When our communications director asked if I wanted to make a few comments about the year 2018 in review and all that had been accomplished by Resurrecting Lives Foundation, I told her I would have to think about it. MANY things were accomplished, of course, due to the support of hundreds of volunteers, donors, and, of course, Veterans and their families:
• We continued to increase awareness regarding TBI diagnosis and treatment from coast to coast, literally – from LA, and the Milken Foundation brunch co-sponsored with the MVAT veterans’ non-profit in LA – to Quebec City and the NATO presentation for the Reserve Medical Officers.
• We established a newsletter which assisted on the internet and on Capitol Hill -bringing the voice of those who were struggling to eyes that could provide solutions in legislation and in communities.
• We collaborated with companies such as Cardinal Health and Honda of America and the Huntington Bank to develop strategies for veterans’ employment; not just hiring veterans, but full employment.
• We collaborated with the Ohio Diversity Council to provide employers with simple strategies for workplace adjustment, assisting long-term employment for veterans with TBI/PTSD.
• We welcomed a new Board member and several new Advisors. We did all that, and more, thanks to the compassionate generosity of supporters; our board; and especially our Veterans and their families.
But, to be honest, I do not want to talk about the ground that we have taken; I want to speak about the ground that lies before us. I do not want to look back, but forward. I want all of us connected to Resurrecting Lives Foundation to embrace the year ahead and its countless opportunities to take more ground; to discover more opportunities; to deliver more services; to resurrect more heroes; to educate the communities and the nation about America’s #1 greatest natural resource: our all-voluntary military members, Veterans and their families.
As Benjamin Franklin, founding father of our nation so aptly stated: Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
Let 2019 be the year of involvement.
Over the past several years, with the support of our loyal patriots we have been involved in hundreds of presentations for TBI awareness; we taught employers, and health care providers, and community leaders and military officers and veterans and their families about diagnosing and treating TBI; we discussed necessary legislation with our lawmakers in Ohio and on Capitol Hill.
Now, in 2019, is the time for involvement. It is only through involvement – at your work place, your community, your hospitals, your schools, your places of worship – that all will learn about the reintegration struggles that exists for individuals and family members who offer their lives to protect our freedoms.
Encourage your workplace to employ veterans; to become involved in their training and adjustment to the civilian world. Form veterans support groups at your place of employment.
Make it a priority to learn about military culture and involve yourself in military celebrations on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Assist in your community with the reintegration of our new veterans and their families when they return home, or settle for the first time in a community post military service. Provide education on public transportation, schools, financial responsibility, childcare and health care. Remember, the majority of our young veterans entered the military directly from high school and they have not become familiar with these processes.
Establish fund raisers and sports events, events that involve family activities and offer chances for our veterans to become as integral a part of the civilian community as they were in the military community.
Write to your state and national lawmakers and request better health care for veterans, through the expansion of the Choice Act; better veteran employment opportunities through new legislation to replace the ailing HIRE Act; and better education for veterans through the inclusion of trade schools to enhance or teach new skills to the newly discharged military member.
Give of your time, talent, and treasure to veteran support groups. In 2019, RLF is planning our inaugural TBI Awareness Days at two community hospitals in central Ohio; your donations to our foundation can help to make that a reality. But your talent and time are so needed by veteran support groups in all communities across America- show that our veterans matter by giving of yourself.
2019 is the YEAR to become involved, to get things done; to take ground, before the distractions of another election year arise.
Look back for a moment, and be thankful for all that has been accomplished – Look forward for while and realize how your involvement can impact a community; restore a family; save a life. Tell- Teach – Involve.
With sincere appreciation for all the past support; and incredible anticipation of what is to come,