Support our Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Airman, Coast Guard

Want to send your support to a Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman or Coast Guard,
but have no idea of what to send, who to send it to, or how to send it?  Take a look at:

http://AnySoldier.com

http://AnySailor.com

http://AnyMarine.com

http://AnyAirman.com

http://AnyCoastGuard.com

About us:

It was March 26th, 2003. Army Sergeant Brian Horn, one of 1,000 soldiers, parachuted into enemy territory in Northern Iraq.

Five months later, Brian Horn was able to call his parents. They had been sending their son an average of six care packages per week. So when Brian asked his parents to send more, “my wife and I thought he was kidding!” Marty Horn told me. “But Brian said, ‘no — its for the soldiers that don’t get any.'”

Both Brian’s parents had spent their careers in the Military, so they immediately understood what Brian was saying. Millions of men and women serving overseas never receive any mail. Besides often lacking basic necessities, these men and women have to cope with the harsh conditions of serving overseas without signs of support from friends and family back home.

The Horns developed the idea for AnySoldier.com during that phone call. Marty created a website that explained the project and offered Brian’s address — including the words “Attn: Any Soldier”. Brian would give these packages to the soldiers not receiving any mail. After his service in the Military, Marty had gotten involved in the still-young Internet. He knew how much opportunity the Internet offered, but even he was amazed at the results. “Within two weeks, we were getting flooded with email from all over the world. It was like an avalanche.”

The project’s growth kept up its tremendous pace. In January 2004, in response to many requests, the Horns opened up the project to the other Military branches. Within one year, they went from seven Military contacts distributing “Any Soldier” packages to 3,500.

“It just exploded. It literally took on a life of its own… Honestly, we started this as a way to help my son and his troops. Imagine camping — it’s hard enough to get stuff, imagine being one in a thousand guys who parachuted behind enemy lines,” Marty said.

The growth has continued. To date, AnySoldier.com — and its related websites, AnyMarine, AnyAirman, AnySailor, and AnyCoastGuardsman — have served over 2 million troops stationed in many locations (Current info HERE). The men and women in service come from many states and countries — the vast majority from the USA, but also from such places as England, Italy, Germany, and Japan. Visitors to AnySoldier.com can search for contacts by service location, where the unit comes from, the number of males or females in the group (some supporters prefer to write to “Attn: Any Female Soldier”), and the number of times their address has been requested — among other options.

The response has overwhelmed the recipients, as well. AnySoldier updates from the men and women in service express gratitude, joy and awe at the support they receive. Unit leaders, in particular, write about the contribution AnySoldier makes to their troops:

“Thank you so much for your support…seeing the faces of my troops when they get to open a package is what keeps us going around here.”

“I have never seen anything like the love, appreciation and support that comes from the people who visit this site…I just want to thank you all once again from the bottom of my heart. So far I have been able to spread your love to 4 different soldiers of my platoon/battery and see the joyous looks on the soldiers’ faces…”

“Thank you so much for all the packages and letters…morale is up high. I can’t tell you enough how grateful we are. In my eyes you guys are the real heroes.”

AnySoldier has also offered support to wounded Marines recuperating from injuries; assisted in procuring and importing wheelchairs for crippled Afghani children; helped bring attention to and arrange shipments of much-needed medical supplies and textbooks for distribution throughout the Iraqi medical system; and many other projects. AnySoldier packages from supporters have also contributed to the distribution of toys, books, and necessary supplies to civilians living in war zones.

Unfortunately, the economy has impacted everyone. AnySoldier, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is almost entirely family-run and depends on donations. The last year has found AnySoldier in debt for the first time in its existence, and the family struggles to maintain all the aspects of the AnySoldier organization on their own. Not only are all the website updates done personally (all update emails by AnySoldier recipients are reviewed for security before being posted to the site), but the Horns try to stay on top of the ever-changing, often-confusing mail regulations for packages to Military personnel, offering guidance and recommendations on the website.

Support for the AnySoldier organization comes in many forms. A group at MIT created a Yahoo! toolbar that donates a few cents to AnySoldier for every search. The Combined Federal Campaign (catalog number 11993) has approved AnySoldier for their 2010 campaign, and a number of online businesses such as Amazon.com contribute a percentage of sales if you click through the link on the AnySoldier site, found on this page. Similarly, GoodSearch has teamed up with a large number of popular stores to donate a percentage of sales to AnySoldier. More details on these programs and other ways to support AnySoldier can be found here: http://AnySoldier.com/OtherWaysToHelp.cfm.

Despite the difficulties, the Horns stay focused on the importance of what AnySoldier does. “It is a letter, maybe even in a box, addressed to a particular Soldier, Marine, Sailor, Airman, or Coastguardsman, that will change the day of that Warrior. I can tell you for a fact, that a simple act like that may not only save the life of that Warrior, but affects the morale of the entire unit.” said Marty Horn.

Brian Horn affirmed:
“I couldn’t be any more proud to have been a part of such an honorable organization as AnySoldier.com… To have been able to distribute the mail personally as a contact to soldiers who get next to no mail at all and for that brief moment see the look of hope in their faces of good things to come. The hope that somebody out there does care. That somebody does in fact love them as they deservingly should be loved. The hope that some day their involvement in the fight on terror was to preserve those that believed in them so much through and through, until their fight was done. We fight so that maybe, just maybe your grandchildren won’t have to…”

Destination Destare Awards Night- Veteran Homestead

Destination Destare
The Veteran Homestead Inc. is happy to announce the success of its “Destination Destare” Awards function. With approximately one hundred and fifty supporters in attendance the Veteran Homestead presented four awards to community leaders and volunteers that have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their support of our veterans. Rick Voutour, the Veterans Service Representative for Leominster MA received the Leadership Award for his untiring effNortheast Veteran Training and Rehabilitation Centerorts on behalf of veterans in his services area. Mary McMahon of Walpole New Hampshire was given the Comrade Award for her volunteer efforts providing counseling to veterans families at our Northeast Veterans Training and Rehabilitation Center. Leominster Dentist James Balutis received the Community Award for his donation of dental services to our areas homeless veterans and Christine Larkin, the Project Director at the Mount Wachusett Community College Veterans Center, was given the Unsung Hero Award for her work obtaining education and services for our local veterans.

The evening was filled with excellent music graciously provided by the Jazz Depot, a silent auction with many exciting gifts donated by area businesses and a live auction that added some excitement and laughter to the evening. Leslie Lightfoot, the Executive Director of the Veteran Homestead Inc. gave out the awards using words of high praise for the awardees and thanking each of them for their tireless efforts. This was the second year Veteran Homestead has held this function and with its great success we are looking forward to next year’s event with great anticipation. Rebecca Korduner, the Director of Development at the Veteran Homestead, was responsible for setting up the event and deserves high praise for its success.

For more information about Veteran Homestead, please visit the website at:
http://www.veteranhomestead.org/

Outward Bound for Veterans

Reenergizing Veterans Through Adventure and Challenge.

Outward Bound for Veterans helps thousands of returning service members and recent veterans readjust to life at home through powerful wilderness courses that draw on the healing benefit of teamwork and challenge through use of the natural world.

Programs

Outward Bound for Veterans provides our returning service men and women with rewarding wilderness expeditions specially designed for the men and women or our nation’s armed forces. Veterans programs are designed to be exhilarating, challenging, and rewarding. We make the most of the organizational and teamwork skills which veterans have learned in the military to move groups of 10-12 participants straight into the field.

Once on expedition, Outward Bound training will bring veterans up to speed on our wilderness travel expectations. Leadership skills will be tested as participants take responsibility for the crew and make community plans and decisions. Our staff, most veterans themselves, have extensive experience in backpacking, mountaineering, climbing, canoeing, sailing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and dog sledding. Participants rely on them for information and safety, but ultimately the success of the experience rests with the participants. All programs, including travel to and from the course areas from anywhere in the continental US, are fully funded through the generous support of a network of partners, sponsors and donors. Participating veterans only need to provide day-to-day clothing and footwear.

Outward Bound for Veterans programs:

  • build a supportive community with other war veterans
  • facilitate genuine discussions on readjustment and transition challenges
  • re-energize and reinvigorate spirits through adventures and challenges in a beautiful natural environment
  • reduce the feeling of isolation
  • provide the opportunity to bond with comrades outside of the typical military structure
  • transfer veterans’ military values and experiences to civilian life so that veterans are prepared to serve their stateside communities.

About Outward bound for Veterans

Outward Bound for Veterans helps returning service members and recent veterans readjust to life at home through powerful wilderness courses that draw on the healing benefit of teamwork and challenge through use of the natural world.

Servicemen and veterans take part in wilderness expeditions that are physically, mentally and emotionally challenging in order to build the self-confidence, pride, trust and communication skills necessary to successfully return to their families, employers and communities following wartime service. These expeditions purposefully scaffold wartime experiences (carrying heavy packs, sore shoulders, rubbery legs, sleeping out, strange noises, sweat, dirt, frustration and anger) with authentic achievements to create positive emotional and mental outcomes.

Wilderness activities are used as metaphors for daily life experiences in the pursuit of individual and group excellence, illuminating how the support and collaboration needed to meet Outward Bound goals can positively impact participants’ interactions with others at home. Many veterans experienced courage, brotherhood and a real sense of power and competence while in combat. Outward Bound gives Veterans and service members the opportunity to re-experience these strengths in themselves in a different context, thus helping them to transition back to civilian life.

Outward Bound for Veterans

Outward Bound’s first courses for veterans were established through collaboration with Veterans Administration Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) units to serve Vietnam War veterans. Outward Bound renewed the program in 2006 to serve Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, running one such course each year. The 2006 and 2007 courses both received overwhelmingly positive evaluations. Based on this success, in 2008 Outward Bound received a three-year, $4.3 million grant from Military Family Outdoor Initiative Project (MFO). With this grant and additional support from the federal government and others, we have increased the number of veterans served from 13 in 2007 to 1,400 in 2010.

Please visit www.outwardbound.org/veteran-adventures/outward-bound-for-veterans/ for more information regarding the courses, dates and locations.  Clicking on any of the links or photos will direct you to Outward Bound for Veterans.

Statewide Advocacy for Veterans’ Empowerment (SAVE)

Statewide Advocacy for Veterans’ Empowerment (SAVE)

“You give us the call…we’ll give you the answer.”

The fundamental principle of the SAVE program is to advocate for veterans who are not able to obtain the benefits they have earned due to institutional or personal barriers. The program’s primary mission is prevention of suicide and mental health distress through the identification of issues facing veterans when they return from service and proactively providing them with access to benefits and services that may address these issues and result in positive transitions back to civilian life.

SAVE acts as a liaison between veterans and their families and the various agencies within the federal and state governments.

The SAVE team works closely, and in collaboration, with the Massachusetts National Guard. Resources offered by the Massachusetts National Guard and their Family Readiness Program are available to all service members and their families, regardless of the branch in which they serve.

Contact Offices

Boston Office:

SAVE Team
Department of Veterans’ Service
600 Washington St., 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02111
617-210-5743
Toll-free: 1-888-844-2838
fax: 617-210-5755
[email protected]

Chelsea Office:

SAVE Team
Chelsea Soldiers’ Home
91 Crest Avenue, Building D
Chelsea, MA 02150
617-210-5743

Holyoke Office:

SAVE Team
Holyoke Soldiers’ Home
110 Cherry Street, Office 065
Holyoke, MA 01040
413-532-9475, then dial ext. 532-1518

Complementary Content