Friday, June 21, 2013

Long Island, New York Soldiers' Angels Welcome Home Team


Our local 'Welcome Home' team has been working with the VAMC Northport for the past four years. They have allowed us to contact Veterans in their care that have won the battle against being homeless. We provide these veterans and their families with the basics needed to set up a new home. 
We work hand in hand with amazing local veterans support organization: Boots on the Ground, NY to accomplish this mission.

We have also taken two residential hospital mental health units under our wings. We visit monthly and try to make the few hours we spend with them special. We provide special treats (hamburgers, pizza, ice cream sundaes, etc.) and usually a game, bingo being the most popular, with prizes or entertainment. The most valuable gift we bring is our time AND respect!

This month the Soldiers' Angels Veterans Support Team is holding a fundraiser.
 
Please contact rfegreus @soldiersangels.org to learn about how you can start a Welcome Home Team in your area.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Forward to Memorial Day 2013

Sometimes the passion of patriotism is misinterpreted or lost in translation from generation to generation.  This passion does not come from a sense of entitlement but rather from a sense of sacrifice.  There is no history without personal acts of courage and the profundity of these moments are sometimes lost in the theater of war, but on occasions we remember them with due honor.
On Memorial Day, remember those who have served, remember those who follow in their footsteps, remember our fallen and our wounded, remember our Blue Star and Gold Star families, remember those who are still fighting battles here at home, remember those who have lost that battle, and remember their brothers and sisters who refuse to surrender.
Remind yourself that no one wants to go to war but there are those who are willing to step up so that their brothers may not have to.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Combat the Suicide Epidemic with Community Support and Kindness



"Almost once an hour – every 65 minutes to be precise – a military veteran commits suicide, says a new investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs. ...And then there are the shockingly common active duty suicides. Just two weeks ago, the military released data showing that suicides among those on active duty hit a record high in 2012. There were 349 suicides among active duty personnel – almost one a day. That means there are now more suicides among active duty soldiers than there are combat deaths."

These are grim and unacceptable statistics.

What can we do to help? On a local level - a lot.
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NY State approved budget to expand the PFC Joseph Dwyer PTSD Peer-to-Peer Veterans Counseling program to include 7 additional counties this year.

“Senator Lee M. Zeldin (R-C-I, Shirley) today announced funding for the continuation and expansion of the PFC Joseph Dwyer PTSD Peer-to-Peer Veterans Counseling program in the just passed 2013-14 state budget.
A top priority for Senator Zeldin since first being elected, the Dwyer Program provides “peer-to-peer” counseling between veterans who personally understand the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Since its inception in last year’s budget, the program has been operating successfully in four test counties: Suffolk, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Jefferson. At Senator Zeldin’s request, this innovative direct counseling program will now be funded again for Suffolk County veterans, those in the other test counties, as well as for veterans in seven additional counties: Nassau, Erie, Onondaga, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester.”

In Nassau County I had the opportunity to see the groundwork for the location of a local peer support group initiated and made into a reality through the care and efforts of the community. In tandem with this effort was the creation of a local veteran’s ministry Building Bridges to Healing and Hope for our military, veterans and their families.  

In Suffolk County Boots on the Ground N.Y., Veterans 9-1-1 and other local veteran groups are making great strides in creating veteran support groups and community networks.  They have created rallys and events such as the 1st Annual PTSD Awareness Car/Truck Show in Memory and in Honor of PFC Joseph Dwyer, the 2013 LIMA 5k Run for Veterans, the 2nd Annual Robert Cafici PTSD Benefit, Spc. Daniel Fuentes Fundraiser/Scholarship…and there are many more in every community.

All of these events are open to the public and are a great opportunity for us to learn, to help heal and to strengthen our communities.

Northport VAMC HUD program case workers have integrated the efforts of Soldiers Angels volunteers to assist veterans making the transition from chronic homelessness into permanent housing; this program includes veterans and their families.

Many of our veterans need resources to make the transition from active duty to civilian life.

Our United States Veterans should feel that we have their backs and that we welcome them home with open arms and grateful hearts for their service and many sacrifices.

We can help put an end to reasons to feel isolated or alienated here at home.

Becoming educated about and recognizing the effects of battle fatigue, PTSD and TBI is vitally important but so is respect and kindness, which is something we all can practice and feel the benefits of. These 'ripples of kindness'  are sure to touch someone you love.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Brand New Operation Veterans Outreach!


Soldiers' Angels is thrilled to announce a revamping of Operation Veterans Outreach to more-directly connect veterans who need assistance with the people who want to help them. 
Propriety Operation Outreach software on the new site allows applicants in need to post pictures and background about their military service as they request donations of time, money, services or materials.  Patriotic Americans thenbrowse a list of current needs or sign up to be notified of future postings based on keywords, type of need and location of the recipient. 
"It's like Craig's List for America's Veterans," says Soldiers' Angels Chief Program Officer Lance Dowd.  "The real power of this new site is its ability to galvanize the community surrounding a veteran to become personally involved in supporting that veteran.  We're continuing to enable all Americans to make a measurable difference in the lives of our nation's military men and women, which is the unique power of Soldiers' Angels." 
To be eligible for assistance through Operation Veterans Outreach, applicants must be a transitioning/wounded or honorably discharged (Honorable or General Discharge status) member of any branch of the US Military, including National Guard, Reserves and Coast Guard.  Eligibility is also extended to the immediate family of those killed in action.
Click here to create an Operation Veterans Outreach supporter or applicant account!  You can also make a general donation without signing up.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Helping Fort Drum Military Personnel

Any ANGEL reading this post who wishes to help with this special project please contact me at cncny5@gmail.com:

We have an individual in the Fort Drum area who is seeking handmade cards from kids or adults.  The purpose of the cards is to hand out to wounded warriors stationed at Fort Drum, to base personnel and to forward to Fort Drum personnel stationed in Afghanistan, etc.  She would like to receive these cards in time to distribute for Memorial Day.  The base has planned a special event to honor all military personnel for Memorial Day and handing out these cards would be a bonus at the event.

She has found the soldiers really respond to the handmade cards so if any one can send one, two or more contact me for the mailing address.  Thank you and remember we're in this till the ALL COME HOME!

March Madness for the Troops

 



Think you know your college basketball? Share your sporting prowess by supporting Soldiers' Angels and winning prizes for a hero! Tell us what your March Madness NCAA bracket is, and if you win, a hero wins too...
Each completed bracket sheet is $5.00 and you can purchase as many as you'd like. Just click here at reserve your brackets through the Angels Store.
Bracket forms will be emailed on the Sunday the 17th and must be returned by Tuesday the 19th at 10 a.m. to be eligible for prize participation. Scan and email completed brackets to lvarn@soldiersangels.org (you will receive confirmation of receipt).
Various prizes (given to deployed troops and wounded warriors in the winners' names) are available for each round of the bracket that is correct.The grand prize will be a laptop given to a wounded warrior in honor of the winner.



Soldiers' Angels - May No Soldier Go Unloved

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Seeds of Inspiration for the Troops

 



Etsy shop Seeds of Inspiration is inspiring people to support the troops through Soldiers' Angels.
Formed just last October, the shop offers "unique handcrafted aromatherapy items to lift your spirits and inspire others to bring about positive change in our communities." Owners Barb and Dean believe everyone has something to give back but can become overwhelmed when looking at the great need in the world. So, Seeds of Inspiration asks people to do one small thing each quarter of the year to inspire other people to do what they can. "Change comes at an individual level, so if we all do something small, we can make a huge change in our communities," Barb says.

For the first quarter of this year, Seeds of Inspiration has been offering their patriotically-themed Seeds of Service Scented Star potpourri as a gift to deployed troops or with a 25% donation to Soldiers' Angels for each Star purchased. Each Star is only $4.50, a conscious choice to encourage as much participation as possible.

Barb and Dean found Soldiers' Angels via an Internet search when they were looking for local military support nonprofits to work with. "We were so impressed with the work that you do, and the volume of work that you do," Barb says, adding that she liked that Soldiers' Angels focuses the troops and their families and is not top-heavy with staff.

Available as a limited-edition item through March 2013, the Scented Star is designed specifically with patriotism and the troops in mind. It is made with red, white and blue fabric and is infused with all-natural materials and the scent of apple pie. Customers can purchase a Scented Star to be delivered to Soldiers' Angels for a hero's care package, or purchase one for themselves with 25% of the cost donated to Soldiers' Angels. The hero's star comes with a handwritten note from the purchaser.

Thank you to Seeds of Inspiration for serving as an example to the community and working to inspire each of us to do what we can to support the troops!