This month, JaxCo would like to take a moment to honor the U.S. Armed Forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom. This and every May, National Military Appreciation Month is a declaration that encourages U.S. citizens to observe the month in a symbol of unity.
Everyone is touched by someone who served in the military, whether you know a veteran or not. They protect us when we don’t even know we’re being protected. As former President Obama said, "It's about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It's about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they've earned when they come home. It's about serving all of you as well as you've served the United States of America."
Here are ten ways to support our nation’s heroes in Jacksonville:
- Donate to the Wounded Warrior Project: https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/
- Send food to a military family in your community.
- Donate or spending time volunteering in-person to K9s for Warriors, a non-profit that partners veterans with trained dogs who would otherwise be in shelters: https://www.k9sforwarriors.org/.
- Write thank you letters to the men and women on the front lines.
- Donate household items to military families: https://pickupplease.org/jacksonville/. They also offer donation pick-ups!
- Visit nearby veterans in a nearby VA facility. Bringing your pet is always appreciated!
- Perform home repairs or household chores for a veteran in need.
- Take the time to have a meaningful conversation with a vet and really listen.
- Offer to give transportation to vets so they can make their medical and mental health appointments: https://www.volunteer.va.gov/VolTransNetwork.asp
- Donate your time or money to a veterans organization like Five Star Veterans Center.
Last year, JaxCo partnered with Five Star Veterans Center in Jacksonville. They offer a 12-18 month on-site program that has proven successful in helping veterans rejoin the community. They provide safe housing, a full complement of health and wellness services, reunite veterans with their families, and help with education and job preparedness.
Veterans learning to manage their PTSD and other mental health challenges benefit from their on-site mental health services available 24-hours a day. They help residents explore educational and job options and help them obtain the skills they need in preparation to successfully return to civilian life.
Today, 31 residents live at Five Star and participate in programs to help them get back on their feet and reenter the workforce. The Center continues to assist veterans, recently expanding services to include on-site mental health counseling.