Homefront Help

July 15, 2010
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.

Blue Star Museums

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. The program is available to bearers of a Geneva Conventions common access card, a DD Form 1173 identification card or a DD form 1173-1 identification card, and five immediate family members. On the website, an interactive map of the United States enables users to click specific states to find participating museums and links to their sites. People who take advantage of the free admission are encouraged to share their experiences on the Blue Star Museums Blog.

Warfighter Poems Wanted

The Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) is looking for poems to post on its blog. According to an explanatory post, "It doesn’t matter if you are a service member, a loved one or a caring citizen; we want to read and share the poems you’ve written that express your thoughts and experiences – hardships and joys." The blog also states that "the tradition of warrior poetry is thousands of years old. For as long as wars have been fought, soldiers have expressed their feelings and experiences with poems and creative writing – a powerful outlet to help heal the invisible wounds of war and foster an unprecedented level of understanding."

Some writings already are posted to provide inspirations for burgeoning poets. Poems should be one page or less and placed in the body of an e-mail. Contact information should be included as well. Complete submission rules and the comment policy regulations are available on the website.

EOD Honored at Navy Memorial

The U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., is hosting a special exhibit until March 2011 that honors military explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) personnel. The display includes an authentic bomb disposal suit and robot as well as details about the history, methods and personnel involved in this dangerous line of work. Jones International University is sponsoring the exhibit, which the school believes pays homage to EOD warfighters from all military branches who risk their lives for their country. The university offers programs tailored to military members' needs. In addition to the description and photos of the EOD exhibit on the Navy Memorial website, visitors can find more information about public and private events and the "Year of Navy Supply" exhibit, which also runs through next March.

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.