Skip to main content

Green Light Don't Mean Stop

by Jim O'Kelley, Director
Elks National Foundation

Wondering where you can buy a green light to show your support for veterans? My guess is you can find one at WalMart...which is the primary sponsor of the Green Light a Vet project.

Cue Soul Asylum.

"How on Earth did I get so jaded?"

I don't mean to sound cynical, especially at this time of year. There's always a lot of extra attention for vets around Veterans Day and the holidays. That's not a bad thing. And the folks at WalMart, well, they need to make a buck, too, right? (Okay, that was snarky.)

But seriously, as a member and employee of an organization for which every day is Veterans Day, I welcome the extra attention. Frankly, we can use the help.

And if a green light makes a vet feel appreciated or helps to ease the often difficult transition to civilian life, then those are good things. Plus, a lot of younger vets are uncomfortable with ostentatious displays of appreciation. By turning on a green light, you can show your gratitude without getting in their face.

But here's the thing: Just as when you're driving, a green light don't mean stop. In other words, let the green light be the beginning, not the end, of your support for veterans.

That's especially important now, because the Elks have entered into a major agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to stamp out homelessness among the veteran population. The Foundation has backed up the Elks' commitment with a pledge of $4 million over the next four years.

It's going to take more than money to beat this scourge, though. It's going to take a lot of hard work by us and other community partners, working with the V.A. Homelessness among veterans isn't a government problem. It's an American problem, and we have to work together to solve it.

You can learn more about our commitment at www.elks.org/vets/welcomehome.cfm. The Elks National Veterans Service Commission soon will announce program details and concrete ways that you can help.

So, turn on your green light. But then go.

Comments

Labels

Show more

Popular posts from this blog

What is Zoom?

by Jim O'Kelley Director, Elks National Foundation Zoom--It's like the Brady Bunch , but without Jan. (This is the first in a series of articles about the need for Lodges to be relevant during the pandemic. To find all posts in the series, click here: #StaySafeBeRelevant .) Every crisis seems to have its breakout star. This one has two, so far—Dr. Fauci and Zoom. If you’re not familiar, Zoom is a remote video-conferencing tool with a free basic package. In these days of social distancing and sheltering in place, Zoom is also a godsend. At the O’Kelley household today, we had three concurrent Zoom meetings going on at one point—Meghan, me, and Jane with her Panda Room preschool pals. In our new teleworking reality, the ENF staff has been using Zoom through Microsoft Teams for check-ins, standing meetings and impromptu discussions. These conferences have helped us stay connected and feel like we’re part of a team despite our isolation. A couple of we

See you at the Julebukking

by Jim O'Kelley Director, Elks National Foundation (Earlier this week, I started a series of posts on the need for Lodges to stay relevant during this time of isolation. This is the second post in the series—technically, the series became a series when I posted this. Anyway, read the first post here . To find all posts in the series, click here: #StaySafeBeRelevant .) Humans have a fundamental need to connect. Scientists, psychologists, therapists, they’ll all tell you the same thing. Our culture may celebrate individualism, but we are wired to be around other people. How else can you explain the existence of organizations like the Elks? It’s certainly not the dated titles or the jewels of office that go along with them. It’s not the many meetings that demand so much of our time if we want to rise through the ranks. It’s not even the desire to serve our communities. The Elks have been around for 152 years because people need other people in our lives. Local Lodges s

Are We Having Fun Yet?

by Jim O'Kelley Director, Elks National Foundation (This is the fifth in a series of posts about the need for Lodges to stay relevant during this time of isolation.  To find all posts in the series, click here:  #StaySafeBeRelevant .) Many of us have been mostly staying at home for two months now, which begs the question, “Are we having fun yet?” In answering that question, I can’t speak for everyone, but after crashing one of their virtual happy hours, I can speak confidently for the folks at Ferndale, Michigan, Lodge No. 1588. That crew is having a ball. Ferndale is a suburb of about 20,000 people, just across the Eight Mile from Detroit. A bedroom community in the 1920s and ’30s, Ferndale boomed along with the auto industry in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. In fact, today, it still derives its nickname from a catchy 1960s advertising campaign that caught: Fashionable Ferndale. Sarah Ignash leads the T-Rex Walking Club to fame, if not fortune. As the economy wen