Friday, November 2, 2012

A Hand Up

By Programs Associate Mary Morgan

In June, I attended a few days of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Knowing the passion many Elks have for supporting veterans, I attended speeches and sessions geared toward effectively serving veterans, active-duty military members and their families. Along the way, I met many wonderful people and learned about many great organizations dedicated to doing just that.

General George W. Casey
While there were no cookie-cutter solutions offered, there were a great many small success stories offered from around the nation. Most of those solutions started locally, a point which would come up again when I went to hear a speech by General George W. Casey on how communities can aid veterans.

General Casey is a retired United States Army General, and served as the 36th Chief of Staff of the United States Army. His speech, entitled “All the Way Home,” kicked off the last day of the conference and focused on ways to help veterans, service members and their families adapt and thrive.

“Start at the local level,” Gen. Casey began. “Don’t wait for government to act. Military depends on public/private partnerships.”

As I listened to his speech and considered what I’d learned at the conference, I realized that as a charitable, community organization, the Elks are in a unique position to reach out and help veterans, military members and their families.

Now that it’s Veterans Remembrance Month, there is no better time for me to share my takeaways from the conference. The Hand Up series is meant to inspire Lodges to use their ENF Grants to do more, or do things differently to help today’s returning service men and women. Veterans have the potential to be great resources in their communities. They simply need a hand up. That’s exactly where the Elks come in.

Click here to read the first installment in the month-long series.

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