On this day when we honor the many men and women who have served our country to protect our lives here in the U.S,, it made me wonder, do we know who and where they are? Unless you can recognize it on the clothing they wear or on the car that they drive, you may not know. Unless they are recognized in the newspaper or at a town function, you may not know. Unless they are a relative or friend, you may not know. These brave, selfless soldiers may live on your street or in your neighborhood and you wouldn’t know it. Most who have served, live there lives just like you and I do. Then there are others who suffer some of life’s real misfortunes. Poverty, addictions, depression and PTSD just to name a few. As time has gone on, we as a nation recognize that we need to “give back” and help these men and women who have so nobly fought for our freedom. Find ways to get involved with the many organizations and programs that are in your towns and cities.

I did some research and here are s few simple ways we can help the veteran who may live down the street from you or go to your church.

The Disabled American Veterans association has a volunteer program to give rides to veterans who need transportation to and from hospitals and doctor appointments.

You can donate your frequent flier miles. Fisher House Foundation has a network of homes that are near to veteran medical facilities for families to live in while their loved one goes through medical treatment. The Hero Miles Program uses donated frequent flier miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members.

Buy your holiday cards from Puppies Behind Bars. Your holiday card purchase can help veterans dealing the many maladies that they may suffer from. Puppies Behind Bars is a program in which prisoners train companion dogs for veterans with PTSD, and these canines are featured in holiday cards to raise funds for the program.

Help build a home for a Vet. Homes For Troops builds specially modified homes for veterans that help them live independently. These homes are built at no cost to the veterans. The group is able to do so through fund-raisers and donations.

Send a care package or a letter. Operation Gratitude is about to send its 1 millionth individually addressed care package to the military community. The packages are sent to current military members as well as veterans, wounded warriors and their caregivers. As more American troops return to civilian life, the Operation Gratitude veterans program has been growing. It also has a letter writing campaign encouraging everyone to write handwritten letters of gratitude to veterans. Over the next two years, Operation Gratitude hopes to provide a care package to every Vietnam veteran ahead of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War!

So, whoever they are and wherever they live, you can “give back” to the 23 million American Veterans that may live down the street from you or across the country!