Support Our Troops: Servicemember Support Organizations

By
Real Estate Agent

By Rich Schiffer, Weichert Realtors 

As many of you who read the Active Rain blogs know, I am a US Army Veteran.  I also try to avoid blogging about political topics, however, a recent post I read got me thinking.  I thought about what it was like for me to serve during Desert Shield & Desert Storm.  I was very far from home, and knew that I was willing to die for my country.  Fortunately (and obviously) it never came to that.

No matter what your political views are, I hope that you can agree that the individuals serving in our armed forces consittute one of our greatest national treasures.  Far from home and often without contact with family for months on end, these courageous young men and women deserve our support.  Without our all-volunteer force, the likelyhood that you would have a family member serving in Iraq would be much higher.  If for no other reason, at least respect them for doing what they are doing so you dont have to. 

I am not asking you to put a flag in your yard, or tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree or even to put a "Support Our Troops" bumper sticker on your car.  I ask only that you take a moment or two as you read this blog to consider in what way you could show your respect for the volunteers that serve in uniform.  Check out this list of links to various projects, operations, and organizations that you could participate in, help out with, or donate to.  Each one provides some service to our servicemen or their families. 

One way you could support the troops is to help spread the information in this blog to others.  Send them a link to this blog, in the hopes that they may find a support program right for them.


These links were compiled from http://www.stripes.com/ -- Stars and Stripes, the daily newspaper for the Armed Forces.

 

The first three projects seem especially well suited for Real Estate Professionals.  You can contribute to a good cause, and expand your business oportunities at the same time.

Homes for our Troops - Building specially-adapted homes for severely disabled soldiers and their families.  (Realtors could help a family find housing suitable to their needs, and Mortgage Brokers could help find the financing for the home modifications.)

Fisher House - "Comfort homes" on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers, where family members can be close to a loved one during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. (Stagers could volunteer to decorate these "comfort homes."  Some families may need to relocate to be near a VA medical center.  Realtors should be aware of this program that may serve as a temporary arrangement while looking for a home in the area.)

Operation Baby Blanket - Companionship and support for servicemembers' pregnant wives.  (Many of these families will need assistance in purchasing a home upon discharge from service.)

Some programs want only a donation, while others ask for a personal time comitment.  There are many many  programs out there, as you can see from this partial list:

Operation Hero Miles - An effort by several airlines allowing the public to donate frequent flyer miles to troops coming home for emergencies or R&R.

Homefront Headquarters - Get involved through easy, inexpensive projects

Fallen Heroes Memorial - An online memorial for the fallen servicemembers of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, including photos and visitor-submitted messages.

Fallen Heroes Last Wish Foundation - Provides funds to help support and educate the children of American servicemembers lost during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Operation Dear Abby - Noted advice columnist's site for sending "any servicemember" messages.

AnySoldier.com - Want to send your support to any soldier in harm's way, but have no idea of what to send, who to send it to, or how to send it?

USA Freedom Corps - Make a difference by volunteering. Web site gives you many options.

USO Care packages - Sponsor a care package that includes requested items such as pre-paid worldwide phone cards, sunscreen, travel-size toiletries, and personal messages.

Armed Services Blood Program - Supplies blood and blood products for the 1.3 million servicemembers and their families around the globe. Here's information on how you can help.

Wounded warrior hospital fund - To provide quality-of-life items for wounded servicemembers at Landstuhl.

Voices from Home - Allows serving military members and their families and friends to send and receive immediate voice e-mail messages.

Military Moms - Message boards, chat rooms, ways to donate items, information on the military, and much more; a project organized by mothers of servicemembers.

Operation Air Conditioner - A military mother's effort to send needed air conditioners (and in the winter, heaters) and other items to troops in the Middle East.

The Armed Forces Foundation - Promoting the morale, welfare and quality of life of the U.S. armed forces community.

VFW's Operation Uplink - Purchases phone cards and distributes them to servicemembers.

Operation Package - Send a gift to the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment "Manchus" of the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division.  (I served in the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 6th Infantry Division)

Operation Cards for Troops - Hand-written cards sent to servicemembers.

Books for Soldiers - Ships books, DVDs and supplies to deployed soldiers and soldiers in VA hospitals, via a large volunteer network.

Adopt a Soldier - Support the wounded, injured, and ill troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Adopt a Platoon - Several programs, including Operation Holiday Eagle (to send boxes of candy canes to forces deployed to Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, the Balkans and Korea).

Kids for our Troops - Kids get involved in helping wounded servicemembers

Camp.Doha.org - Information on the Middle East for troops and their families and friends.

Blue Star Mothers of America - Group founded by servicemembers' moms during WWII. Site has links to several support programs.

Soldiers' Angels - "Adopt" a servicemember or send along a gift. A wide-ranging foundation started by a soldier's mom.

Operation Give - Coordinates the collection and distribution of toys and other items for Iraqi children

Operation Shoe Box - Their goal: "A package for every soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine" deployed overseas.

Operation Call Home - Goal: A satellite phone for every platoon in Iraq

Apppreciate our troops.org - If you buy a mug, a servicemember will get one, too. Also, post photos.

Freedom packages - Items for troops in overseas combat zones.

Kitchen Table Gang - Encourages sending care packages, phone cards and items like magazine or newspaper subscriptions to hospitalized veterans and troops.

Operation Military Care - The U.S. War Dogs Association's project devoted to supporting the hundreds of American war dogs and their handlers in Iraq.

Gifts From the Homefront - AAFES' project turns donations into gift certificates the troops can use to shop at the 24 exchanges operating in the Persian Gulf area or elsewhere around the world.

Gift of Groceries - DECA's program provides gift certificates that can be used at commissaries. Family members can also use them at bases back home.

Operation SAND Box - Started by two 13-year-olds, "adopt a soldier" program gets supplies and messages to the troops.

Operation Soldier Support - Puts you in contact with participating servicemembers, so you can send messages and gifts.

Operation Gold Bridge - Seeking school supplies for Iraqi schools. (Story has contact information.)

EmailOurMilitary.com - Send messages to the troops.

Marine Moms - Support page for friends and relatives of Marines.

Militarymail.org - Send "fan mail" to servicemembers.

Treats for troops - Servicemembers sign up for goodies from home.

Beanie Baby Ambassador - Helping break the ice with kids around the world.

Give2TheTroops.org - Letters and care packages prepared and shipped by volunteers.

Treat Any Soldier - Care packages for soldiers serving in harm's way.

Operation Show Time - "Sky Soldiers" of the 173rd Airborne send DVDs to the troops.

Operation Undergarment - A clothing drive to "help cover our troops."

Angels 'n Camouflage - Making sure veterans and deployed troops "will never have to spend another day alone and forgotten."

Families in Support of our Troops - Helping servicemembers and their families, and veterans, too.

Supplies for Soldiers - Send care packages to servicemembers from Louisiana.

Help support our troops! - Resource for those wanting to help the troops.

4thetroops.net - Thanking the troops for "keeping the spirit and promise of America."

Operation Iraqi Children - Following soldiers' lead, helping Iraqi kids.

Operation Gratitude - Send care packages to service members overseas.

Homefront Hugs USA - Supporting troops, veterans and families.

Operation Support - Includes informational links for servicemembers and families.

Operation Care and Comfort - Santa Clara Valley program to send care packages to adopted military units.

Quilts for Soldiers - Quilting comfort for wounded servicemembers.

Operation Wounded Soldiers - Helping deployed soldiers, as well as wounded soldiers and their families.

Salute America's Heroes - For wounded servicemembers and their families.

Thanks for your Service.org - Post a message on the wall of thanks, send e-cards.

Hugs4Smiles USA  - "Supporting heroes, one at a time."

Beanies for Baghdad - Beanies, toys, school supplies, etc., for kids in Iraq.

GI-Bracelet.org - Proceeds from bracelets go to charity of buyer's choice.

Hero Beanies - Proceeds from sales of embroidered hats go to families of fallen servicemembers.

Silent Ranks - Message board for military wives.

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 270 - Several programs to help the troops and their families.

Helping Heroes - "Adopt" a deployed servicemember

America Supporting Americans - Cities adopt military units

SemperComm - Helping those at remote overseas locations

Laptops for the Wounded

Family & Friends for Freedom Fund, Inc.

Silver Star Families of America

Deployed Soldiers Family Foundation

Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund

Spirit of America

Deployed Soldiers Network

The National Remember Our Troops Campaign

Operation Soldier Assist

Paintings from Home

REGIONAL PROJECTS:

SI Yellow Ribbon - From southern Illinois, sending packages, cards and letters to the troops.

Airborne Angel Cadets of Texas

Operation Minnesota Nice - Adopting soldiers abroad to send monthly care packages.

Carolina Troop Supporters - A student-led organization devoted to supporting the U.S. armed forces

Space Coast War Dog Association

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Rainer
23,071
Michelle Bowman
Keller Williams Flagship - Stevensville, MD
MD Realtor, GRI
Rich, Great list!  Even as a vet I had no idea of the ways you could help!
Apr 06, 2008 06:55 AM #38
Rainer
23,071
Michelle Bowman
Keller Williams Flagship - Stevensville, MD
MD Realtor, GRI
Rich, Great list!  Even as a vet I had no idea of the ways you could help!
Apr 06, 2008 06:55 AM #39
Rainer
208,738
Bob Cumiskey
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL
US Army Retired, Your Sun City Center, Florida ~ Realtor
Rich, thanks for the awesome list.  A vet myself, I'm always looking for special organizations to help or support.
Apr 07, 2008 07:08 AM #40
Ambassador
518,844
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina
Rich - thank you very much for the list.  We've just started a discount program for vets and servicemembers, and have been wondering how to let military families know it was available.  I'll start checking these out - and it looks like we may find other ways to support our troops too!
Apr 08, 2008 10:56 PM #41
Rainer
116,814
Rich Schiffer
Swarthmore, PA
Referral Agent, e-PRO

Michelle -- Thanks for your service.  I was surprised, too to learn about this great support organizations.

Bob -- Thanks for your service, and for your continued support of fellow veterans.

Penny -- Check out www.Military.com and www.vetfriends.com either oneof those sites might be a good place to let people know about your discount for veterans.

Apr 21, 2008 09:25 AM #42
Rainer
12,335
Dana Forster
AHome4Sale - Fredericksburg, VA
Realtor, A Home 4Sale Inc, Va

Thanks for compiling this list. As a veteran and a military spouse of 19 years we are always looking for ways to make a difference.  Thanks for serving.

May 09, 2008 09:16 AM #43
Rainer
25,270
Amy Prouty
Home Staging - Keno, YN

Thank you so much for the info and thank you for your service.

May 12, 2008 11:50 AM #44
Rainer
116,814
Rich Schiffer
Swarthmore, PA
Referral Agent, e-PRO

Dana --  Thank you for your service, both as a veteran and as a military spouse.  I am not sure which of those roles deserves our gratitude the most -- they both require sacrifice and dedication!

Amy -- Thank you kindly. Be sure to make others aware of the list.

May 16, 2008 12:14 AM #45
Rainer
116,814
Rich Schiffer
Swarthmore, PA
Referral Agent, e-PRO

I saw a great bumper sticker the other day:

"If you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them."

Unfortunately, I never see things like that in stores, when I can actually purchase one.  If any of you have a source where I can buy a few, please let me know.

May 16, 2008 12:40 AM #46
Rainer
18,230
Gail Alexander
Setting the Stage, LLC - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Stager

Rich,

 

What a great list.  A lot of wonderful organizations that do a lot for our troops.  Another great one is www.operationhomefront.net.  It has chapters in most of the 50 states.  I am a volunteer and on the Development Committee for that non-profit in the state of Washington.  We support the troops, the families they leave behind during deployment and our wounded warriors when they return.  As you may know we have several bases in the state of Washington and Madigan Army Hospital has taken many  of the wounded while they rehab Walter Reed.  We have over 600 currently in the hospital and many more being seen on an outpatient basis.  We are in desperate need of over 400 laptop computers for our wounded at the present time, many that need voice recognition software.  We are also giving out over 1100 school backpacks filled with school supplies at the end of the month.  If you could help me get the word out, I would sure appreciate it.

Thanks for all you're doing for the troops.  My family comes from a long line of military, dating back to the Civil War.

 

Aug 18, 2008 09:44 AM #47
Rainer
3,033
Gail Wilson
Albany, OR

Rich,  Thanks for posting the list.  Wow, very extensive.  I think we all need to remember that there are still many troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We tend to forget when it isn't front page news anymore.  They still need us. 

Thanks from the mom of a soldier still in Iraq.

 

Sep 12, 2008 12:41 PM #48
Ambassador
1,024,355
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Wow, this is a really impressive list.  Thank you for taking the time to compile it.  I just posted something about Operation Christmas Stocking, if you want to add that to your list of volunteer opportunities, but it's plenty long as is.  Thanks again!

Sep 14, 2008 04:42 PM #49
Ambassador
1,554,081
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

I can appreciate the dedication it took on your part to take the time to develop that list.  Thank you,  Karen

Sep 16, 2008 01:21 PM #50
Rainmaker
86,496
Ken Asher
Cherry Creek Properties (719) 930-7817 - Colorado Springs, CO

Hello Rich I saw your post and thought I would say hi to a fellow Army veteran. Living in Colorado Springs I'm surrounded by military and veterans. I'm a proud member of the American Legion and VFW and served as the Vice Commander at my American Legion Post. You have very impressive list of organizations. Thanks for putting it together and thank you for your service.

Ken Asher

 

Jan 08, 2009 03:00 PM #51
Rainmaker
107,497
April Stephens
RE/MAX One Realty - Clayton, NC
Broker/Realtor - Johnston & Wake County

Hooah!  Thanks for the post!  I was looking for additional ways to contribute to our service men & women.  I have bookmarked and will return. Thanks again!

Jan 14, 2009 11:06 AM #52
Rainer
2,581
Margo Willis
Crescent Realty, Inc. - Fort Lewis, WA

Hi Rich, thanks for your service and for your thoughts,  pride in our men and women in uniform as well as the concern for their families. I am appreciative of and humbled by your efforts to put this list out to us.  I too am a veteran, served 20 yrs in the Army, and now, have the pleasure of living near an Army and Air Force Base and have worked with many active and veteran military buyers/sellers.  I will now share your list and hope others will continue to support our troops also.

Jan 14, 2009 05:03 PM #53
Rainer
159,259
Sam Chapman
Lakeway, TX

I was in a Burger King in Austin last month.  Camp Mabry, which is a National Guard post, is nearby and a soldier was in the place wearing camo.  I walked over and thanked him for serving and he seemed genuinely pleased to hear that.  How many times do people do that?  Not enough, I'm sure.

Jul 24, 2009 09:16 AM #54
Rainer
116,814
Rich Schiffer
Swarthmore, PA
Referral Agent, e-PRO

Sam -- sometimes, it is the spontaneous expression of appreciation that means the most.  I challenge you to espress that type of gratitude whenever the spirit moves you.  you just might make someone's day.

Oct 09, 2009 01:05 AM #55
Rainmaker
320,361
Kathy Torline
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Real Estate Blog 719-287-1049

Great post!     It's important to thank those that are serving our country!

Oct 20, 2009 11:59 PM #56
Rainer
116,814
Rich Schiffer
Swarthmore, PA
Referral Agent, e-PRO

Kathy -- Thank you.

Oct 22, 2009 12:53 AM #57
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