The vast majority of American people will never have to fight for their country or join the military. However, those that do should be supported and celebrated for that. Organizations like Helping a Hero, spearheaded by Meredith Iler do just that. However, anyone can help a hero, be that by supporting charities like Helping a Hero or by doing things themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the easy ways someone can make a real difference in the life of someone who has served and protected this country.

Easy Ways to Help a Veteran

  1. Offer them a ride. They may need medical care, particularly if they have been injured, and may struggle to get to hospital or physicians’ appointments.
  2. Donate your frequent flier miles, giving veterans the opportunity to be reunited with their second family – their military brothers in arms – when they need to. This will help them to reintegrate into society much better, also helping to avoid mental health problems.
  3. Sponsor a PTSD companionship dog, which is a dog especially trained to help those who suffer from PTSD. Not only does it give them something to love and care for, these dogs also recognize the signs of a PTSD attack and can help calm their owners down.
  4. Build injured veterans a home. There are lots of charities that use the Habitat for Humanity model of receiving donations for materials and simply building homes for veterans. Considering the high levels of homelessness in this population category, it is clear that there is a real need for this type of work.
  5. Find out where your nearest Stand Down program is, which is a program organized by the VA (Veterans Administration) in an effort to keep veterans off the streets. At a Stand Down, they are provided with a health screening, clothing, food, and shelter, often for a number of days.
  6. Write a letter or send a care package. There are active duty soldiers and veterans who have nobody in their lives. Getting a letter to show someone cares about what they do or have done can make a huge difference to them.
  7. Support charities that organize “pilgrimages” to old combat zones. For instance, WWII veterans want the opportunity to go to war cemeteries to see the final resting place of their fallen comrades. This is expensive, however, and financial support is greatly appreciated.
  8. Share the stories of veterans by talking to others or by participating in the Veterans History Project launched by the Library of Congress. This ensures people will never be able to forget.
  9. Walk up to a veteran and simply tell them “thank you”. They are facing a lot of negativity from the general public and people who don’t agree with the politics behind the war the veteran was sent on, but that isn’t their fault. Simply say thanks to them, strike up a chat, make them feel human again. It is the decent thing to do, regardless of your personal beliefs on war.