We never know what life has in store for us, and strangers today might just become some of the most important people in our lives the next day. It is difficult to tell what inspires a human being to behave in a certain way – some call it intuition, some call it divine providence. But nonetheless, there is definitely something out there that makes people want to devote time and energy into helping those that they do not know personally. For one soldier who was working to fix cars, he never would have expected how one unknown couple could work to completely turn his life around. Having faith in what the world, what God has to offer is one of the first steps in ensuring that you let yourself experience the events around you. Good things are bound to happen, as long as you believe that they will.
Not everyone is lucky in life. There come times when we have to face adverse situations, and where we might feel down and about. One Missouri couple found a soldier in this state, and felt themselves drawn towards him, to offer a helping hand. The couple, named Annette and Ryan Vaughn were embarrassed of their car – it was old, worn and had started to break down in various places. The car had become unreliable, and it had become difficult to travel between places. This was what was on her mind as she made her way to a gas station one fine day, but what she saw there made her retract her statement, and took away every complaint she had about her car.
There she saw a soldier, bending over the hood of a car, trying to repair it. That was when she came up with an idea, and took to Facebook to write about it. She posted a picture of the soldier, under the hood, and explained that she was really humbled to see the man working hard to make a living. Veteran’s Day was coming up soon, and she wanted to do something special for the man. She said that if she had the money, she would have bought the man a new car, but she could not. That was why she was taking to Facebook, in the hopes that those in her friends list might want to contribute something towards making the man’s life better. They may not be able to afford a car, but something like a few gas station cards or money to help maintain the man’s car might be helpful. The venture was a huge success, and the couple made more than $6000 from their journey. After finally tracking the soldier down from the gas station, they found that he was a man named Ethan Watts, who served in the National Guard, and went to Community College at night. If it was not for Ryan getting a sudden inkling from God to look in a certain apartment complex, they might never have found the man.
Ways You Can Help Support Our Troops
Those who serve in the military risk so much everyday so that we can be safe. Here are a few organizations you can look into to help support our troops via aarp.org:
Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation
Founded in 2002, the foundation provides college scholarships and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty. You can participate in the #DropAndGiveMe10 Challenge by posting a video of yourself doing push-ups in honor of fallen patriots and donating some amount to the foundation for every successful push-up — and then challenge three others to do the same. Or you can contribute panels to a charity knitting/crocheting project to raise awareness of the foundation’s mission.
Disabled American Veterans
Services offered to disabled veterans and their families since 1920 include help with disability assistance, VA pensions and job programs. While donations and gifts are needed, you can also help by volunteering at Veterans Affairs hospitals or serving as a driver to transport vets to their medical appointments.
Fisher House Foundation
Fisher House operates a network of homes at major military and VA medical centers nationwide where military and veterans’ families can stay for free while a loved one is receiving medical treatment. It also operates a Hero Miles program and a Hotels for Heroes program that accept donated frequent flier airline miles and hotel points to help veterans’ family members travel to their bedside and stay at a hotel for free.
Hire Heroes USA
Hire Heroes USA provides job training for veterans from other vets who have business experience. If you own a business, you can become an employment partner. Or you can volunteer to assist with mock interviews, fundraising, career counseling or outreach to veterans and their spouses.
Homes for Our Troops
Started in February 2004, this nonprofit organization builds and adapts homes nationwide for servicemen and servicewomen who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq with disabilities. The site seeks monetary donations, as well as contributions of land, to expand the number of the handful of projects under way. Organizers work with contractors, home material manufacturers and corporate partners to raise funds and provide materials for building projects.
Honor Flight Network
The nonprofit organization flies veterans to Washington for free so that they can visit memorials built in their honor. Top priority is given to World War II survivors, along with veterans who may be terminally ill. You can volunteer to escort the vets on the flight or greet them at airport departures and arrivals.
Hope for the Warriors
Military wives founded this organization in 2006 to enhance the quality of life for Iraq and Afghanistan service members who sustained physical and psychological wounds. The organization provides comprehensive support programs for veterans, service members and military families that focus on career transition and education, health and wellness counseling, and community-building initiatives.
This organization says thank you to veterans, wounded warriors and their caregivers as well as active-duty personnel by sending care packages that include snacks, hygiene supplies and handmade items. You can also join its letter-writing campaign, expressing gratitude to veterans for their service.
VA Voluntary Service
Founded in 1946, the VAVS provides for our nation’s veterans while they undergo care at VA facilities. Volunteers are needed to serve as drivers and companions and to assist staff with end-of-life care programs and foster care and in hospital wards, nursing homes and veteran outreach centers.
Veterans Support Organization
Since 2001, the Florida-based nonprofit has provided employment and financial assistance to leading veterans support agencies. It helps vets at various stages of transitioning out of military service.
Wounded Warrior Project
The nonprofit focuses on raising awareness and enlisting the public’s help to fulfill the needs of injured service members and their families. You can assist by hosting a supporter event, sending letters to wounded veterans or making a contribution to help provide rehabilitation, activities and career counseling for wounded warriors.