Supporting Our Veterans

August 23, 2012
By Rita Boland

This first WonWorld campaign is nothing if not ambitious. Honor our Heroes aims to raise $300 million for the military relief societies that provide direct assistance to military families. The organization further expects to create an ongoing revenue stream of up to $120 million for those groups. To raise all that money, WonWorld plans to sell 60 million armbands for $5 each. Relief funds and their corporate supporters will help sell the items, or people can order packs containing between two and 100 bands. Each military service has a band designed specifically for it.

July 19, 2012
By Rita Boland

The Veterans Curation Program (VCP) is solving the mysteries of yesterday by addressing a problem of today. This U.S. Army Corps of Engineers effort seeks to hire veterans from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan-especially veterans with service-connected disabilities-to clean and repackage archeological items. The work helps resolve two issues: veterans' unemployment routinely is higher than the national average and government analysis suggests a backlog of up to 30 years on the artifact work.

June 21, 2012
By Rita Boland

SAIC is working hard to hire more injured veterans through its Wounded Warrior Hiring Initiative. The effort gives these veterans first crack at certain employment opportunities open in the company. Positions are located across the country in different disciplines. Jonathan Cisneros, the staffing assistant dedicated to the program, is a wounded warrior who works hard to find careers for his fellow veterans. When someone applies for one of the featured positions, he works with the hiring managers to find the right fit.

June 7, 2012
By Rita Boland

The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAM) offers 12 months of training assistance in high-demand occupations to veterans who meet certain criteria regarding age, employment and compensation. From July through September, the program can accept 45,000 participants. Between October and March 2013, 54,000 participants can qualify. The monthly full payment rate currently is set at $1,473 per month. The U.S. Department of Labor will offer employment assistance to every participating veteran upon completion of training.

May 25, 2012
By Jonathan Cisneros

I always look forward to Memorial Day just for the fact that we get to celebrate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and not to mention, it always falls on my birthday or the day after. For those who have lost their lives and for the Wounded Warriors that now have long roads to recovery, we owe them the homage and the support they ultimately deserve. As we all get ready to bust out our grills, head to the pools and begin our shopping sprees, we should all take a moment and thank those who have given us the freedom to do these activities. Today I am greatly appreciative of the opportunity I have to help our Wounded Warriors and their families.

May 18, 2012
By Henry Kenyon

On a (very) hot recent Saturday in a suburb of Tampa, Florida, two soldiers put on their scuba gear and slipped below the water's surface to train for an upcoming journey to another country. Their plan is not to infiltrate hostile territory, recue a hostage nor capture an enemy. No, their goal is to swim under the ocean even though on land they navigate the terrain in wheelchairs.

May 17, 2012
By Rita Boland

Ahoy matey! Whether you're looking to explore the seas with the modern equivalents of peg legs and eye patches, or seeking to share your bounty with deserving warriors, Dive Pirates is the place for you. The foundation trains, equips and provides one dive trip out of the country for individuals with disabilities-including service members injured in the line of duty-through adaptive scuba diving. Volunteers serve as trainers and buddies in the program and donations pay for the cost of equipment and trips.

May 10, 2012
By Rita Boland

All right veterans, spruce up those résumés and get ready to search for jobs. America Wants You is a portion of CareerBuilder.com dedicated exclusively to helping veterans find employment. Former military members can search through the posted job listings to find a desirable position; thousands of available opportunities currently are posted. Media campaigns are in place to encourage employers and potential employees to take advantage of the offerings, creating a market that benefits all parties. As part of the campaign, celebrities have recorded video messages urging companies to hire veterans.

September 13, 2012
By Rita Boland

Hotels for Heroes offers free hotel rooms to wounded, injured and ill service members who are undergoing treatment at military or Veterans Affairs medical centers or who need to attend certain events. Administered by the Fisher House Foundation—an organization long known for providing accommodations and support to military families—the program provides its rooms through hotel-point donations from individuals. It's the perfect opportunity to combine point numbers too small for a free stay with donations from others. All requests for rooms received by Hotels for Heroes are vetted through authorized officials.

September 6, 2012
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Defense Department's Valor website pays homage to troops who have earned the country's highest decorations for bravery. Recipients of the Medal of Honor and each service's cross award are listed. The department is working on listing Silver Star honorees as well. Anyone unfamiliar with the various medals can read the descriptions of them to learn more. The site also provides links to each military branch's own awards Web page. Homefront Help also has a Facebook page where visitors can gather and share information.

May 3, 2012
By Rita Boland

The three-day Horses for Veterans workshops help former troops cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD, through interactions with horses. By establishing trusting relationships with the equines without a need to use force, veterans can gain skills for improving and moving forward with their lives. The free workshops take place periodically at Flag is Up Farms in Solvang, California. A video showing actual footage from a workshop last year demonstrates the types of activities participants will experience.

April 19, 2012
By Rita Boland

Just when you think Disney can't get any better, it goes and announces the Heroes Work Here initiative. Over the next three years, the company has pledged to provide at least 1,000 jobs and career opportunities for returning U.S. veterans. It also will support troops and their families as they transition to civilian life and will launch a national public awareness campaign to encourage job opportunities for veterans.

March 29, 2012
By Rita Boland

The mobile app challenge Project REACH-for Real-time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless-is a contest to develop an app that will provide easy access to resources that the homeless, caregivers and caseworkers need. The technology will benefit the wider homeless community and will be relevant for many former service members. The government estimates that more than 67,000 veterans are homeless accounting for about 14 percent of all such adults. The event is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) through the VA Innovation Initiative.

March 1, 2012
By Rita Boland

Homes on the Homefront is more than just a catchy name. This partnership between Operation Homefront and Chase Bank will give at least 100 wounded-warrior, military and veterans' families their own permanent homes this year. In addition, selectees will receive financial counseling. First priority will go to families currently living in Operation Homefront Village.

March 1, 2012
By Rita Boland

For the past 40 years, Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) has been working to boost the morale of former service members in VA medical centers, military hospitals and state veterans homes. The organization provides arts and crafts supplies to patients, giving them an activity that engages the mind and fine motor skills. More than 300 kits are available, so veterans can select the ones suited to their personal needs. Since 1971, more than 27 million free kits have been handed out.

February 16, 2012
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Veterans Affairs Department (VA) has put 20 extra Mobile Vet Centers on the road to increase access to readjustment counseling services for veterans and their family members living in rural or underserved communities. Each vehicle serves as an office on wheels with space dedicated to confidential counseling and a high-tech communications package. These mobile centers also can provide emergency support for national disasters and will be located across the country.

February 13, 2012
By Rita Boland

This week marks the VA's National Salute to Veteran Patients, a celebration dedicated to expressing gratitude and respect for our nation's veterans and to encourage the public to reach out to them. It's the perfect time of year to send a card to or pay a visit to a hospitalized veteran. The VA also encourages people to learn about volunteering at its many care facilities across the nation.

To find more information about the 2012 National Salute program and how to get involved in your area, check out the website. Make a sick or wounded veteran your special Valentine!

 

February 9, 2012
By Rita Boland

The hard-and-fast, no-exceptions deadline to apply for the Scholarships for Military Children Program is fast approaching. All applications must be received at eligible military commissaries by February 24. At least one $1,500 scholarship will be awarded at each commissary location where qualified applications are received. More than one scholarship may be handed out depending on response and funding. Recipients can use the awards for tuition, books, lab fees and other education-related expenses. 

January 19, 2012
By Rita Boland

American Hometown Heroes is an initiative launched late last year by a coalition of independent Yellow Pages publishers. It aims to give veterans a leg up on becoming entrepreneurs and to reduce the high numbers of unemployment and underemployment among those who have served in the U.S. military. The involved partners offer business and professional advice to veterans starting companies in the communities the publishers serve. Approved grant applicants will receive free online and Yellow Pages advertising along with help throughout the first year of starting a new business.

December 22, 2011
By Rita Boland

During a horrific battle in Afghanistan, Sgt. Dakota Meyer, USMC, saved the lives of 13 U.S. Marines and soldiers and 23 Afghans, enduring injuries to himself in the process; he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor. Sgt. Meyer showed more dedication to others in that single firefight than most will do in their entire lives, but instead of resting on his laurels, he has embarked on a new venture to help his fellow Marines. The hero has partnered with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation to create the Sergeant Dakota Meyer Scholarship for the children of wounded Marines and Navy Corpsmen.

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