Best Ways to Thank Veterans for Their Service

While we often see Americans thanking U.S. veterans “for their service,” the true fact of the matter is that some vets need more than a thank you. They need help navigating veteran’s services, and some may require additional forms of support. While there are countless resources available, they can sometimes be tricky to identify and tough to access.

Mental wellness and suicide prevention are also areas in which diligent attention must be paid. That’s why Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere Foundation has put together the following tips and resources to assist you in lending a helping hand to the veterans in your life.

Access to Resources

While there are many services available to help vets identify community and government resources, the process can sometimes be onerous. There may be appointments to make, paperwork to complete, and transportation to arrange. You can lend a hand in these areas by helping vets navigate the various systems that are designed to help them. These might include healthcare, mental health services to help with depression and anxiety, professional training and development, and occupational resources. The U.S. Veterans Administration is a good place to start.

Housing Assistance

Some vets may qualify for special home loans, but again, there’s often a lot of procedural paperwork matters that need to be navigated. Help in cutting through the red tape can be invaluable, as can coordinating and compiling forms, documents, earning statements, and military records. According to Military One Source, vets who have physical disabilities or restrictions due to injury incurred in the line of duty may also be eligible for some types of home modifications. If not, it’s an area in which they could still use a hand. Installing ramps and widening doorways for wheelchair access can be helpful, as can lowering kitchen and bathroom countertops.

Professional Development

Veterans often learn valuable skills in the military that can be translated into professional civilian occupations. For example, military police officers may opt to become civil servants, and computer analysis can find work in IT fields. Helping vets make the transition via resume prep, mock interviews, and job search assistance can be an invaluable help. Assist with navigating online job boards, upload resumes to job search sites, and make recommendations and referrals when you know of an appropriate opportunity.

According to Military Benefits, there are many vet-friendly employers across the country. If you’re one of them, hire vets yourself when possible. These individuals are skilled in numerous areas, are regimented, accountable, and dedicated to their roles.

Encourage Ongoing Education

Some veterans may be interested in returning to school to advance their education or get started in a whole new occupation. You can encourage this by helping them access online college course catalogs and looking for viable paths of study. For example, a master’s degree in education can open the door to numerous teaching and educational leadership opportunities. Online educational programs provide a number of benefits, including the ability to learn at their own pace from the location of their choosing.

Business Start-Up

Some vets may be interested in launching their own business. This is an opportunity to take their years of experience and expertise and apply them to a money-making venture. The U.S. Small Business Administration Veteran Business Office can connect them to business resources, as can small business development centers and local business licensing divisions. You can help with writing a business plan and establishing an LLC, or limited liability company. The VA may be able to assist in terms of pointing them toward additional startup resources.

The best way to thank a veteran is through action rather than words alone. Help them stay connected to their families and the community, stay in contact with others who have shared military experiences, and be a willing ear when they want to connect. These are some of the most tangible and meaningful ways to say, thank you for your service.

Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that provides a golf instructional program for eligible injured or disabled Iowa-based veterans who use the Des Moines, Iowa City, and Sioux Falls VA Health Care Systems. Call 515-322-1462.

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