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.
Military members injured in combat who need reconstructive limb or face surgery, or help overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder, can take advantage of Operation Mend's treatment and follow-up support to find the care they need. The partnership is an effort among the Ronald Reagan University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center, the San Antonio Military Medical Center (formerly Brooke Army Medical Center) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs–Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Procedures and counseling are provided at the UCLA facility, which U.S. News and World Report ranked as one of the top five hospitals in the country on its 2010 honor roll.
Warfighters are encouraged to bring loved ones along and are requested to have at least one person accompany them to assist after surgery and through recovery. UCLA representatives meet patients at the airport and provide transportation to the on-campus Tiverton House, where patients and families reside during the process. The services are available to anyone who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Operation Mend has procedures and agreements in place to cover costs so patients never pay for treatment.
The organization's website has more information about the project including how to determine eligibility, photos, videos and stories about current patients. Anyone who wants to learn more about volunteering or donating also can find more information online. People who reside in the Los Angeles area can take part in the Operation Mend Buddy Family program, which matches Operation Mend participants with families who live close to UCLA and can provide extra comfort, care and fun for wounded warriors and their loved ones.
Sea Service Leadership Association
This nonprofit, nonpolitical organization is dedicated to providing professional development to women in all three of the U.S. maritime armed forces—the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Established in 1978, the Sea Service Leadership Association (SSLA) offers networking, education and mentorship opportunities. The association holds various events throughout the year, including the Women's Leadership Symposium, which will take place on March 15 and 16 in San Diego. Attendees can register online until March 7, 2011. The theme is "Connect. Empower. Succeed." The symposium will offer attendees an opportunity to focus on their leadership abilities and will highlight the achievements of women leaders on the front lines.
More information about the conference is available on the website, where visitors also can learn about membership, chapters and SSLA leaders.
Homefront Help on Facebook
Homefront Help has its own Facebook page and anyone interested in supporting the military community is invited to "like" the page and share thoughts and ideas. In addition to posting the items covered in this monthly column, the page includes time-sensitive announcements and information about upcoming events. All groups that offer assistance to the military community are encouraged to use the resource as a forum to pass the word about activities; more casual visitors can mention useful programs they know. Those who have received help from organizations are welcome to share their experiences so others can benefit as well. This is also a great place for suggestions that could further the effort to give U.S. service members, veterans and their families the thanks and support they deserve.
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.