Thankfulness: A US Veteran’s Perspective

Thankfulness:  Awareness and appreciation of a benefit.   Expressive of gratitude.

This year I am thankful for the love and support of my family and friends. I am also very appreciative for the freedom we have in the United States and feel that it should never be taken for granted.

As a US Army veteran who served in the Gulf War in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, I have seen first hand countries and governments that limit the freedoms and rights of a large percent of their populations.  I am proud and grateful to be US citizen with certain unalienable rights:  Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

I believe that we should be thankful for our active duty service men and women who are deployed in various conflicts around the world.  These brave Americans have volunteered to put their lives on the line to ensure that our country remains strong and free.  They are sacrificing their own personal freedoms and comforts so you don’t have to. When you thank a Veteran for their service please keep these thoughts in mind.

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Members of VFW Post 1 marching in the Veterans Day Parade in Denver. Nov 2013. Photo by Marla Keown.

This year I am thankful for a number of strong non-profit organizations that are tireless in their efforts to help veterans and their families in need.

This year the following organizations stand out as exemplary:

  1. Team Rubicon- Their mission is to unite the skills and experience of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.   Many Colorado flood victims this year were assisted by this great team.
  2.  VFW Post 1– The nation’s first and oldest Veterans of Foreign Wars Post has the youngest and most active membership.  This post in Denver, CO actively supports programs and partners who assist veterans and their families in the community.
  3.  Fisher House Foundation– Best know for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.

US Navy Veteran, Dana Niemela, working with Team Rubicon to help Colorado flood victims. Sep. 2013