The United States of America is a great Country, in part due to our Veterans. These are brave men and women who serve in our military, during peace time and war.
To serve in this manner means being willing to leave family and friends behind to serve others whom they have never met and probably never will. They serve for those who appreciate them, and for those who don’t.
These soldiers and Veterans know what it is like to leave a comfortable, safe home behind and deploy to war-torn countries and sleep on bunks, the ground or leaning against a wall. Luxuries are non-existent. Food and water isn’t cooked on Grandma’s stove. Their hours are unpredictable, and their chances of coming home alive and in one piece isn’t promised.
Some soldiers and Veterans may never see war. Instead, they are quietly working behind the scenes to maintain vehicles, organize food shipments, and covering their physical and mental health issues. Some serve as guards for bases – others keep the bases in working order.
This doesn’t mean they are any less deserving of our appreciation. These soldiers and veterans work just as hard to provide security for our country as the others. They are the grease that keeps the wheels of freedom protected and working smoothly.
It doesn’t matter what their duty assignments are. Every last one of them are still willing to sign up, suit up and stand up. For everything they believe in – a country that lives in freedom.
You may know an enlisted soldier or a veteran. Most of us don’t. We would love to show them our appreciation of their service, but don’t know how. There are more ways than you can imagine. Some are easy. Some are not very expensive. And some can cost as much as you have to give.
But they all deserve our gratitude. We need to tell them how much we appreciate their dedication to this country, and recognize that WE are the people they knowingly and willingly serve. To do such a thing means they must love us and this country very much. Let’s find ways to love them back.
Free and Low Cost Ways to thank a Veteran or Soldier
1. Say ‘Thank You’. It doesn’t cost you a penny to walk up to a group of Veterans or soldiers and tell them how much you appreciate their service.
2. Buy them a cup of coffee. Many of our veterans and service members take advantage of fast food restaurants due to time and money constraints. It costs less than a dollar to buy their coffee or soft drink. If you are in a restaurant, consider buying their meal. They will not only appreciate the gesture, but your gratitude touches their heart.
3. Write a ‘thank you’ note. Any Soldier is an organization that allows you to pick and choose a soldier to write to – or allows you to address your letter to ‘any soldier’. This lets those who are deployed receive mail from home and know how much they are appreciated. You can mail a simple card or letter – or send them a care package.
4. Care packages – Soldiers and veterans both love receiving items they can’t always get for themselves. For soldiers, this can be items such as socks, books, baked good, non-melting candy, a deck of cards, puzzle books and so much more. A great addition are 30 note cards of appreciation – one for every day for a month. For more ideas check out the list at Veterans United. To know what you CANNOT send, visit the USPS for a list of prohibited items.
5. Veterans who are no longer active should STILL be recognized for their service to our country. Send them a thank you note and a care package. Buy their coffee or a meal. Do for them what you would do for an active duty soldier. Don’t let them be forgotten!
6. Don’t forget the veterans who are hospitalized. If possible, schedule one day a week or month to just sit and visit with them (please follow hospital rules and regulations for this!). You can also send books, magazines, puzzles, games, snacks and other care packages to them.
7. Pray for them. Pray for our Veterans, our Soldiers and our country each and every day.
Help Veterans or Soldiers by Taking Care of their Family
The families who are left behind serve this country as much as their soldier does. Once their soldier is deployed, they become the Everything for their home. They cook, clean, do yard work, raise children, and so much more.
Some veterans are unable to do these things, even if they are at home. Show your appreciation by:
- Offering free babysitting services.
- Cook a meal and deliver it.
- Yard and/or House Work
- Run errands
- Wash their car
- Take them for coffee (or a meal) and offer a listening ear
- Offer transportation – especially to disabled veterans
- House Sitting/ Pet Care
- If you are a close friend, offer to be their ‘Filing Cabinet’. A person with this title will keep a copy of any documents, important records and contact information that may be needed in a time of emergency, when the family member is under duress.
Hire a Veteran
Many veterans are on a fixed income, but still want to work. With job sources sometimes difficult to find, one-time or part time work can be helpful to their bottom line.
Many veterans can do skilled labor as well as unskilled. Hire them to do simple jobs, such as yard work or changing the oil in your vehicle. Auto maintenance, home repairs and painting are other skills some veterans have.
There are Veterans groups that can always use your help. Many depend on volunteer services to provide as much help for our veterans and soldiers around the world.
Attend any ‘For Veterans’ events in your area. Access passes and proceeds usually go to the group hosting the event.
You can donate anything from time, money and air miles. To donate to an organization, check out any of the groups listed above, or one of these:
Just say ‘Thank You’
There are so many ways you can thank a soldier or veteran. It may be small, but every kind gesture is more than appreciated.
Do you love living in a free country? Do you enjoy the freedom to come and go as you please, live the life you choose, or have the job and income you need to provide for your family?
Then thank a Veteran or a soldier. It is by their service and sacrifice that we live in a country as wonderful as the United States of America.