Aliyah Meehan, Director of Family Affairs
Heroes come in many forms. To some, it’s in the form of a fictional character in a movie or comic book; to others it’s their favorite sports player. To my children, their hero is their Dad. When they were little, my daughter would ask, “Did you have to wear a cape today Daddy?”
He proudly wears the uniform of a United States service member. I have witnessed him doing so since we were teenagers. The thought still brings tears to my eyes. His job? To protect and serve our great country.
Service members like my husband are often what we think of when we picture a military hero, but our military would not be what it is today without the millions of behind-the-scene heroes. These people, despite the lack of a cape or formal uniform, graciously give back to our nation through donations, community service and kind words of encouragement to our troops.
I am one of over 650,000 military spouses in the United States. While we may not be on the front lines, as a community we are always doing what we can to support our troops. There are truly endless opportunities for a military spouse to get involved. Online support groups, neighbors helping neighbors, holiday ‘get togethers’, organizations and celebrating each other’s lives are all reasons why being part of the military lifestyle is so fulfilling! My advice to any new military spouse is to find the group that is of most interest to them and really get involved. Not only have I been able to give back through being involved with our Unit Families and Exceptional Family Member Programs, I’ve made lifelong friends in the process. Not to mention, these groups were part of my awesome support system when my husband was gone for long periods of time.
As a military spouse, I am thankful for all the opportunities I have to serve my country in my own way, but as I mentioned, these quiet heroes can be anyone. That’s why I’m sharing some ways for ALL members of the community to serve our troops from the homefront.
It’s widely known that big corporations like United Airlines, Coca-Cola and the NFL are major supporters of the military. One of my personal favorite corporate support programs is Bank of America’s Military Spouse Program. But your company doesn’t have to be a big multi-million dollar business to give back. If you own a business of your own, think about ways that you can get your employees or customers to give back. What about a percentage-off night at your restaurant where proceeds go to The Navy Relief Society or Red Cross? Or better yet, volunteer some hours or hold an event with a great military organizing such as Hope for the Warriors or Wounded Warriors. Ultimately, no matter how big or small, all contributions are appreciated and acknowledged within our community.
Want to give back individually? There really are hundreds of ways to support the military, veterans and their families. While donating money is often the go-to method, I would suggest getting more involved and taking a hands-on approach. Below are some of my favorite organizations to get involved in:
• Armed Services Blood Program – Donate blood that will be sent to areas of need around the world.
• The Walter Reed Society – This organization helps provide for the needs of many returning injured service members and their families.
• Soldiers’ Angels – Support group that aids wounded soldiers with transitional backpacks, personal visits, and phone calls, etc.
• Operation Child Care – Provides childcare services for the families of Reserve and National Guard members.
Finally, simple words of encouragement to men and women serving overseas is hands down the best and easiest way to support our troops and serve from the homefront. Mail Call is still the highest source of morale for our troops who are away from home and a simple thank you can brighten any service member’s day and never goes unappreciated.
Sandboxx allows you to send service members a physical letter as easily as you
would send a text message. No paper, no stamps and no trips to the post office. Don’t know anyone in the military? We’ve got you covered there too. Simply choose to “Send a Letter” and we will send your message to a service member in need of encouragement. Have other ideas and suggestions about how to serve on the homefront? Let’s continue the conversation on
To all who give back and support our troops daily, we thank you!