Saluting Our Heroes
This month, in honor of our Independence on July 4th, we’re going to look at several military veterans who are living greatly or organizations that are serving military veterans in an awesome way.
Unfortunately far too many of our vets do not have the tools, resources, or ability to readjust to civilian life after serving our country. Thankfully, there are amazing individuals and organizations trying to help them. And since I can’t name them all here, I picked out three of my recent favorites to share with you: Farmer Veteran Coalition, Final Salute and No One Left Behind.
Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC)
Many of our soldiers return from overseas, needing a job and needing time and a place to recover from their experiences. FVC has found that farming is a great solution. There is something healing in nurturing plants and animals. Furthermore, “the incredible sense of hard work, self-sacrifice, and service developed in the military is perfectly suited and immediately transferable to farming. And there have never been so many opportunities for new farmers,” says FVC Executive Director Michael O’Gorman. O’Gorman also says, “the veterans we work with have served their country twice — once by defending it and now by feeding it.” To support FVC, look for the Homegrown by Heroes label on the food you eat or check out the website here.
According to Final Salute, because of the lack of housing services for homeless female veterans who are also mothers, they are the fastest growing homeless population in America. Founder, and 15-year Army veteran Jas Boothe, understands the struggle of homeless mothers who are also veterans. In 2005 when she was unable to deploy to Iraq after being diagnosed with aggressive head, neck and throat cancer, she was told “there were no existing programs for female Veterans with children and that she should explore welfare and social services as an option, just like every other single mother.” Shocked, Boothe realized that it’s easy to forget about “the women who have served, fought, bled and died alongside their male counterparts.” Vowing to never forget, Boothe started Final Salute. Since it’s inception it has assisted over 900 women Veterans and children in over 30 States and Territories. To learn more see here.
No One Left Behind
Matt Zeller, founder of No One Left Behind and former soldier, credits his Afghan translator for being alive today. His translator saved Zeller’s life by shooting two Taliban fighters when Zeller was knocked to the ground during an ambush. When fighting in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, translators literally can be the difference between life and death for many Americans. Sadly, they and their families are often targeted, killed or kidnapped for helping us. There are special immigrant visa programs in place to reportedly help those translators immigrate to the United States. However the process is lengthy, bureaucratic and often broken. And for the few who do prevail, there is little to no support network once they arrive. In order to bring his translator the U.S., it took Zeller 5 long years, a national media campaign and the help of a dozen members of Congress. Plus Zeller raised $30,000 for resettlement costs. No One Left Behind is working to assist translators who put their lives and the lives of their families on the line in order to help American soldiers and diplomats. To learn more about the organization and find out how you can help click here. And to watch a comedic twist on the difficulties in bringing Afghan Translators to the States by host of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver, see here.