What We Do Matters: Three Ways to Support Veterans
On Veterans Day, we celebrate the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces and the sacrifices they made to keep our country safe. But more than our thoughts and kind words, veterans often need tangible support in many facets of their lives, from re-entry into the civilian workforce to mental health treatment.
At Iron Bow, we truly believe that what we do matters. While we always have an eye toward responsible and purpose-driven innovation like our CLINiC telehealth platform, we also understand that our company has a responsibility to be good stewards for our community.
With that in mind, we wanted to offer four ways to support our veterans on this special day.
Donate to Paws4Vets
We’ve chosen to focus our charity efforts on paws4vets, an organization who’s mission is to better the lives of our Armed Forces veterans and their families by placing them with specially trained assistance dogs.
The program was established in 2008 as an offshoot of the paws4people Foundation. The goal of paws4vets is to help returning service members who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injuries and other mental and physical disabilities.
To date, Iron Bow has supported paws4vets teams Lieutenant Colonel Elise Hunt, U.S. Army (Retired) and her dog COWBOY as well as Master Sergeant Doug Alexander, U.S. Army (Retired) and his dog PARKER.
These dogs offer veterans an incredible amount of support and assistance, but training is time intensive and expensive. Assistance dogs can take up to two years to be trained and paired with a veteran, and the cost can total up to $62,000 per dog.
Iron Bow’s support helps with training, veterinarian services, staff expenses, food and other necessities for the program.
Use Strength in Numbers
Show our veterans the encouragement and appreciation they deserve just by showing up to one of the plethora of events in the Washington, DC.-metro region and across the country. Locally, the Veterans Day National Ceremony will be November 11, at Arlington National Cemetery and is set to include a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns, a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries.
It may not seem like much and it will likely cost you less than the price of your daily latte, but showing up for these events reflects your support and ultimately means a lot to those involved. There is strength in numbers and showing veterans that so many of us care is a great start to building relationships with the veteran community.
Start a Conversation
This may be the most difficult and time-intensive way to support veterans, but it’s also the most fulfilling. While there is nothing wrong with opening up your wallet to help out, getting to know a veteran personally can do as much, if not more.
Take a veteran out to lunch or to get a cup of coffee, visit a museum or take in a concert.
Engaging with those who served not only gives us an opportunity to better understand how to help, but also lets us see veterans as people, not just former troops who need help re-adjusting to civilian life.
Veterans see and do things that most of us could never imagine. And when they come back to civilian life, it’s our duty to make their transition as easy as possible.
Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said it best: “We’re not broken. We’ve been through a lot, but we’re rising out of it.”