Over the last several months there have been multiple news stories and social media posts about Veterans who have died without any family to attend their funeral services. In kind hearted gestures the funeral homes post the notice in the local paper and quite often a thousand people, or more, from near, and far, come to pay their respects.
The stories are very moving. Invariably someone who has come from a great distance is interviewed by the news media and statements are made that no Veteran should die alone.
November 11th is Veteran’s Day, our day to honor the men and women who serve, and have served, our country. (Memorial Day, is the nation’s day to commemorate our Veterans who died serving our country.) How often have we stood in line at the coffee shop and paid for a Veterans coffee on Veteran’s Day? It’s time to do more.
We are charging into the holiday season. The time of joyous celebration and a sense of reinstilling a sense of peace on earth and good will toward men. If each one of the thousand mourners had volunteered 1 hour of their time to visit that aging Veteran, he or she could have had a daily visitor for nearly 3 years!
We can do more for our Veterans. We MUST do more.
Here is a list or organizations that need YOU to volunteer for our Veteran’s.
The Diocese of Providence (401-421-7833) hosts the Visiting Veterans Corps which provides visitors, who are former military themselves, to elderly or disabled Veterans.
The Office of Healthy Aging (401-462-0569) program serves homebound elders in the community. Volunteers may be eligible to receive a tax-exempt stipend and mileage reimbursement.
The Jewish Collaborative Services of Rhode Island Partners in Care Program (401-331-1244) seeks volunteers to visit Veterans. Volunteers do not provide any personal care or medical services or do any heavy lifting. JFS will match volunteers to the families with common interests.
RI Honor Flight (401-354-7905) is dedicated to honoring our Veterans by offering WWII and Korean War Veterans a no-cost trip to visit the memorials in Washington, DC. They need volunteers to accompany Veterans to Washington, DC.
Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (401-383-4730) needs volunteers to assist homeless and disabled Veterans.
West Bay Habitat for Humanity Veterans Build (401-732-6407) is seeking volunteers to help with expanding programs to maintain and preserve homes and make them more energy-efficient and affordable including critical home repairs to military veteran homeowners.
New Englanders Helping Our Veterans (401-649-2548) assists Veterans in need to give them easier access to help.
Contact your local nursing home or assisted living to find out if there’s a Veteran that could use a friend. Bring the kids and make it an intergenerational activity.
If you aren’t able to make an ongoing commitment consider reaching out to your local Senior Center or religious community to find out if there is a Veteran who needs a ride to a Community Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
Don’t wait until they’re gone to pay your respect to the men and women who have given us all so much. Contact one of these organizations about volunteering today.
To the Veterans reading this-THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!