by 2016 Elks Scholar Alum of the Year, Capt. Rachel M. Russo, MD, MAS
Today is an historic day. We faced an unprecedented election between two rivals, a woman and a businessman. With many Americans holding strong opinions about the outcome, we are all experiencing the emotions that come along with electing a new president. It is a time to reach out to each other and celebrate the things we have in common as we all move forward together. The rights to vote, to express dissenting opinions, and to come together in unity are freedoms that have been hard-earned by the men and women of this country over generations.
Since World War II the Elks National Veterans Service Commission has been dedicated to serving these men and women who spent their lives securing our freedoms. In this month of November, Veteran’s Remembrance Month, I’d like to say thank you to the Elks, and to all of my fellow veterans and military members for their unwavering commitment.
As Americans, we all want the same things: to feel safe, stay healthy, and live happily with food in our bellies and roofs over our heads. It is all too often that the very people who put themselves in danger to secure those things for us now lack these basic needs themselves.
The Elks National Foundation recognizes this problem and is working with the Veterans Administration to end veteran homelessness, improve access to healthcare, and uplift those vets in need. More than 85 percent of veterans served by the V.A. have no family, so the Elks family steps in to embrace them. Last year alone, more than 14,000 Elks volunteers provided assistance to nearly 300,000 veterans. If you would like to volunteer with the Elks this month, please click here for more information. If you have an idea to help your local Lodge start a program for veterans in your area, grant funding is available through the Elks Veterans Service Commission’s Freedom Grants program.
I am proud to be a part of the Elks family and proud to be a member of the United States Air Force. Please join me in being proud to be an American as we come together to give thanks this Veterans Day and beyond.