Operation Gratitude supports deployed warfighters by working to provide them with care packages and letters from groups and individuals back home. It sets itself apart from similar organizations by also bringing items to troops undergoing long-term rehabilitation at several military hospitals.
Supporting the Troops
Two U.S. Army officers who recently returned from deployments to Iraq each have the same advice for industry members who want to help soldiers-hire troops when they separate from the military.
Entertainment, lodging and vehicles may seem like obvious choices for military discounts-but home power systems? Activity duty and retired military members in San Diego County, California, can enjoy price breaks on that, too, thanks to a deal by Stellar Solar.
Active duty, Reserve and Guard military members from any branch of service, including the Coast Guard, who want new wheels can take advantage of discounts on 2010 and 2011 Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles.
Orlando is a fun-filled vacation destination and many of the theme parks and hotels in the city offer exclusive deals for the military community.
This all-volunteer organization, more commonly referred to as SKIP, sends care packages to deployed service members. Though many groups across the country perform the same activity, SKIP also works to cooperate with other organizations to enhance the support troops receive.
Returning Heroes Home offers a place for wounded warriors and their families at the San Antonio Military Medical Center burn unit and the Center for the Intrepid to recover, rest and find support.
Military personnel serving overseas can record a bedtime story and send it to their children for free thanks to an iPhone app called A Story Before Bed. The program offers 100,000 free recordings to help troops connect with loved ones back home.
AdoptAPlatoon allows organizations to adopt units of troops to send them packages and letters. But the effort goes much further, including: adoptions of military members by individuals or groups; a pen-pal option; one-time support opportunities; support for special operations forces; and holiday and special campaigns.
Get out your good luck charms and join the USO of Metropolitan Washington (USO-Metro) for its 7th Annual Casino Night on October 15th at the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. All proceeds will benefit the USO-Metro's programs for the capital area's service members and their families.
The Armed Services Mutual Benefit Association (ASMBA) STAR Foundation is a voluntary group that assists members of the military community by awarding funds to organizations that support them. Grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations that provide services to troops, veterans and their families as well as their communities.
Heroes on the Water serves wounded and disabled active duty, Reserve and Guard troops. The group aims to help injured warfighters recover mentally and physically through the therapeutic qualities of fishing from kayaks.
The Defense Department's medical branch creates an iPhone application called iBreathe to help military personnel and veterans handle stressful situations by practicing relaxed breathing.
"Support. Defend. Fish." That's the motto of the Army Bass Anglers, a group made up of active duty military members and veterans who compete in fishing tournaments to raise awareness for Returning Heroes Home and Fishing For Freedom events.
Blue Star Families and the National Endowment for the Arts have partnered to create the Blue Star Museums, a group of 750 museums in all 50 states that offer free admission to military personnel and their families through Labor Day, September 6, 2010.
Outback Steakhouse has pledged $1 million to Operation Homefront, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency and morale support for active troops, veterans and their families. The public can help the restaurant chain meet its obligation by dining at Outback restaurants in the United States during the month of March and ordering off the "Red, White and Bloomin'" menu.
The name says it all. This organization connects Americans with deployed military members, enabling participants to choose their level of involvement, from writing letters to sending entire care packages.
For several years Fumar Cigars has partnered with Blue Star Moms to send boxes of cigars to troops deployed in the Middle East. In collaboration with Oliva Tobacco, the company manufactures cigars with logos for all five branches of the armed forces. Anyone interested can sponsor a box, which will be matched one-for-one.
Boatsie's Boxes started out sending packages to the base hospital in Balad, Iraq, and now gives goodies to several military hospitals as well as young troops deployed for the first time. In addition, through help from service members, items now are reaching the front lines of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the sphere of military community support, Army Community Covenant operates at the strategic level. The organization aims at raising awareness and encouraging businesses, agencies and groups at the local and state levels to create and foster state and community partnerships that assist service members. The first phase of the program is the signing of the Community Covenant. Each community determines its own wording for the document and decides on the number of signatories, usually between 16 and 20 people.