There is a lot of work to helping veterans who are shut out. Many people do not know that Native Americans are not treated equally. There are many things folks do not know about the vets and their families. Our democracy is at stake and many of these volunteers also help GOTV. The volunteers do this not the organization but one will find out that the people who help in one area, also help in other advocacy areas. They are TRUE AMERICAN PATRIOTS with compassion who do not put themselves first.
Before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, American Indians served in the military at a higher rate than any other ethnic group, according to VA data. Resigned from military life, many of them have settled in rural places, far from VA facilities and without culturally competent assistance for getting connected to their earned benefits.
New Mexico is among the states with the largest populations of these veterans, with more than 8,000 as of 2015. Despite that, the VA employs only one person to reach out to tribes in the state. That person’s workload also includes all of Colorado, Arizona and Utah.
There is a lot of work that goes into veteran advocacy and so much suffering not only on the part of the vet but the military families and most veterans are too proud to ask for help, of anykind.
I could write stories that would fill a dozen books on the plight of Veterans who I have seen suffer, their families, and right down to the volunteers who help are suffering. Many of these volunteers are on the poverty line or below and depend on SNAP which has been cut.
I will just add this. Please donate this year to help Veterans, Military families, and our volunteers who give their time and support day or night without compensation or salaries, or at least that is the way it is in my little organization I founded twenty years ago come February. We have never received a salary and when we say volunteer, we mean it. Passion is what drives us. Lack of funds is what stalls us.
Pennies add up.
This year I am trying to help my volunteers. My one volunteer who is a Kossack who normally caretakes, does Thanksgiving dinners and visits the VA regularly is sitting with a car in the shop. Another volunteer, is spending her time going 60 miles one way everyday to care for her grandson and has been for two months suffering from neuropathy and juvenile diabetes along with bone infections. His Mother was killed in a car wreck. She is all he has. Three volunteers have passed. Two more volunteers are scaling back because they can’t afford gas as they could in the past and part of that is that our donations are WAY down. They write cards, visit hospitals, feed and consult..all on their own time. They HELP me with the vision I had 20 years ago.
I need your help. I depend on these folks to help me help vets.
We are small but we accomplish much. Not as much as we would like but we do accomplish. We take time from our own lives, suffer our own issues and yet make time to be foot soldiers for those who have served honorably.
This is a diary I did earlier this week.
This is my little girl way back in 2011
We have raised her to be an advocate. A reminder from her on the 4th…years ago.