With the Atlantic hurricane season heading into its most dangerous months, TRICARE beneficiaries have another means for keeping up with the effects to their coverage. The insurance group has created state-specific e-alerts to inform subscribers how TRICARE has been affected during and after severe weather in their areas. Customers can sign up for the notifications at www.tricare.mil/subscriptions.
Canine partners long have provided comfort to humans with a variety of ailments. USA Battle Buddies exists to form those bonds of support between dogs and combat wounded veterans suffering from physical disabilities and emotional stress related to their military service. The goal is to help these former service members transition more easily to civilian life.
Happy Fourth of July from our team at SIGNAL Magazine!
The Veterans Charity Challenge is giving away $100,000 to charities that support the military community. But that’s only the beginning. Because of the way the contest is set up, participating groups will raise other money for their causes along the way, resulting in higher contribution totals. Here’s how it works.
Klein Tools will donate $25,000 in 2013 to Operation Homefront, an organization that provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of U.S. service members and wounded warriors. The donations are planned to be outright and not connected to any sales or promotion, but Klein is giving its customers a chance to show their support for the military as well. And the opportunity comes with a fancy, exciting name.
Plenty of people say they support the military, but for those looking to put their money where their mouth is, the VA Voluntary Service offers diverse opportunities to help the nation’s veterans. Though the VA is often associated with hospitals, the organization has various facilities where volunteers can make a difference. To learn more, fill out the form posted on the website; it also has an option for people who would rather make a monetary donation than a time donation. The FAQ page has additional information.
An empty seat at a big production does no one any good. So, the Veteran Tickets Foundation provides free or discounted tickets for all sorts of shows and events to members of the military community. Organization personnel work with leagues, groups and venues to obtain the passes and also accept donations of tickets or funds from the general public. The military community can check out the Events section to find out which shows and games are or will be available. To request tickets, users must create an account with the website.
Woo Woo! All aboard! And first in line! Amtrak offers a 10 percent military discount to active-duty troops and their dependents on the lowest available fare on most trains. Troops in uniform also are welcome to jump to the head of the ticket line.
Helping troops wounded in battle is not only patriotic, it also can be a lot of fun. The Gary Sinise Foundation puts on or takes part in many events to help build the community around troops and first responders. One of its initiatives is the Building for America’s Bravest program to construct smart homes for severely wounded veterans. Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band are touring in 2013 to help raise the funds necessary for the effort by selling tickets and seeking sponsorships and donation.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is offering My HealtheVet as the personal health record to help veterans, active-duty troops, dependents and their caregivers partner better with their health care teams. Members of the military community who have not accessed their account in a while will find upgraded features including different levels of accounts. Eligible personnel who have never created an account may want to apply for one now to access all the benefits available.
Many people are familiar with Pat Tillman’s story. He left an NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals to become a U.S. Army Ranger after 9/11 and was subsequently killed in the line of duty. His family and friends started the Pat Tillman Foundation to provide scholarships for military veterans and their spouses. Eligible parties interested in becoming a Tillman Military Scholar can learn more about the criteria online.
The idea that troops and veterans should not come home from war feeling alone or forgotten—especially if they are injured—is a message that many have tried to drive home for years. Quilts of Valor answered the call to action by taking a simple idea and growing it into a huge grass roots effort that has provided tens of thousands of pieces of comfort to returning warfighters and veterans. As the name suggests, these items are large lap quilts that makers offer as a symbol of gratitude from the American people.
Anyone who follows Homefront Help, or veterans news in general, knows that finding meaningful employment for former service members is a serious concern. For that reason, the Code of Support Foundation and a variety of partners are featuring the Musical VETStravaganza on February 17 that salutes veterans and highlights the Hiring Our Heroes program. The show starts at 3 p.m. at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium.
After service members are injured in battle, having their loved ones nearby during recovery can speed the healing process. Luke’s Wings looks to facilitate the rehabilitation by purchasing travel agency services and travel tickets for families. The end result is encouragement and motivation for everyone involved in the situation. But the organization doesn’t stop there. It also fills requests from World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans in care facilities who want to see their loved ones. This Veterans in Hospice Care Program serves as a “final salute” to those who have served their country.
Deployments and mobilizations are hard. To help combat the challenges, the U.S. Defense Department has released Plan My Deployment—a series of tools, checklists and tips to help military families as they deal with separation. The offering applies to active duty, Guard and Reserve troops. Visitors will find resources for the various phases of deployment, from the preparation stage through reintegration.
The NHL strike is over, and amateur hockey is going strong. Defending the Blue Line helps military children enjoy the sport by providing free equipment, hockey camps, special events and financial assistance for other costs associated with playing the game. Families interested in taking advantage of the offerings can learn more on the website. Certain programs and the grants for 2013 open later in the year.
Hockey enthusiasts who want to help out can donate equipment, volunteer or offer services associated with hockey.
For many wounded warfighters, leaving the hospital is only the first step on a long journey toward healing and a renewed sense of belonging in the world. Purple Heart Homes reaches out to such service-connected disabled veterans from any conflict and their caregivers through two specialized programs. Veterans Aging in Place helps older veterans who currently own a home, while the Veteran Home Ownership program aids disabled former troops with becoming homeowners.
The Operation American Dream contest sponsored by Signal 88 Security is taking a veteran “From Battlefield to Boss” by offering start-up money for an entrepreneurial venture. Each month through May 15, eligible veterans can submit a 500-word essay on why they deserve to be their own boss. Three monthly finalists will be selected by Signal 88 Security and the winner will be determined by a public vote. Those winners receive $500 and are eligible for the Grand Prize of $5,000. If the winner decides to open a Signal 88 Security franchise with the winnings, the company will increase the amount to $10,000.
Christmas is almost upon us, and anyone who wants do some extra good with their last-minute spending should check out the USO Wishbook. This alternative giving catalogue enables people to give a gift to someone they know while benefitting the military community. In essence, instead of presenting a material gift directly to a loved one, givers send comforting items to troops, their families or wounded warriors on behalf of that person. After making their purchases, buyers can send e-cards to the original gift recipients (not the military-community members) to let them know about the present bestowed in their honor.
Ever wanted to be one of Santa's elves? Here's the perfect chance to try it out and help wounded warriors at the same time. Operation Covert Santa gathers the wish lists from recently injured troops and their families, removes all identifying information and asks volunteers to supply the presents. All the gifts are given and received anonymously. It isn't charity—it's the magic of Christmas.
Last year, more than 175 elves provided presents for 74 severely injured soldiers and their families. People who want to participate this year can help in several ways:
Donate cash by sending a check made out to the Aleethia Foundation at: