We still have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and my support for their efforts have not waned, but it does fill me with sadness when I think about their sacrifices.
At best, those sacrifices mean they are away from their families and I pray often for the best-case scenario.
The truth is that the best case doesn’t always happen. Recent statistics show that 35,000 soldiers have been injured in war since 2001. I recently learned of a young Marine that I met while writing “Higher Honor” who was injured during his tour of duty. Although it had been a couple of years since I’d seen him, his outgoing personality gave me some wonderful memories. Sadly, he’s not the only wounded warrior I know but thankfully, he and the others survived and are in the process of discovering new strengths and new normals.
I am a fan of the Wounded Warrior Project on Facebook and Homes for our Troops, both serve a valuable role in helping those injured in combat face the challenges placed before them. The WWP helps immediately by providing clothing and toiletries to soldiers as they arrive in the hospital since many are evacuated without their personal gear.
Home for our Troops builds handicap fitted homes for soldiers in need. Probably the example that brought tears to my eyes was the home featuring a lift system for a veteran who had severe traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. He was unable to speak, but his wife said “I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders when we were home last night. It’s hard to explain that feeling, but I was just able to breathe again. For the first time in three and half years, I was able to go to sleep and turn off my phone, because he’s in the same house with me.”
According to their website, www.homesforourtroops.org, they have completed homes for four soldiers in Georgia and a fifth build is scheduled for January, nationally, they have built or are building 100 homes. They do this at no cost to the soldier and no mortgage. What an incredible relief that must be to those families.
This year, fellow author and publisher, Tony Burton is dedicating profits from his annual Christmas mystery anthology to Homes for our Troops. Tony has made it a point for several years now to compile a collection of short stories for charity and for anyone who has never published a book, this is no small feat. Tony is also a Navy veteran and like many vets, has a generous heart toward his brothers- and sisters-in-arms.
“Murder to Mil-Spec” is available through www.wolfmont.com and features stories from World War II to Afghanistan. If you enjoy a good mystery, you have the chance to get some good reading and help ease the burden of a family whose life has been turned upside down and inside out by something out of their control.
Knowing that their organizations like these and people, like Tony, and so many others, willing to support them reminds me of all the best parts of this season and I hope you will join me in offering them support.