Homefront Help

March 15, 2010
by Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

HOMEFRONT HELP

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. 

National Military Family Association
This organization works with and testifies before Congress on behalf of military families and reaches out to those families to help them become their own advocates. Members and leaders of the association are military family members themselves so they truly understand the lifestyle. The group performs more direct outreach by answering questions and directing people to the right resources. Anyone who needs help learning more about educational opportunities, understanding legislation that affects the military or navigating health care options can call or e-mail the association for assistance.

The association’s programs also include a scholarship fund for military spouses; “Operation Purple,” which runs various programs for military children; and award distribution to recognize people who support military communities. Each year, the group presents a Military Family of the Year award and recognizes two volunteers for service to the association.

On the Web site, visitors can obtain more information about the benefits available to military families as well as how to volunteer, contact the association and donate. The "Your Benefits" section breaks down benefits into eight categories ranging from food and shopping to wounded warriors. Under the "Get Info" tab, visitors can choose from specific topics and read additional information about those subjects. The home page features alternating items that are of immediate interest to the military family community.

Veterans History Project 10th Anniversary
The Veterans History Project (VHP) celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and will mark the occasion with a series of events and initiatives. These include the launch of a toolkit to help project contributors plan local events and develop community engagement programs; events to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War; initiatives to gather more stories about minority and women veterans; and online and in-person programs to mark cultural heritage months.

The VHP is part of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center and has a congressional mandate to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of U.S. veterans. Contributors have recorded and submitted more than 68,000 personal recollections, making it the largest oral history collection in the country. A network of individual and organizational volunteers make the project possible by recording stories, submitting photographs, diaries, letters and other personal documents that tell the history of the United States during wartime from the perspective of the people who were there. Past successes include a National Teach-In webcast that reached more than 2,000 schools, additional Web presentations and two published books. More information on the programs, the VHP and contact information can be found on the Library of Congress News Releases Web page. Additional resources and information are posted on the VHP site.

Wounded Warrior Commemorative Pen
Cotapaxi's Wounded Warrior Pen offers the public an opportunity to buy a writing instrument and support injured troops at the same time. The pen has an American Flag design, a Wounded Warrior Project emblem and the words "Always Remember" displayed on the outside. Part of every purchase goes to support the Wounded Warrior Project. Pens cost $25 with shipping included and can be ordered from the Web site. For an additional $5, visitors can order a display case. More information about the pen and the project, including images, can be found online.

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.

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