This weekend we will all gather with family and friends, lather on the sunscreen and head to beaches, lakes, and pools. We’ll huddle on blankets under a spectacle of fireworks set to the patriotic lyrics of Lee Greenwood’s signature song, “God Bless the U.S.A.” The Fourth of July is a quintessential American summer holiday full of joy but it’s also a time to reflect on the men and women who bravely serve and protect us.
Before he danced his way into America’s hearts, Noah Galloway served and sacrificed for his country. In 2005, Galloway lost his left arm above the elbow and his left leg above the knee in Iraq. After years of recovery and struggle, he is now thriving and recognizes his good fortune puts him in a place to be a voice for other injured veterans.
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Galloway spoke to Southern Living about how Americans can honor veterans and his advice was pretty easy.
“A simple thank-you goes a long way,” Galloway said. If you pass a veteran in the grocery store or on your flight to your vacation this weekend, tell that person “thank you for your service.”
But if you are looking for more ways to help veterans, there are several organizations committed to bettering the lives of veterans every day. Here are a few if you are interested in volunteering or donating to this cause.
The Gary Sinise Foundation – Gary Sinise’s most iconic role is that of Lt. Dan Taylor in the blockbuster film, Forest Gump, but it was through that role that Sinise realized he could really make a positive impact on bettering the lives of the men and women who serve our country. The Gary Sinise Foundation has several programs to help veterans, as well as other wounded heroes like first responders. Their programs provide services including building accessible homes, providing adapted vehicles and other services that help give these folks increase their mobility and self-reliance.
Homes for Our Troops — Homes for Our Troops is also an organization dedicated to building and donating specially adapted homes to fit the needs of injured an injured veteran’s new reality. This organization actually built a home for Noah Galloway after his injury. You can help this group by donating money or supplies or if you are a builder or skilled tradesman, you can actually become a building partner and help build a home.
Fisher House – The Fisher House is a network of temporary homes to give loved ones a place to stay while their injured soldier is receiving care at a military or VA medical facility. Families of these wounded heroes never pay for their lodging. You can help continue their mission by donating to their Hero Miles Program. By donating your air miles, you can help a military family travel to be with their injured family member as they recover. You can also volunteer at the house nearest you or at any of their fundraising events. A helping hand is always needed.