Homefront Help

January 15, 2010

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 Web site, when available.

Quality of Life Plus
Engineering an improved quality of life for those who have served, Quality of Life Plus (QL+) was founded to generate research, development and innovations to aid and improve the quality of life for those injured in the line of duty. The organization has two principal focuses: identifying the challenges of those injured and working with teams of university students and faculty to solve these challenges as part of their educational curriculum. The QL+ Laboratory is a multidisciplinary facility within the College of Engineering at California Polytechnic State University and is the pilot facility for research and development of organization-sponsored innovations. Researchers work to provide solutions to challenges that will improve the quality of life in ways that will enhance injured persons' ability to work, live and play.

QL+ serves disabled military veterans, first responders and those serving on the front lines. The program handles "QL+ challenges," which are recognized limitations or physical restrictions caused by an injury or disability. Though many challenges come from wounded veterans, the program also serves any public servant injured in the line of duty. QL+ wants to reach any individual, family member or caregiver willing to share their situation with the organization in pursuit of a solution.

The answer-finding process begins by identifying specific challenges from the broader disabled community that are not adequately addressed by current research institutions or the commercial market. Innovations focus on solutions rather than commercial viability. Details about how to submit a challenge are available on the Web site. Also available online is more information about the program and donating to the effort.

The USO office at the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport offers many ways for people in the area and from farther away to support troops traveling through the facility. Each day, approximately 150 troops arrive at the airport to begin two weeks of rest and relaxation before returning to Iraq or Afghanistan. The "Welcome Home a Hero" program invites people to come shake their hands and welcome military members home. Interested persons can call (972) 574-0392 the night before for flight number, arrival time and location. Groups of 100 people or more should be scheduled by calling (972) 948-7059. When the troops prepare to depart the airport to return to the Middle East, individuals and groups are encouraged to come thank them as they leave, but these visits must be scheduled. This event happens every day at noon. 

Other ways to help also are available. The DFW USO seeks regular volunteers who serve a minimum of 16 hours a month in places such as the USO center, the United Through Reading Room and the administrative offices. Another way to help is by holding a supply drive to collect items the USO needs. Donations are accepted Monday, Tuesday and Thursday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Book Drives also are encouraged to stock the United Through Reading Room. Here, volunteers record the troops reading books, then the DVD and book are shipped to the service members' children. Additional ways to help include hosting a luncheon for the troops before they return to their duty stations and making financial donations to the organization.

More information about all the programs, including a list of needed items and additional contact information, is available on the Web site. 

U.S. Troop Care Package
This all-volunteer organization sends care packages and letters to troops serving overseas and those who have been wounded. People interested in helping can send in needed items, donate funds or volunteer. Family and friends are invited to submit the names and addresses of their loved ones so the group can send them a package. A calendar of events, letters from the troops and comments from donors, contact and donation information, and more is available on the Web site.


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 SIGNAL's news editor.

The SIGNAL Connections staff has made every effort to verify the legitimacy of these programs and to include information accurate at the time of publication. Inclusion in this column does not constitute an endorsement by AFCEA International or SIGNAL Connections. 


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