This article is written by Kelsey Logan, whose husband Jason Logan is a Western Fraternal Life member and proud President of Lodge No. 7. Jason is also a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.
With Veteran’s Day just around the corner, it is the right time to start thinking about the best way to care for our nation’s bravest heroes. There are several ways to take care of our vets, both overseas and at home. Many well-meaning folks send things to veterans overseas, and while it is always appreciated, some things are more needed than others. I asked my veteran husband, and some of his friends, to come up with a list of things they would like most in care packages. *Disclaimer: this is based on their experiences in a very remote area in Afghanistan; they did not have access to the big bases that have shops. Some folks overseas have better access and may not need some of the more basic supplies.* Here is what they said:
- baby wipes
- REAL toilet paper
- hard candy (or fruity candy that won’t melt like skittles or starburst)
- fruit snacks
- soda or juice pouches
- pads of paper
- movies, or tv series
- zip lock bags
- cards, letters, photos, anything that reminds them of home. “Best advice, send stuff that reminds of home or lets you contact home.”
They also said that while many things on lists that other aid organizations put out are nice, they usually have an abundance of them. For example, sending playing cards is not necessary anymore because casinos send their leftover cards. The veterans have so many, they use a different deck every day when playing. (I have 10 decks of cards at home, all from Jason’s time overseas). Some items like books, Q-tips, shaving cream, razors, etc. are put in a community area to share. They can just go and pick some up for free.
However, you don’t need to send a package to show your appreciation for our veterans. One of my favorite stories was when Jason was on his way to training in Virginia this spring. He was having lunch, in uniform, when a woman came up to him and gave him a hug. She said thank you for your service and then, without telling him, paid for his meal. Small acts of kindness can add a bright spot to anyone’s day, veteran or not.
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Call 877-935-2467 to speak with a Western Fraternal Life Representative.