Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

How can we help our veterans in rural areas?


BLOG #5 – 01-15-22

But…what about our veterans?

Almost every day we hear about the border and the massive crossings that are taking place daily. We hear and we see the cry for help amongst those who trek for miles and miles on foot to get into the United States even though they come apparently unvetted…even though they carry their babies still in their body or on their hip. They are weary, tired, and desperate.

We also witness the arrest of those who come in car trunks, package trucks and stuffed like sardines to reach the border risking their life to get through. We hear the pros and cons of allowing our border to remain unsecured now that the wall that was built to keep our border safe and impenetrable was stopped suddenly once the administration changed.

I can understand the cry for help from illegals who want to escape oppression, crime, and poverty. I get that in America we have a heart for those who are less fortunate, or who suffer from lack of good solid government that puts the protection and overall health of its citizens as a priority. I’ve had the privilege of talking to the folks who desire more than anything to be an American citizen; who love America; what we have stood for and where dreams of success and living in a free country is possible. It is very apparent too that while those who are here temporarily want their family members to experience the ‘American way’ of which they have experienced on a temporary visa.

We aren’t a heartless nation…we aren’t a ‘people’ that wish harm on anyone in need of help, who live their life the best way they can given their circumstances and environment…we want people to be happy, healthy, safe/secure, and prosperous.

Most workers that I have talked to who come here on a temporary basis are hard workers…be it in construction, landscaping, painting etc. and their love for each other runs deep and wide. Many are prayerful people and all they want is the best for their little ones and senior family members. So…I get it.

For those who have been here because of legally sponsored help, to live where they are paid fair wages for their work and that witness firsthand a society of peace, it must inspire them to want permanent residency…I get it.

But what about our veterans? I have issues with the fact that we have all the technology in the world, yet our veterans still wait well beyond (what seems a reasonable time) to get responses to their V.A. claims? I understand the time frame has apparently improved somewhat, but how can we put so much emphasis on the allowance of thousands upon thousands of illegals to come here and be provided food, lodging, medical care and benefits when we have veterans who have fought for this country…still in need of help? Adequate outreach followed up by support for our men and women should (in my opinion) take precedence. Why do we read and hear stories about our substantial number of homeless veterans?

Though its hard to imagine, I suppose there are some who prefer to be homeless, under bridges or in secret places to avoid living life as we do or as we think they should. Maybe their hurt is so deep, they want to escape the overall reality of life that even at its best can be   scary these days…maybe they are heartbroken because they have lost contact or connections with close family members…maybe the wounds of war are so deep, they avoid ‘life’ as most of us know it. But at the very least, no veteran who has donned the uniform of our United States armed forces should be ignored, brushed aside, or chalked up to “if they want to live that way, so be it.”

Every time I see a commercial on TV that focuses on the needs of wounded veterans and the people who volunteer their time to help them, I thank God. It makes me sad to think of any veteran who hasn’t been shown or felt the gratitude we as Americans feel for them…sometimes they’re in our very midst…however, unfortunately we don’t even know they’re veterans.

What can we do as a society to make even minimal contact more available? Do they need shelter? A coat or shoes? food, medicine, and a big dose of free kindness, hug or a sincere “Thank you for your service”?

The way I see it veterans are a unique breed. They are tough, they are strong, if not physically (as in yesteryear) …their very determination to survive under the harshest of conditions is worthy of our love, our acknowledgement and praise.

This topic has been on my mind for some time because I believe those of us who have even the basics of life want others to have as much or more than ourselves…and especially our vets. Volunteering as a veteran advocate for nine years now, I have been privileged to meet many veterans who served in various wars, having served in every military branch, having served stateside through their service commitment and I can honestly say I have loved them all.

Though I didn’t personally serve, I somehow feel their pain even when they don’t speak a word and my heart’s desire to recognize them as the incredible heroes, they are…that’s my daily prayer. My husband, a deceased Vietnam veteran whom I loved more than I can express inspired that.

I have observed and learned that many vets don’t want or need a salute or an American flag (as awesome as it is) waving in their face every day; many don’t even want to be officially acknowledged or openly celebrated as a veteran having been through what many of them have, especially Vietnam veterans…but I do feel strongly that they should ALL know that we love them, offer our gratitude and respect and that IF they want friendship, help or necessities they will have the chance to get it.

Our nation sees the need for help coming from all directions and because we have been respected and admired for centuries for the nature of our goodness, I’m simply saying that our veterans who are in need; who have pending V.A. claims being decided upon deserve our utmost attention and that expecting our vets who are’ in limbo’  once they do ask for consideration for help deserve prompt responses. I can’t help but wonder how many may have passed sitting ‘on hold’ and it breaks my heart.

It seems to me that a huge hiring of V.A. representatives, claims processors etc. to amply respond to the needs of our veterans should take precedence over resolving other matters.

Point of reference: if you search USVets.org you’ll see that it is an organization that offers emergency “housing, counseling, career development and comprehensive support” to veterans. It lists eleven locations…and that’s wonderful and what they offer is truly a blessing but with that limited number of accessible centers, how do homeless vets everywhere else reach them? How many homeless vets cell phones, computers, or access to the internet? Probably not many. And how do they reach the destinations for the help that IS offered?

I’m truly not being sarcastic…what I’m saying is that the outreach to many veterans especially in rural areas is very limited and I think we need to do more to find veterans in need, offer them resources for help and if they refuse or are not interested, we should take their direction, thank them for their service to our country and respect their wishes for privacy…that’s my opinion.

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