It seems that there have been so many stories in the news lately of violence, anger, and hatred. It gets to be overwhelming and sometimes it’s difficult to remember that there are many good humans in the world caring for others. That’s what sparked the 1000 Voices for Compassion movement in the blogging world. There are more than one thousand people writing about compassion today. I’m proud to be one of many shining a light on goodness and love.
Compassion is showing kindness to others, meeting them wherever they are with whatever needs they have in any given moment, not expecting anything in return. It’s sympathizing with someone and acting in a way that provides for them in ways that support and nurture.
As I was contemplating this blog post on compassion, a friend of mine shared on Facebook details of something he’s been working on–a cause that’s near and dear to him as a service-connected disabled veteran. He’s established an organization called Veterans Entertainment for Trauma Survivors, Inc. to serve veterans with PTSD who have trouble going out into big, public venues for what most of us consider fun events.
I feel incredible gratitude for the men and women who give up so much to serve our country–and for their families who sacrifice at home as well. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to live for months–or years–in volatile parts of the world, with the stress and anxiety of combat and the constant threat of attack looming. That’s a lot to process, and not something that can just be forgotten or turned off when returning home. The transition is extremely difficult for so many.
That’s what’s motivated my friend, Jason Correll, to found Vets, Inc.
Jason has been working with Veterans for more than a decade. He’s worked with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services as a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist and is currently working for the US Department of Veteran Affairs. He also serves on the board of his local County Veterans Service Commission. In short, in addition to serving his country in the Army, he’s dedicated his life’s work to serving his fellow Veterans.
It’s incredibly difficult for many Veterans to assimilate back into typical civilian life. Simple things most of us don’t think twice about–like going out to dinner, grocery shopping, or taking our kids to a movie or Disney on Ice show–trigger PTSD for many combat Vets. The idea of sitting in a large crowd with so much activity is too overwhelming for most. Jason has had conversations with various Veterans who’ve talked about the difficulties of even just driving down the street because rustling bags, trash, or roadside debris can cause stress.
After one particular conversation with a friend who said that he even struggled when watching his daughters’ middle school softball games, Jason received an email from the Cleveland Browns advertising their private suite rentals. The advertisement discussed how renting a suite was like having the game come to your living room. That was when he got the idea for Vets, Inc.
His main goal through the program was originally to bring some happiness to those who may not have experienced much of it over the past few years. He thought that if he could take a handful of Veterans and let them relax and enjoy the things so many of us take for granted that they may finally find some peace, and gradually be able to relax a bit more in similar situations.
As more and more is learned about the effects of PTSD and the crisis of Veterans’ suicide, he’s also hopeful that his efforts will allow those suffering some forms of PTSD, anxiety, or depression to see that they are not alone in their struggles.
To accomplish this and accommodate combat Vets who are dealing with issues that are exacerbated by being in large crowds, Jason has been working to secure suites at large venues that host sporting events, concerts, shows, and family events. For Veterans who would struggle with being in general seating of a loud and bustling arena, a suite is more secure and private, usually with its own restroom, even alleviating the need to be in the large crowd while using the facilities. Access to suites is usually also allowed up to 2 hours before the event meaning that Vets could again avoid the crowds and be seated well before the general public comes inside.
The biggest hurdle Jason’s encountered in getting Vets, Inc. established is the cost of leasing a suite. They’re expensive, no doubt, but when you consider that thousands of Veterans would be able to enjoy events with their family and friends, feeling a sense of normalcy and happiness, connecting with other Vets in similar situations, it feels like money well spent.
I know there are people who feel moved to donate to others in need. Within the last month, over $350,000 was raised by more than 13,000 people for a Detroit man who walked 21 miles to work each day. In my local community, a family lost their home in a fire recently. In a matter of days, people filled two businesses with furniture and goods to help them start again.
There is so much good in the world. People are full of kindness and compassion. We want to help others in need. We can accomplish so much when we shine our light on others.
Here’s how you can help and shine your light for those who served for us:
- If you’d like to donate money, please visit http://www.vetsinc.net and click on the Donate tab or mail to: VETS, Inc.
P.O.Box 112Wooster, Ohio 44691
- If you are or know a Veteran who is interested in the efforts of Vets, Inc, you can visit http://www.vetsinc.net and fill out the information page on the Veterans’ tab.
- If you or your company hold a lease on a suite that you’d like to share, please email Jason directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you have tickets for general arena seating you’d like to donate to a Veterans’ organization, please visit www.vettix.org.
- Please share this post to spread the word about the compassionate work being done to help combat Veterans who are struggling with everyday tasks as they transition from military service to civilian life.