Bluffton Packet

Recognize - and honor - military veteran all year long

A spot-lighted Old Glory unfurls in the evening breeze.
A spot-lighted Old Glory unfurls in the evening breeze. Special to The Bluffton Packet

We should not only recognize and pay tribute to our military veterans - both active and retired - on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. There are multiple ways we can do so throughout the year.

Here are some of organizations and their websites that help us do so all year long.

Jobs and Shopping For a Cause

Hire Heroes USA’ helps military members, veterans and spouses build confidence and skills, matching them with jobs at the website hireheroesusa.org.

Amazon Smile, the online retailer’s charitable site, donates to causes such as Hope for the Warriors, which provides support for veterans and their families at smile.amazon.com. The site donates .05% of every purchase when you use its custom donation link to Honor Flight Savannah, one of our local organizations.

Alex & Ani, a jewelry store, donates 20% of the purchase price of its ‘Spirit of the Eagle’ ($38) necklace to Team Red, White and Blue, which connects veterans to their community at alexandani.com.

Another jeweler at re-purpose-jewelry.myshopify.com donates half the wholesale cost of re-purposes “22 until none” ($30) jewelry which benefits the organizations mission to end suicide among veterans.

Honor Flight Network

The Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization, created solely to honor America’s veterans for their sacrifices, first flew in May 2005 with six small planes flying 12 World War II veterans out of Springfield, Ohio to Washington, DC to view war memorials.

Now, eleven years later, the group has partnered with Honor Air in North Carolina and Hero Flight in Utah. That network is aggressively expanding its programs to many other cities across the nation. The group also travels by bus to make the trip less stressful for senior veterans.

We have come to recognize the names Honor Flight Savannah chairman of the board Marian Spears and vice-chairman Suzi Oliver in past articles announcing up-coming trips to Washington, DC.

The group is currently looking for Beaufort County veterans for the October.

Contact Owen Hand of Lady’s Island at 843-812-6097 or Jim Weiskopf of Beaufort at 202-607-1067.

Visit honorflightsavannah.org and click on ‘About Us’ to read about their mission and escorted trips. The trips include deluxe tour bus service, all meals and lodging, snacks, t-shirts and other amenities.

What a wonderful way for senior veterans to experience companionship with other vets while viewing the war memorials built and dedicated to honor their sacrifices. The next next trip is October 14-16 and departs from Hunter Army Airfield.

Interested veterans can submit an online application.

Therapy Organizations and Programs

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Hidden Heroes Campaign sheds light on the issues military families face when taking on full-time caregiving roles at home. Visit elizabethdolefoundation.org.

In the New York-based non-profit group Puppies Behind Bars, Labrador and Golden retrievers are raised and trained by prison inmates to be placed with disabled Iraq or Afghanistan veterans who have suffered physical injuries including traumatic brain injuries. The website is puppiesbehindbars.com.

A new program in Oklahoma - Right Path Riding Academy - pairs veterans with horses for therapeutic riding classes. In May, the program received a $10,000 grant from Disabled Veterans National Foundation. The website is rightpathridingacademy.org

‘Once a Marine, always a Marine’ certainly rings true with two local former Marines, Jake Woolsey and Henry Dreier. The two are planning a ‘Kick-Off Veterans Day’ weekend with Hikes 4 Heroes, which provides disabled veterans an outdoor retreat. Find out more by visiting hikes4heroes.org.

A recent ‘touching’ media article concerning veterans tells about the ‘Patriot Guard Riders’, a group of Harley motorcycle riders accepting the forgotten ashes of a Civil War veteran who died in 1922 in Oregon. The veteran was cremated and his ashes were placed on a shelf and forgotten.

The Patriot Guard Riders, using relays placed at pick-up points across the country, will transfer the soldier’s ashes from Oregon to Maine, his home state, where he will be buried with military honors.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur, on April 19, 1951, when delivering a high profile “farewell-address” to Congress, paraphrased a ballad popular with British soldiers during World War I. “Old soldiers never die,” he said, “they just fade away.”

Country singer Gene Autry later wrote his own rendition of the ballad with this very fitting last verse: “Now somewhere, there stands a man, his duty o’er and won. The world will ne’er forget him, to him we say, “Well done”.

I say, “A salute to all our veterans for they are our heroes.”

Contributor Jean Tanner is a lifetime rural resident of the Bluffton area and can be reached at jstmeema@hargray.com.

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