November 11 is Veterans Day. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day was established in 1954 to recognize all individuals who have served America in uniform. Today, we acknowledge both veterans and their families not just on November 11 but all month long.
Veterans Day is a powerful opportunity to learn about the secret struggles many veterans face after serving our country – just ask these three Help Hope Live veterans facing lifelong medical challenges of their own.
Name: Renee Whisner
How Renee Served: Worked in logistics in the U.S. Air Force for four years ensuring soldiers had the weapons they needed during Desert Storm.
Renee Fundraises for Help Hope Live: To provide financial assistance for specialized physical therapy to gain mobility and independence after a spinal cord injury.
Daily Challenges: After a spinal cord injury, “the Renee I see in my head is not the same Renee I see in the mirror.”
Renee struggles with a host of physical issues since a cab driver crashed into a tree with Renee in the cab, leaving her with paralysis from the chest down.
What You Don’t Know About Me: “People think soldiers have a lot of financial support, or that we try to milk the government for everything it has. We are simply hoping to get what we were guaranteed when we signed up to protect and serve our country. That’s not to mention the role of post-traumatic stress disorder and the ways it affects us, our friends, and our family members.”
Name: Mary Orr
How Mary Served: Worked in hospital wards and clinics and provided physical and occupational therapy. Also worked as a systems analyst and taught leadership classes at the Naval School of Health Sciences.
Mary Fundraises for Help Hope Live: To cover treatment, medications, and supplements for Parkinson’s disease.
Daily Challenges: “I have limited windows of functionality where I can go to appointments on top of taking care of normal activities of daily living. I am often incapacitated or housebound and in chronic, severe pain.”
What You Don’t Know About Me: “Everyone thinks veterans get excellent, affordable medical care. This is not the truth for all conditions. Since most of the newer treatments that could help me are not approved by the FDA, I have to pay for them entirely out of my own pocket. My retirement pension only covers the cost of rent.”
Name: Michael Carns
How Michael Served: Trained personnel how to detect and defeat IEDs and overcome vehicle rollovers.
He Fundraises for Help Hope Live: To offset the cost of physical therapy and equipment needed to improve balance and mobility issues due to multiple sclerosis.
Daily Challenges: “While contending with pain and massive expenses, I have been in a four-year struggle with the Veterans Administration to cover everything from a torn ACL to a hernia as a result of my multiple sclerosis diagnosis.”
What You Don’t Know About Me: “Veterans fight on the front lines and still fight upon their return for all that was promised when they enlisted. Veterans struggle financially every day and frequently have to contend with inefficiency, bureaucracy, and red tape to get our medical needs met.”
Four Powerful Ways to Help Veterans Today
- Donate to a Nonprofit Cause
If you have the resources, consider making a donation to your favorite charity today in honor of the men and women who serve our country.
If you’d like to donate to Help Hope Live to help our nonprofit support veterans and civilians facing a medical crisis, visit www.helphopelive.org and click Donate. Your support is deeply appreciated.
Find local veterans groups online to see how you can donate your time to help support veterans in need.
“Simple things we take for granted are impossible,” explained Mary, “like going to the store, taking your granddaughter to a movie, or going out to dinner.” Your time could help to put new activities and experiences within reach for veterans with limited mobility or resources.
- Be There
If you have an opportunity to support a veteran simply with your presence and a listening ear, take it. Our client Joey Walker, a former military diver, believes “all veterans have emotional and physical issues connected to their service. The best way to help is to listen, and be a friend. Just be there.”
- Say Thanks
“We are grandmas, grandpas, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters,” said Renee. “We don’t expect to be thanked, but it’s nice to be thought about.”
If you have the opportunity today, thank a veteran. You may never know how much your words help.
They put it all on the line to support our nation. Let’s take the opportunity to give back. Follow these tips, or find your own special way to celebrate Veterans Day this year.