Those of us who have had our child leave the military after serving, either in a war zone or not, are now VetParents. And Parents Zone is here for us too. I’ve been watching, with a great deal of pride, my own son and daughter in law navigate the difficult waters called “The VA” and persevere. I watched them both go through the frustration of medical and psychological evaluations and the appeals process. I’m watching them heal, watching my son take classes and work full time and take care of their adorable daughter, watching my daughter in law work full time and then some, take care of said wonderful child, while they both deal with their deployments and what they brought back with them.
Some Soldier’s Mom, in her previous post, listed a group of websites to assist Vets. I’d like to add to that, and I’m asking you for help. If you know a site, an organization, a group, that helps Vets, list them here. We’ll set up a page for them as well (right, Tech Mama??)
American Women Veterans ( this is a FaceBook based group)
Update: March 2013
A lot of attention lately has been focused on the health and adjustment process faced by vets returning for the last time from deployments in the Middle East. Not much time has been spent considering the way in which parents have to cross this hurdle. Many will tell our staff at PZ that the dread leading up to a deployment is the hardest part of the process, but the period in which we are needed most is oftentimes the return. Family play an enormous role in easing the homecoming experience of a soldier, and we need to be both supportive and open minded. A pervasive reluctance to seek support for PTSD and other psychological problems can hinder the recovery of a loved one. We encourage readers to be open and frank in the interest of their families, including if necessary, the willingness to broach difficult subjects such as wellbeing.
On Fridays, if you look around, you’ll see a lot of people wearing red – some of us wear it as a tribute to wounded warriors, some for deployed servicemembers, and today – it’s for Fort Hood. The USO has been working with the Community at Hood, and this Friday, December 11, Fort Hood and the USO – with the support of Fort Hood FMWR and AAFES – is proud to host “Fort Hood Community Strong,” a day for healing, fun and entertainment. Held at Hood Stadium, this event will feature free carnival rides, games, food and top-notch celebrity performers. The biggest gift we can give the community, however, is to honor them with our sincere thanks and support.
Since the November 5 shooting, the USO has stepped up to provide support for the community in any way they can. From grief counseling to the two Mobile USO units providing meals – the USO has been ready to assist the troops, families and command at Fort Hood however needed.
We need to take time to support that Community, to support our military family. There are so many who need that support, who are having their own quiet crisis, and need that shoulder to lean on, that ear to listen, that hand to hold. If you can’t be there in person for someone, if you aren’t near Hood or another base, if you can’t physically do it, there are so many groups that are trying to do this. Find one, and tell US about it.
There’s a Wall of Remembrance from the USO, a place to put down in a few words a thank you, show support for Hood and the rest of our military family.
This post was created as part of the USO’s Community Strong event at Fort Hood –a day for healing, fun and entertainment to uplift the spirits of the Fort Hood community in the wake of the Nov. 5 shooting incident. You can help show your support for Fort Hood and its more than 349,000 military personnel, family members, retirees and civilian employees by visiting the Community Strong website, Tweeting your support with the #CommunityStrong hashtag, leaving comments on the Official USO Blog and donating to the USO’s ongoing efforts to support our troops.
There is a new widget on our page, top, left… right there! See? It’s a widget that shows progress up a thermometer – Yeah, THAT one. That’s the Valour IT campaign. If you click on it, you will get to the Valour IT Donation page (for the Army Team).
What’s Valour IT? It’s a charity that was established to give adaptive technology to a wounded warrior. When a blogger, the inimitable ChuckZ (then Capt, now Major Chuck Ziegenfuss) was injured and couldn’t type, he tried to have his very patient wife Carren keep his blog going… and her story about the dictation/frustration is worth hearing if you get the chance. He was frustrated and felt even more out of touch. Legend has it that he asked for Dragon Naturally Speaking or other voice activated software, and when it was donated to him, realized that this was a way to keep him connected to his audience, to his family. He and one of his readers, Fbl, decided that this was a superb way to keep all wounded who are unable to use a regular computer connected. So the idea was born – and the charity now gives laptops fully loaded with adaptive software to wounded who need it.
In addition to voice-controlled laptops, Valour-IT now helps provide active and whole-body video games such as Wii Sports, which is used to great effect in physical therapy, and personal GPS systems that help compensate for short-term memory loss and organizational/spacial challenges common in those with brain injuries.
This annual drive to fund this charity is also a goodnatured competition between supporters of the various services. Since TechMama and I are very proud Army Spouses – we are linking to the Army Team. If you would rather give to the team of your service member, here is the central page link.
So… what are you waiting for? Go – Donate. Now.
Do you love to knit or crochet, and is your family completely outfitted with everything yarn related? Ar you looking for a way to indulge your love of all things yarn and needle craft – and give to those who can really really appreciate it? We found a great project for you! Hats, scarves and helmet liners for the Troops in Afghanistan.
Operation Gratitude has a great site, and does some superb work. Right now, there is a push to send hats, scarves and helmet liners to Afghanistan. It’s getting cold there already, Kabul tonight is in the 30s. In the mountains, it’s going to be colder, and it’s only October. The link here will give you patterns and information. There are some more patterns on Ravelry and other sites, I’ll put them below.
There are some rules you need to follow, and these are not suggestions, these are mandatory. First – NO acrylic or rayon or other artificial yarns. It must be 100% wool. Acrylic melts when it burns. When it gets wet, it gets cold and nasty. Wool, even when wet, keeps the body warmth in. I’m told that the Cascade 220 superwash is warm, soft and washable. There are other washable wools too. Second – muted colours. tans, browns, Army green, black, deep maroon if you must, dark blue if you want to send to airforce.
Other sites – patterns
USMC helmet liner
Scarves – any pattern you want, plainer the better and long enough to go around the neck once and get tucked in. A Gaiter is great too. You know how miserable it is when your neck gets cold!
Get the needles smoking – let’s get these guys something warm, something made with care and gratitude. The address to send to by December 5 is
Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, California 91406
If you want to, you can put in your name and email address, enclose a card, or anything else you think they’d like – the list is on the Operation Gratitude page, but those of us in the milparent community know what to send, right?
See you at the Yarn Store (if you live in the DC area, I’ll be there this Saturday)