We are fortunate that where I live, in Greenville, SC, we have the solid community support so critical for military personnel, veterans and families. I’ve personally relied on that support while our son was deployed and now that he’s a veteran.
This past week I was privileged to participate in one of many Veterans Day events that happen each year. There are now so many that it’s necessary for events to be spread out over several weeks in November.
As the mother of a Marine Corps veteran, this warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes. This particular event was a joint one, put on by our local Blue Star Museum, The Upcountry History Museum, and our local Blue Star Theatre, The Warehouse Theatre.
The event planners didn’t stop with these two organizations. There were people from multiple organizations that serve military families and veterans. Included were exhibits, speakers, authors and discussion forums.
In addition to all of this, the community itself came out to show support and learn more about how to care for our military families–past and present. But it’s important to remember that this month’s events didn’t just suddenly happen. Key people have made a concerted effort to reach out to the military personnel here where I live.
How does this help you as a military family or a community that serves them? Every outreach can be traced back to a few people who are willing to fill a need. These are tips to help your community grow in its support of military personnel.
1. Take an idea and share it with those around you.
There are a lot of people in this country who want to support our military, veterans and families. But they don’t always know how. If you can come up with an idea to start with, sharing it with others can make it happen.
2. Start a partnership.
Reach out to corporations and local institutions to help the idea take root and become a reality. So often schools, hospitals and other organizations in our communities are happy to become partners in events like these.
3. Spread the word.
Once you have a basic idea and a partnership or two, continue to spread the word. This will bring in more and more organizations who are looking for a way to help.
4. Be willing to start small.
The outreach to military families, veterans and personnel in our community didn’t start out this large. It began with smaller events and grew into what it is today. Don’t be discouraged with a turnout that is initially small. As word spreads, from year to year, you’ll see the growth.
5. Don’t be discouraged when the vision changes.
Keep true to the groups you’re reaching out to but don’t be married to what the event looks like in the end. Letting others give input and incorporating new ideas will pay off.
These are the things that have helped our community and many others grow in their support of our veterans, military personnel and families. What would you add to the list?