My good friends. Mike was gracious to allow me some space to share some Veterans Day info with you – and hopefully you will share these bits with anyone you know who is a veteran themselves.
I was asked to be the keynote speaker for three separate Veterans Day ceremonies this last week – I put together a not-too-long speech for those gatherings and it is posted below – I’ve delivered it two times in the last three days and will once more tomorrow at a rather large gathering – its been pretty well received so far (fingers crossed for the last one). Here is the speech and one of the flyers:
You can tell I got pretty choked up at the end there – this stuff hits home hard sometimes.
There are tons of opportunities for anyone who wants to get involved with volunteering with Veterans issues and with today’s military. Currently I’m working with two different hospices to provide ‘End of Life Recognition” ceremonies. That entails going to hospices, hospitals or the veterans’ home, wherever they are spending their last days, and presenting him or her with a certificate of recognition for their military service. I try to find out as much as I can about what they did in-service then I take time to have a honest conversation, thank them formally, pin a special service medal on them then give them a last salute. So far I’ve done 33 of those this year. Our WWII vets are almost all gone now so we are scrambling around to find those who we can help.
I also work with local homeless shelters and we beat the woods to find veterans who may qualify for VA benefits they either don’t know about or are scared to pursue. Sadly there are many out there – here in Howard County, MD alone I’ve worked as a liaison between the Disabled American Veterans ( DAV – a great place to start the process) and 12 homeless veterans to get them VA Disability benefits – two of those Vets had families living in tents with them. Now they all have at least enough money to get a place to live and feed themselves. There are more out there in every part of the US – we just have to find them and get them what they deserve.
The reason I go into detail above about these efforts is to show that in just this small part of our country there are many, many vets who need help… and those are just two of many ways to do so.
I guess you can see why I’ve been really too busy to enjoy and talk about football much …but how about those Panthers, huh! We could see our first nine win season in some time and kudos to the staff and players. I’ll have to watch the NC game on Thursday. (I’d get Patti into the mix big time in Spring Drills though).
As always I strongly encourage all Veterans to go onto the Veterans Administration website and create an account so you can start accessing ALL of your benefits. As always if anyone has any questions whatsoever please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll discuss your situation and I’ll work my ass off get you or whoever you know the help they need. Nothing is more important.
Please don’t think asking for help is in any way a sign of weakness or receiving some sort of charity – nothing is further than the truth. These are benefits you both earned and paid your taxes into – if you qualify for it then it is yours to have. Again, if you have any doubts whatsoever and contact me. I myself have a severe case of PTSD from my years in Search and Rescue (it’s great when you find them and pure Hell when you don’t) and it is nothing at all to be ashamed of.
Here are a few links to get you or someone you know started – first I suggest every person who served in the military for any length of time to create account an on VA.Gov and get a hard copy of their DD-214 Discharge Papers. Once that is in hand we can move forward. Here are some VA links to help get you informed: