Show your gratitude to our Veterans

By Norbeto Perez |Staff Writer|

Veterans Day is celebrated once a year but you can actually do something for veterans any time.

Typically, when a veteran is discharged from any branch of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard the serviceman and servicewoman registers at a Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital.

You can find a VA Hospital in Loma Linda. This hospital is charged with taking care of any health care for any veteran in the area.

The VA hospital employs military staff as well as civilians.  These health care workers are supported by volunteers.

This is where you can come in.

Volunteer work is diverse. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs web site lists opportunities for student volunteers that can help the VA, as well as benefit from it.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs web site student volunteers can “explore health care career options, gain experience in a health care environment, learn new skills, make new friends and qualify to be nominated for James H. Parke Memorial college scholarships.”

These opportunities can take place in several departments within the VA hospital:  audiology and speech pathology, occupational therapy, information technology, laboratory medicine, medical administration, medical illustration and research to name a few.

Besides the student volunteer program, there is the National Salute to Veteran Patients program, Volunteer Transportation Network program and the Corporate Volunteerism program.

For more information about these programs please visit the VA web site at VA.gov.

This effort is dedicated to organizing, documenting and preserving the history of war veterans. This is done by collecting audio and video tapes, letters, photographs, etc.

For those who may not be able to spare time at a VA hospital, the CNN web site suggests to write letters of support, donate simple things, help the homeless or merely just say thank you when you see a veteran.

CNN suggests you stay away from controversial subjects in your letters. If you need help the website offers guidelines.

Incredibly, large parts of the homeless population are veterans. Some veterans with psychological problems refuse any help the VA has to offer and wind up on the streets. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans web site states, “107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.”

The United Service Organizations (USO) is a civilian non-profit organization dedicated to providing support from the public to our active military personnel, according to their mission statement. It relies solely on support from individuals and foundations.

The USO website also lists an array of ways to show your support. Some suggestions are as simple as donating to their cause or hosting fundraisers. You can help by suggesting to your employer or local business to lend their hand to charity. All donations are tax deductible.

Being a veteran of the Persian Gulf Experience there’s a good feeling knowing support is waiting for you at home.

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