You probably have friends or family members who are military veterans. You want to show admiration and appreciation for their courage, but knowing how to reach out to them can be challenging. The following list may help.
Make Contact Regularly
Let your loved ones know you care about them. Make it a point to call them or send a letter, email or text every couple of months. This may lead to some lively discussions about your loved one’s military service or about other issues.
Listen to Your Loved One
Some veterans are reluctant to talk about their time in the military. You can open the door by saying something like, “If you’d like to talk about being in the military I’d be honored to listen,” or “I see you have a Purple Heart. Can you tell me how you earned that?” Don’t try to force your loved one to talk if he or she isn’t interested. Some veterans have had experiences they’d rather keep to themselves.
Write a Thank You Note
Every Veteran’s Day, send thank you notes to the important veteran’s in your life. The cards don’t have to be long – just a quick note expressing your appreciation for what they have done for their country.
Offer Home Repair or Home Cleaning
Veterans who are getting up in years or veterans who have received disabling injuries may need help around the house. For instance you might need to clear their sidewalks after a snowstorm, mow their lawns or clean out their gutters. Making the offer to do these things can be awkward. Sometimes it’s best to just go ahead and fill in where you see the need.
Make a Donation
Make a donation to a veteran’s organization or an organization that benefits military personnel in your loved one’s name. There are several programs that have been founded to help veterans and people in the military like Homes for Our Troops and the USO. Military.com offers descriptions of and links to the most reputable sites.
Help with Paperwork
The United States has many programs in place for veterans including medical services through the VA, home loans, pensions, and financial assistance for disabled or aged veterans with a low income. The problem is that government papers are notoriously difficult to fill out. You can help your loved one discover what he or she might be eligible for, gather the necessary documents and complete the paperwork.You can also help your loved one get in touch with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars or VFW. They can help you with documents if you get stuck.
There are many ways to honor the military heroes in your life. Don’t be shy about reaching out. Everybody likes to be appreciated.