Doing It on Your Own
Last updated 7/19/2022 at 3:34pm | View PDF
The headline of this column could actually be "What to do when your local veterans group doesn't step up to help other veterans."
Because, yeah, it happens.
Mostly it's for compelling reasons - the members might be older (I saw an unofficial citation showing that the average age of American Legion members is their late 60s). For the Veterans of Foreign Wars, it was early 70s. I believe it. Or post membership might have dwindled to the point where there are many on the roster but only a few who actually show up for meetings. But if you're faced with this situation and you want to focus on helping other veterans, there are a few things you can do on your own or with some likeminded buddies.
If your veterans group is willing to part with money to help other veterans, take the cash. Make suggestions and get their votes on how it should be spent.
Start with Voluntary Services at the local Veterans Affairs medical center. They can always use donations of money and time. In one calendar year, volunteers toted up 2.6 million hours. Parking lot shuttle driver, office assistant, book cart, dining room companion, mail delivery to wards, transportation van driver ... the possibilities are many.
Even outside the VA world, you have options to help needy veterans and their families. You can do grocery shopping for elderly or infirm veterans, mow lawns, corral skilled carpenters and tradesmen to do home repairs, do taxes if you're a CPA and even match companies with unemployed veterans.
Make inquiries at homeless shelters that serve a lot of veterans and ask what help you can provide. It might be as simple as washing dishes. It might be delivering cases of food from their supplier. You might be playing checkers after lunch or handing out dry socks.
Whatever you do, however small, to help another veteran, can make a difference. You don't need to be part of a group to do it.
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