Today is veteran’s day and we’re using The Drift to send a message that is at once both personal and universal. The nature of military service in our country today means that the vast majority of us and our children will spend our lives never picking up a rifle or serving on the deck of a warship. Today is about those who have, who do and who will in the future.
I have a nephew currently serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan, after having already served in Iraq. I would want for Scott what we should want for all our veterans: to have our society and government equip them for life as vigorously fully as we equip them in the field. Unfortunately — and this is not political — we are still better as a country at sending people to war than we are in bringing them home. What the VA and other government agencies can’t accomplish is left to us.
Which brings me to a friend and a cause that I hold dear. Tom Deierlein was an industry friend and colleague before I ever knew he had a connection to the military. In a chain of events familiar to those of us who know Tom, he was called back to the military in 2006 to serve as a civilian affairs officer in Sadr City, a Shiite slum in Baghdad. Immediately he began collecting toys, school supplies, vitamins…anything that would make the lives of suffering Iraqi children and families more tolerable and hopeful. Short time later, Tom was shot by a sniper, spent most of a year in Walter Reed Army Hospital, learned to walk again, and never looked away from the mission for a second.
The TD Foundation now helps not only Iraqi and Afghan children — supporting girls schools threatened by the Taliban, purchasing prosthetic limbs, arranging transportation for lifesaving surgery — but has now expanded its mission to helping the families of wounded warriors back here in the United States. Recently, Tom shared with many of us the plight of a seriously disabled vet and his family: Forced into becoming a nearly full-time caregiver, the soldier’s wife was unable to work. Bills came due, the family car fell into disrepair. Even the purchase of a medically prescribed bed for her veteran couldn’t be made. Learning of the situation, Tom was able to simply write a check to make all of this go away. No bureaucracy, no overhead, no celebrity-filled fundraisers. Just help.
Knowing what our service members give, I will never feel like I can ever have ‘done my share.’ But I can do something today and so can you. Make a donation right now. Even ten bucks…anything. Then forward this post — or tweet the hell out of it. Then write me back or post a comment. Let’s make noise and put a lot more money into the TD Foundation so that Tom can write a lot more checks.
And you don’t even have to dump a bucket of ice water on your head.