Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Letters to the Editor

November 11, 2013

Veterans Day: Three ways to make a difference

— — I have two Important rules that apply to almost everything in life. The first, it’s only Important when you make it Important. The second, it’s truly Important when you take appropriate action.

When a terrible injustice has occurred, it’s not enough to agree that something needs to be done. It’s not enough to “like” a Facebook post. It’s not even enough to shed a tear and feel really sad when you hear truly tragic stories or facts about things that should never happen. It’s just not enough.

Our post 9-11 veterans are committing suicide at a rate of one an hour, every hour, every day. More post 9-11 veterans have taken their own lives than have died on the battlefield. Our World War II veterans are leaving us at a rate of between 800 and 1,000 every single day. Ten years from now there will only be a few left.

And here’s a quiz for you: How many boots are on the ground right now in Iraq? In Afghanistan? How many different countries do we have service men (and women) in that won’t be home for Christmas this year?

Well, if you want to do something Important this Veterans Day, I have three totally different organizations for you to pick from.

• Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject.org) — Their vision is: “To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.” And their purpose statement includes, “To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.” his includes post traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, the need for WWP will only increase for a while.

• Honor Flight Network (honorflight.org) — Mercer County is blessed to have the only Honor Flight in the state. It is headed up by the Denver Foundation and makes two “flights” a year to the National Mall and the U.S. Capitol. Top priority goes to our World War II Veterans and terminally ill veterans. There are numerous ways to contribute including by making a cash donations, helping to get a World War II veteran on the next trip or even volunteering to be an escort on the next trip. You can purchase a brick for the Walk of Honor that will be built in front of the Those Who Served War Museum  in Princeton. Contact the Denver Foundation directly for information at 304-425-8660.

• Operation Gratitude (operationgratitude.com) — “Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000-plus care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. service members deployed in hostile regions, to their children left behind and to veterans, first responders, wounded warriors and their care givers. Our mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member’s face and express to our armed forces the appreciation and support of the American people.” On December 7, Operation Gratitude will ship care package number 1,000,000.  Something never achieved in history.

These three reputable organizations are a small sampling of what’s available. I support all three and highly recommend each one.

The real question is, when it comes to supporting our military men and women, what is truly Important to you?

Be a difference.

— Paul Dorsey

SFC, USA (Ret.)

Green Valley

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