As a society we are enraptured with heroes—we love books, movies, stories, pictures, and everything about them. But despite this desire to find people to look up to, most heroes presented through the media are rarely the paragons of humanity we hope them to be. In our search for these champions, we have forgotten the incredible number of people who go to war hoping to defend their families, friends, and homes. Only to return home bearing the scars inflicted upon them.
Real people—mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, and acquaintances—bear their pain in silence. So if you’re looking for real heroes, I urge you to volunteer, donate, or just bring awareness where you can.
In the U.S. alone, 40,000 homeless veterans sleep on the street any given night, 20 veterans commit suicide every day, and 4 million veterans are disabled due to their time in the service—of those 4 million, 1.3 million are 70% disabled.
Don’t know how to help, or where to start? Below are several organizations dedicated to taking care of our heroes that have sacrificed everything for us. They need us, just as much as we need them.
Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a wide variety of programs for veterans: home loans, insurance, employment help, medical benefits, transition assistance, and more. But the need for volunteers is immense. If you can volunteer, find a program you’re passionate about, you sign up to volunteer or donate here.
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) supports veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury while serving in the military, intending to develop personal independence despite their injuries.
1 in 3 veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) and rarely get the treatment they need. WWP provides interactive programs, rehabilitative retreats, and professional services to help overcome mental health challenges, including PTSD, TBI, and more.
Many warriors struggle with their physical health when they finish service. WW offers fitness coaches, health classes, a strong community, and competitions to help veterans move better, eat better, feel better, and sleep better.