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Homefront Help

March 15, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections
E-mail About the Author

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between. In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization's website, when available. Homefront Help also has a Facebook page where visitors can gather and share information.

Jammies for GIs

When sick and wounded troops are evacuated out of war zones, they often arrive at military hospitals with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, and those are often damaged from battle or purposely cut to treat wounds. This leaves injured warfighters little recourse other than to use their own money to purchase the basic personal effects they require. Enter Jammies for GIs. Despite the name, the group does more than hand out nightwear. It works to provide a clean change of clothes, entertainment and other goods to those who came to harm fighting for their country.

Jammies for GIs relies on volunteers and donations to carry out its mission. Anyone who would like to get involved is encouraged to visit the organization's website for volunteer and donation ideas. Hospital staff members who have identified needs within their unit can contact Jammies for GIs, which will do its best to fill the gaps.  

Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration

This initiative launched by the U.S. Defense Department has several purposes to recognize the varied sacrifices and triumphs of the Vietnam War. The goals encompass thanking and honoring Vietnam veterans including those held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action; highlighting the service of the armed forces and other organizations and agencies who supported them; and paying tribute to contributions made on the homefront by the American people. In addition, organizers hope to draw attention to advances in technology, science and medicine because of research conducted during the conflict and to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of U.S. allies during the war.

The Defense Department plans to coordinate with federal agencies, veteran groups, local governments and nongovernment organizations for input on activities. Interested parties can visit the website or call 877-387-9951 for more information.

T2 Virtual PTSD Experience

Designed to educate people about and assist with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this virtual experience in Second Life offers access to several beneficial simulations. Visitors can learn how PTSD can be acquired as well as triggers and avoidance issues and why PTSD is a normal human response. Through interactive activities, the environment helps users learn how symptoms can manifest and provides information about how to diagnose the syndrome and access care resources.

The NationalCenter for Telehealth and Technology (T2) developed the simulation to help veterans and their loved ones anonymously learn more about PTSD. By making the resource available in the privacy of people's homes, the Defense Department hopes users will feel more comfortable, reducing the perceived stigma of asking for help.

To take advantage of the experience, users must create a Second Life avatar. For those without an account, instructions to obtain one are posted on the PTSD Experience website, along with more detailed information and graphics as well as a direct link to the correct region in the online world environment.

 

The SIGNAL Connectionsstaff encourages readers to take advantage of the programs mentioned in this column and to pass along the information. In addition, if you know of a program that is helping service personnel, please let us know about it. Submit that information to SIGNAL's news editor.