We met a 38 year old female Navy Field Medical Corpsman and her 12 year old son. They are in dire need of clothing, shoes, winter jackets, coats, and boots. We also met a 54 year old Army veteran with a 13 month old son. Both are living at Comfort House.
Pride in Service
As a former soldier, I still remember the sense of pride I felt in serving my country. I was proud to wear my uniform because I understood the commitment needed in order to do so. Service to one’s country through the military requires sacrifice and hardship. It pulls us away from the ones we love, and at times puts us in harm’s way. Our training is hard and in less than favorable climates. We spend each day knowing that there may come a time when we are called into action and that we may not survive such action. Many of us are sent to foreign lands and placed in hostile territories with bullets and bombs. We are forever changed through our service, and sometimes those changes become a burden that affects our ability to function easily in society upon separation. But we made those sacrifices willingly because we believe in something greater than ourselves. We believe in America, and all that She stands for. We believe in freedom, and are willing to sacrifice our lives to protect that freedom for our fellow citizens, even if they don’t support our commitment. And when our service is over, we ask for nothing in return.
The Hardship of Separation
Unfortunately, some of our service members have an incredibly difficult time upon separating from the military. Whether there are injuries, painful memories, or psychological trauma brought on by post-traumatic stress, re-assimilating back into civilian life can be a terrifying experience. As I discussed in Service, my assimilation was incredibly difficult because I believed that a terrorist attack was imminent no matter where I went. I avoided crowds and public places and withdrew from everyone I cared about. For some of our veterans, their hardships are far more challenging and result in homelessness.
Homelessness is a growing epidemic among veterans, and according to a 2009 report by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, there are 2,654 homeless veterans in the Philadelphia area. (click HERE for more statistics) Although I am a veteran, I was unaware of this growing problem until I saw a message float across my Facebook feed from a friend of mine around Christmas. “We need clothing to donate to homeless veterans,” she stated. Upon speaking with her, I learned that she was working with the Philadelphia Veterans Comfort House, an organization that aims to help veterans get back on their feet.
According to the PVCH website, Executive Director David Kamioner states:
“We give homeless veterans a chance to start over and become productive members of society. This is done by using military tools to achieve the civilian goals of finding a job and securing permanent housing. Our program gives them the cultural capital to do that and reinvigorates the work ethic and discipline they had while serving our nation.”
Veterans & Children in Need
After meeting some of the new arrivals at PVCH, a local contributor stated: “We met a 38 year old female Navy Field Medical Corpsman and her 12 year old son. They are in dire need of clothing, shoes, winter jackets, coats, and boots. We also met a 54 year old Army veteran with a 13 month old son. Both are living at Comfort House.” She went on to state that any donations to these veterans and their children would be a tremendous help. If you have any clothing, jackets, baby toys, shoes, and especially diapers and wipes, please consider donating them to PVCH. You will be helping to improve the lives of some very special people.
How You Can Help Those Who Served
Upon review of their mission, I cannot think of a better slogan than the one posted on their webpage: “Serving Those Who Have Served America.” The PVCH is performing a great service for our veterans in need, but they need your help. These brave guardians of our nation have fallen on difficult times and we are presented with an opportunity to give back to them in their time of need. The PVCH website accepts donations in a variety of forms. They offer a link to contribute financially, and also provide the option to purchase items they use daily from their Amazon Wish List. If a financial contribution is not possible at this time, you can volunteer to cook a meal, with supplies and cleanup provided by PVCH! If you’d like to learn about more ways you can contribute to the mission of the Philadelphia Veterans Comfort House, please visit their website. Our veterans need your help, and after the sacrifices they have made in the name of our country and freedom, a small contribution is a minimal price to pay for all they have done for us.
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