Homefront Help

July 15, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

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.

T.A.M.P.A. USMC Family Support

Since 2004, this organization has offered support to Marines and their loved ones in Florida. In addition to working for active-duty families, the group reaches out to reservists, retired Marines, veterans, wounded warriors and those in boot camp or the delayed entry program. "Family" includes not only spouses and children but also mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents and friends. Gold and Silver Star families are always welcome to seek support as well. Though dedicated to the Devil Dog community, the organization extends its outreach to include all military branches and other patriotic supporters.

T.A.M.P.A. USMC Family Support runs several events—such as sending injured troops on vacations or recycling cell phones—throughout the year to raise funds and awareness for the military community. On August 21, the group will hold its 4th annual Run for the Fallen. The free event is a one-mile walk or 5K run starting at E.G. Simmons Park. Last year more than 750 people watched or attended, and this year the goal is to exceed 1,000 people. The group aims to have at least one participant to represent each fallen military member from Florida. Anyone interested in preregistering, donating, volunteering or additional information should contact R4F@usmcfamilysupport.org

Real Warriors Social Media

The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) launched  Real Warriors in 2007 to help returning service members, veterans and their loved ones deal with invisible wounds such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. This program spreads the word about available resources as well as produces stories about troops who have sought treatment for these often-stigmatized problems and gone on to successful military or civilian careers.

Recently, the DCoE made a stronger push in the social-media realm to connect the wounded and further promote resources. In addition to opening Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TroopTube accounts, Real Warriors is using Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon as well as various message boards.

Welcome Home Blog

This website is both heartwarming and simple. Military families submit the videos and stories of their loved ones' return from deployment for others to enjoy. The content allows creators to share their happiness while the general public receives a personal glimpse into the sacrifices made by the defense community. By piping content to Facebook, Welcome Home Blog creates an interactive environment in which people can connect and communicate. Those who would like to share their videos can send content to welcomehomeblog@gmail.com. When you visit the site, be warned—you might want to keep a box of tissues handy.

The SIGNAL Connections staff 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 Rita Boland, SIGNAL's news editor.