Military Support Series: The General’s Kids

I am very excited to highlight this particular military support organization as it now has a special place in my heart.  Only a couple days ago I announced that I was coming on board as Programs Manager for The General’s Kids.  I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of the organization and work alongside one of the most committed and dedicated military wives, and mother, I know.  Jaqueline to me, was just the blogger of a wounded solider.  And when I say just, I don’t mean just by any stretch of the imagination.  With two very small children, that was no small feat.  It was out of the struggle they experienced that this organization was borne, and it is quickly growing to accomplish some amazing things.

The General’s Kids, L.L.C. was designed for our nation’s little warriors. Whether they are infants or teenagers, facing the life-changing injury or illness of a parent leaves a lasting impression. There are so many wonderful organizations out there that benefit wounded warriors and their families, and children often benefit from these. But at The General’s Kids we are proud to focus 100% on the children and young siblings of the wounded, ill, and injured. We can help connect children and teenagers of various ages with others across the country who are going through similar struggles, provide sponsors who will send encouraging cards or care packages, and will soon be able to offer financial assistance for things like special interests or school funding. Children living the Wounded Warrior life are faced with a harsh sense of reality. We intend to help bring back some of the things that help comfort and lighten these kids’ hearts. Our goals are big and extend all the way up to wanting to fund Disney vacations and college scholarships. Our belief is that whether there are 10,000 wounded warrior kids or just one, each and every one is a priority and deserves to have their sacrifice for our freedom acknowledged.

I have seen The General’s Kids provide hand-made crochet/knit blankets, or small stuffed bears to children at Walter-Reed, which I in particular love.  Often times these children are coming here very quickly and without the ability to pack up every little thing.  Having something special given to them, even if they don’t fully understand can be so beneficial.  Frequently our facebook page will put a call out for items for children that are coming to Walter Reed, like portable dvd players, small toys, video games or board games.

school supplies for little warriors
One of my favorite stories from The General’s Kids is the story of a little girl named Isabelle, who asked for gift cards for her birthday and gave them all to be donated to little warriors at Walter Reed Medical Center!  It’s stories like this that make me want to be a part of this organization.  Something as simple as this can make the day of a child whose life has been turned upside down.
At The General’s Kids they are so many ways you can give back – We have a sponsorship program, a pen pal program, care packages and just simply donating…even spreading the word is so helpful.  We don’t discriminate here at The General’s Kids…it doesn’t matter what branch of service, or military status (active/guard), or the type of injury.  Even if the child’s parent has returned to active duty, the pen-pal program would still be very beneficial to the child.  But we need your help to make sure we can help as many little warriors as possible.  Please check out our programs page and the FAQs for more information on all the programs.
Take a minute to like The General’s Kids on facebook, share the page with as many people as you can!  Share the website as well!  If you are an organization that is looking to sponsor, or give back and wants to partner with us, we would be so honored and blessed to have that help!  I know I have a lot of crochet and knitting type friends too…whip up a blanket and we’ll make sure it gets to someone in need.

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Military Support Series: Lone Survivor Foundation

With the release of the movie, by the same name, this past weekend I thought it only fitting to run Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor Foundation as this week’s “Military Monday” post.  It wasn’t until several days ago that I had heard about the organization, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share.


First let me share some thoughts from those that help run the Lone Survivor Ranch and Foundation, as well as those that have benefited from this organization. 

The Lone Survivor Foundation provides specialized education and healing retreats to those injured, both physically and psychologically by war.  What I absolutely love about this foundation is that it recognizes that injuries received in war, are far deeper than physical; and while addressing the wounds and issues facing those with physical injury is important, helping those with non-visible injuries is vital to force retention, the overall health and well-being of our service members and their families.

For far too long we have shoving this aside, and not really addressing it as a problem, while service members and their families struggle to make it through the day.  The military prepares them, and to some extent we as family, for war; but where is the real training and understand for the war that wages as home?

Along with these healing retreats the Lone Survivor Foundation is committed to assisting in the healing process of these “Invisible Wounds”, by educating the service member, their spouses and children.  With the aid of specific therapies, and implementation of coping mechanisms, the Warrior and their family members can move forward on a positive path towards healing.  A unique aspect of the treatment and education process is done through Equine Assisted Learning.

You can watch one of the Board Members of LSF, doctor of clinical medicine at Harvard University, and Commander in the Naval Reserve, speak about some of the statistics, as well as the desires of what the Foundation is looking to accomplish.

If you get a moment please visit the Lone Survivor Foundation website to learn more about this, and spread the word to those that are in need.  More importantly I believe every military family should be educated about the options available to them should they ever find themselves in a situation where this would be needed.  Education is the truest path to avoid a breaking point and the quickest to healing and recovery.

LSF website

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Military Support Series: Luke’s Wings

Welcome to another #MilitarySupportSeries post here on Cammo Style Love.  This week’s spotlight is on a wonderful group called Luke’s Wings.  I had the pleasure of meeting some of the folks behind the organization at a Caregiver Fair I attended, and they spoke with such a passion and compassion for what they do.  I knew that including them in a post was necessary.  Please pass the word along.  I am a firm believer that everyone military-connected should know about organizations like Luke’s Wings.  You never know when you might need them, and you can’t wait until you need them to start looking.

When a service member is wounded, going through a life crisis, or an elderly service member is in hospice care, many times there is no notice to make arrangements to make sure loved ones can be near them.  That is where Luke’s Wings steps in.

By purchasing travel agency services and travel tickets for loved ones, Luke’s Wings provides an immediate and invaluable service to the families of our men and women at arms while also helping to encourage and motivate the service member’s recovery.

But Luke’s Wings is so much more, and is continually expanding their mission, and seeing who else they can help.  That’s what I love about organizations like this; they are ever-changing and the desire of their heart is to find a way to help those in need.

In 2011, Luke’s Wings expanded the mission to also include Texas Veterans during major life events and all Veterans in Hospice Care. As such; a Texas Veteran may be with their family during a major life event. A Veteran in Hospice Care may be surrounded by loved ones as they pass away. Today, the majority of requests are for World War II Veterans, Korean War Veterans, and Vietnam War Veterans in elderly care facilities or long term inpatient care facilities. Luke’s Wings regards the Veterans in Hospice Care Program as a “final salute” to the greatest generation that ever lived.
Last year Luke’s Wings made an additional expansion, to be specially involved with one of the best Wounded Warrior programs out there, the SOCOM Care Coalition.

In 2012, Luke’s Wings was asked to provide emergency flights for the families of our special operators who are injurred on special missions. Luke’s Wings is honored to be the “go-to” for the Special Operations Command (S.O.C.OM.). We are honored to be of service to our special operators as part of the S.O.C.O.M. Care Coalition.
Luke’s Wings also partners with other non-profits to provide free and discounted accommodations, meals, entertainment and stuff specific to the locality.

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Military Support Series – The Yellow Ribbon Fund

Im so happy to be bringing you the fourth installment of my Military Support Series. I had the pleasure of learning about the Yellow Ribbon Fund at a hiring fair I went to, and then at a Caregivers Fair I attended at Walter Reed. It is amazing organizations and the ladies that I met are even more amazing, caregivers themselves, I was pleased beyond belief to shake their hands. I felt like I had heard of Yellow Ribbon Fund before but there are several organizations and programs that included something about the Yellow Ribbons in their name or in their description. That being the case I felt like it was important to talk specifically about the Yellow Ribbon Fund in the hopes that it would help someone that is looking for help.

What does Yellow Ribbon Fund do?

In simple terms, Yellow Ribbon Fund fills the gap between the support and services the Military can provide for injured service members, and the support that the members and their families need.  YRF works in the DC area providing assistance to those at Walter Reed and Belvoir Community Hospital. In many cases, even when the Service Member returns home, YRF continues to provide support.

Specifically, there are so many things that YRF does for these families it absolutely astounds me.  How they have been able to pull together so many resources is absolutely incredible.  When you receive the call that your service member is injured having the contact information for The Yellow Ribbon fund needs to be at the top of your list.  They provide  hotel rooms, rental cars and taxis to family members.   As the healing process continues, free furnished apartments are provided to families that want to remain close to their recovering service member.  For the spouses, parents and significant others it can be an overwhelming situation. Many times these people become the caregiver for their servicemember, leaving their jobs, and lives to focus on their injured service member.  The first girl that I spoke to shared part of her story with me (and having met and known personally other caregivers) I can attest to the fact that it can be a difficult time.  Sometimes thats the understatement of the world.  YRF has pioneered a Caregiving Support program and from what I’ve leared aboutt the personal affect its had on people, I know that I would want it in my life if I needed it.  As recovery continues on Mentors for service members are provided, Volunteer Ambassadors that are all over the country are connected with service members that relocate back home, and volunteer lawyers provide pro bono assistance to those that may need it.

All of this is serious work that is provide in extreme times, to meet the basic needs of all those involved.  Yellow Ribbon Fund is more than that.   Hundreds of activities occur every year to provide fun and relaxation, which is such a huge part of the healing process.  Retreats for  caregivers, activies like golfing and hunting for the service members.  This time of assistance can be a crucial part of the healing process for all those involved.

If you need help and what to know more about the Yellow Ribbon Fund please don’t hesitate to contact them.  Scroll to the bottom of the page where you will find their address, email and phone number.

If you are looking for ways to get involved and help injured service members, here’s some ways to help:

How to help

First, make a donation.  I’m extremely happy to say that since the beginning 81 cents of every dollar spent has gone directly to help an injured service member and their family.  Visit the above link to donate through PayPal.  You can also donate your time and volunteer, simply by filling out the volunteer sheet through the website.  There are also plenty of fundraising opportunities, so please contact them to set something up.

Upcoming events are occurig in the DC area as well.  One of the coolest things that I just iscovered today was Branch shirts designed by an injured service member, that you can purchase.  This month is The Air Force  Yay!!  There are 28 Days left to reach their 500 shirt goal.  I’m purchasing mine, so make sure you get over there and grab one for your favorite Air Froce member or yourself.

Thanks for stopping by the blog and I hope that this post has helped you in some way.  If you have any other quetions please don’t hesitate to email me!

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Military Support Series – “Our Military Kids”

Jumping back into the swing of things, I am so very happy to bring to you the third installment in my Military Support Series.  In light of April being the Month of the Military Child, I thought what better organization to highlight first this month then Our Military Kids.

Our Military Kids Logo

Our Military Kids, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to provide support and recognition to military children. This may include children ages 3 years through the 12th grade of deployed National Guard and Reserve service members, along with children of Wounded and Fallen Warriors from all branches of service. The grants to children pay for fees associated with athletic, fine arts, and tutoring programs. Our Military Kids’ grants keep military children engaged in activities of their choosing, helping to relieve the stress of separation from a parent by providing a positive distraction, minimizing emotional destabilization, building self esteem, and enabling academic achievement.
 Our Military Kids provides tangible support to the children of deployed and severely injured National Guard and Military Reserve personnel through grants for sports, fine arts and tutoring that nurture and sustain the children during the time a parent is away in service to our country.
Last month I had the amazing opportunity to sit down and have lunch with Linda Davidson, co-founder of OMK.  It was truly amazing to hear the story in person, to talk about the direction and how the direction has grown and changed over the years.  To talk about the future and what other things this wonderful organization can accomplish.  Starting as a group of people who sought to serve the children of Guard and Reservists in the State of Virginia only, then growing nationwide, and not stopping until OMK began helping the children of Wounded Warriors as well.

me and Linda Davidson
Linda, and the amazing staff, Board of Directors and volunteers have worked tirelessly to provide grants of up to $500 to cover six months of extra-curricular activities for a child of a deployed service member, who is deployed for 120 days or is one of two missions overseas totaling 180 days in a one-year period and there are at least 30 days remaining, and the child will start the activity before they return home.  The grants are to support athletic activities, fine arts and also tutoring.  Most of us that are military-connected know what its like to have a loved one gone, even if its only for a two week training or field mission.  Regardless of the length of time, when it involves children its difficult.  Two weeks, two months or a year, to them its all hard.   I have personally experienced so many different types of separations and they have all been hard on my children, especially when they are too young to really understand anything.  We haven’t been lucky enough to be a recipient (because I didn’t know about OMK!!!  Crazy!!), but I know that it would have been such a blessing.  One day maybe OMK can expand to include Guard and Reservists families that are in unique situations like prolonged TDYs, Geo-Bachelor, shorter stint missions and more unique situations that I know are out there.
Our Military Kids conducted a survey of recipients (in both the Guard/Reserve and Wounded category) to garner more insight and information into the lives of these families and the effect that it has. 
  • 82% noticed an increase in the stress or anxiety level of their child during the parent’s deployment
  • 97% indicated that participating in an activity benefited their child
  • 100% found the grant application process easy
  • 99% reported that participatin significantly contributed to the overall well-being of the entire family
  • 99% thought the Our Military Kids program should be continued and made available to other families
 My little Military Kid

If they surveyed me I’m sure they would find very similar responses.  My kids are involved in Martial Arts and Awana.  I know that having those things, that pattern, that stability in their lives is incredibly valuable to my children.  The support that they find, that is extremely difficult for those of us not attached to a larger unit and/or on a substantial base is beyond words.

To learn more about Our Military Kids, please visit their website and here are some special links!

Press Release – Business support OMK (if you’re in the VA read this!!!)
Donate to Our Military Kids
Vehicle Donation Program
Our Military Kids Facebook
Our Military Kids Twitter

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