Maybe there’s a little bit of “ veteran” in all of us.
Friday, November 11 is Veterans Day.
Words like “duty and honor” come to mind when we think about veterans. Even if we don’t know a veteran personally, our support of them is universal as we celebrate the values they represent. We admire the way they put themselves in harm’s way, and how they subordinate individual needs for the needs of the group: we celebrate their sacrifices.
But, there are other veterans who deserve our recognition.
For example, Community Lifeline Center volunteers who – for want of nothing more than an occasional thank you – spend hours and hours welcoming those in need and keeping the office running. Case managers who have the difficult task of telling some they do not qualify for assistance, and the even more challenging task of telling those who do what the limits of that assistance are. And, volunteers who work on grants and fund raising events to fund services, and teach job search, computer skills, and how to manage a household budget.
Men and women who sacrifice their own time and money to help those in need, because of a simple belief that those who can should share with those who can’t; those who have, should share with those who have not.
And, then there are the clients: the men, women, and children in need.
Like the mother unexpectedly forced to manage a family alone, and willing to make whatever sacrifice is required to keep her family in their home: taking classes, learning computer skills, accepting donations of food and services to buy time in order to start fresh. Or, a father who has proudly been sole provider for his family, successful in his work, respected in his community, but suddenly faced with job loss. Old and young men who are no strangers to sacrifice, but whose sense of honor is replaced with a sense of desperation, but whose sense of duty is unwavering. Or a senior, who believes that asking for help is unseemly, or a sign of weakness; a senior unable to keep the heat and lights on, or get a prescription filled, but who wants others in need to be taken care of first.
Our armed forces veterans represent the best in all of us. And, we rightly celebrate them on Veterans Day. But, there are quiet acts of honor, duty, and sacrifice going on all around us. And, in no way does it diminish our regard for our veterans to point out that many of the qualities they represent can be found everywhere, and every day at Community Lifeline Center.