in many forms, including reaching out to those in need, and here are seven of the best volunteering opportunities that you can get involved in to help military veterans:
1. Disabled American Veterans— Since 1920, this nonprofit charity has offered essential services to disabled veterans and their families, from transporting veterans to medical appointments to assisting with benefit claims and even job placement. There are a number of ways to get involved at DAV, including volunteering at VA hospitals, driving veterans to appointments and providing help according to individual needs.
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2. The United Service Organization— The role of this organization is to provide specialized recreation-based programs and services to veterans and their families. USO also provides entertainment, internet, and email access to troops, as well as support and counseling for families. Volunteers can help out at a special event, work the front desk, or provide a listening ear.
3. Hire Heroes USA— Finding work after life in the military can be difficult, which is where Hire Heroes USA comes in. The organization focuses on veteran and military spouse employment and always needs volunteers who can help with mock interviews, career counselling, fundraising, photography, and outreach.
4. Wounded Warrior Project— For 15 years WWP has provided family support and coaching, skill-building, physical training and numerous other essential services to wounded service members. There are several volunteering opportunities within the organization such as hosting fundraisers and offering emotional support to wounded soldiers.
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5. Honor Flight Network— This nonprofit organization was created specifically to honor U.S. veterans for their sacrifices by transporting them to Washington, D.C., to "visit and reflect at their memorials." Volunteers can dedicate their time to being a guardian and escorting these veterans on their trips.
6. Operation Gratitude— This volunteer run organization sends care packages to veterans as well as wounded service members and their caregivers as a token of gratitude. You can get involved by writing a letter, knitting a scarf, organizing a collection drive, or engaging in the organization's various other initiatives.
7. VA Voluntary Service— VAVS provides for veterans undergoing care at VA facilities and volunteers can help by driving or accompanying vets to appointments or providing help at veteran outreach centers, hospital wards, and nursing homes.
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