May is National Military Appreciation Month
On Monday many of us had a vacation or a day off of school. It was Memorial Day - a day where we recognize and remember those who lost their lives while serving in the military. Did you observe this day while enjoying a day out of the office? Was there a moment during the day where it dawned on you why you have an extra day to gather with family and friends?
Before Memorial Day was Armed Forces Day on May 17. This day was initiated in 1949 to celebrate the unification of all Armed Forces under the Department of Defense. From that time on it had been a day to thank all military members for their service and sacrifices. Unless you are in the military or a military family, this day may have passed without the slightest bit of recognition or thank you.
Earlier this month was Military Spouses Day, which always falls on the Friday before Mother's Day. In 1984 Congress proclaimed this day as a day to recognize the important role military families have as the backbone of support for our troops during mission, deployment, reintegration and reset. Very few people may know this day even exists.
All of these days and hundreds of events are a part of National Military Appreciation Month (www.nmam.org). So what have you done this month to show a sign of appreciation, recognition, or thank you? The answer for many of us may be "nothing." There is a chance to change that "nothing" into "something."
With the drawdown of troops, the support needed overseas is now turning to support needed at at home, which could be homes in Sheboygan County. The issues are more serious than ever with service members struggling with alcoholism, prescription medication addiction, and suicide. Military families are facing financial burdens, unemployment and homelessness. Military children are being asked to accept a parent who may have been gone most of their lives or adjust to a parent's disability/ By educating ourselves we are telling our military members and families: "we notice you and recognize your unique issues."
Find an organization serving service members and their families to give them our talents. A good place to start is contacting the Volunteer Center of Sheboygan County, but you can also reach out to the Salvation Army homeless shelter, church programs, or your local VFM/American Legion. When we spend time serving those who served we are saying: "we appreciate your sacrifice of time, talent, and strength."
Think BIG! Think "a dollar for every veteran who lives in Sheboygan County" or "a dollar for every military child (no matter what age) who live among us." Think enough money that can make a real impact or start a needed service: alcohol and drug counseling, transitional housing, emergency fund for unexpected bills, job training program at your workplace, the list goes on. When we give money to a program, we are saying "you are worth it and so much more."
Submitted by Mary Adele Revoy, MS, drug free grant coordinator and director of research and development for Family Resource Center of Sheboygan County, and chair of the Healthy Sheboygan County 2020 AODA committee.