For two and a half years, I had the privilege of serving our active military and veterans as a constituent services representative in the United States Senate under Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey. I gained a unique perspective into the sacrifices our active military make to keep Americans safe, and I learned about the life veterans enter after completing their service. None of it is easy.
Access to jobs, healthcare, housing, and spousal support are a few of the issues our military and veterans are dealing with on a daily basis. Below are resources for veterans that civilians can also support through volunteering or donation.
Wounded Warrior Project – an organization dedicated to empowering veterans and providing them with resources they need to assimilate into civilian life.
VeteranCrisisLine.net – a free, anonymous, and confidential resource available to any service member or veteran, even if you are not registered with the VA or in the VA healthcare system. If you are experiencing chronic pain, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, anger, or disturbing memories, this hotline is available to you.
NJVet2Vet – a veteran hotline available 24/7. Your call will be answered by a veteran who understands the experiences you’re going through.
GI Go Fund – a program that assists veterans in finding employment, housing opportunities, and connecting with their benefits.
Veteran eMentor program – an online mentor program in which civilians and veterans can guide veterans and their spouses through navigating resumes, interviews, and career.
Alcohol Rehab Guide – This public web guide shares clinically-reviewed information on alcohol, addiction, and recovery, which is not only helpful to veterans returning home from war, but to those service members struggling during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please note the aforementioned are programs that I’m personally familiar with–there are many others around the country, so do your research and find one that is meaningful or helpful to you!
Both of my grandfathers served in World War II. One was in the 1st Marine Division and served at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, and Peleliu. He was also a translator for Admiral Halsey after the war throughout South America. My other grandfather was a member of the Signal Corps in the Army, intercepting and decoding German messages, and he was part of the liberation of Dachau. My former mentor and boss, Senator Lautenberg was also a member of the Signal Corps, and one of the finest human beings I’ve had the privilege of knowing.
It is because of them that the support and care of our military and veterans is such a priority to me. For over three years, I had the privilege of volunteering with the National Park Service at the World War II Memorial in Washington DC. I gave talks and tours of our the Memorial and other national monuments, telling visitors about the Greatest Generation, as well as those who came before, and those who have come since.