Veterans Day should remind us that our veterans deserve much more than our thoughts and kind words. The transition from the battlefield back to civilian life is never easy, but long and multiple deployments and a weak job market make this one of the most difficult times ever to be a veteran.
On the National Service blog, the past few weeks have been dedicated to veterans. We've shared stories of WWII and Gulf War vets, of vets inspiring and helping young people, and of vets serving their country on the battlefield, and off.
In Bastrop, TX, AmeriCorps members are helping to match volunteer and nonprofit agency workers with wildfire survivors who need help with recovery tasks.
“A volunteer called to alert us about the first plane. We went into the classroom, which had the only TV and turned it to a local news channel. After adjusting the rabbit ears on top, we all witnessed the second plane hit just a few moments later. I think we all had the same reaction and that was pure terror."
In the wake of chaos and tragedy following the September 11th tragedy, AmeriCorps members from the National Preparedness and Response Corps of the Atlanta Red Cross were deployed to Ground Zero. Among those who served was then-70-year-old Donald Trantow.
Pulling up to the home of Joplin resident Linda Smith, Kari Shields, an AmeriCorps NCCC member with the Southern region, was overcome with emotion. Shield’s team had already visited homes affected by the tornado that day, but they had only needed minor support such as tarps installed on roofs.
Volunteers motivate and inspire us. In the weeks following the tornado that destroyed much of Joplin, MO, we've received an outpouring of volunteers from various states and countries.
It's been seven weeks since we arrived in Joplin to set up disaster relief efforts, and yet we still see new faces and register new volunteers. Last week, we were introduced to a few of the volunteers from across the country, and asked them what inspires them to join us.
Service comes naturally to Matt McCabe, the first AmeriCorps alum to join the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Board of Directors. A commitment to service was instilled in him by his parents and grandparents from childhood. “They set the expectation that we give back to our community,” said McCabe.
Todd Schnittke proudly served his country during the Gulf War as a Multiple Launch Rocket System Technician from 1989-1993. Yet, he had a will to continue his service to the United States that never disappeared. Now, he proudly serves under another title – AmeriCorps member at the AMVETs Career Center in Mansfield, Ohio.
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