Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Walmart and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.
How to Help Military Members as They Transition to Civilians
The night was quiet and seemingly ordinary. The moon was on full display as it reflected on my window. I was awake reading with my tiny lamp beside my bed. My husband was asleep next to me. I was at peace.
I began to remember nights that weren’t like this.
I thought about the nights when I slept alone. I read all night long because I was worried about where my husband was, and I was concerned about what he was doing. I wasn’t even sure exactly where in the world he was.
I had to be strong during that phase of our life and stronger than I thought. I would be asked to pick up our life and move on a moment’s notice to anywhere in the world. I would have to quit my job and start over, find new friends, learn a new town, and be left alone almost as soon as we arrived. I would have to have an unshakeable faith.
It wasn’t easy being a soldier’s wife but it was everything to us.
I knew that when I met my husband and he was in the Navy that my life would not be like my friends. I would have a life full of uncontrollable compromises.
We would be tested and tried and his work day would not be 9-5. It would be the hardest job and the one that made him the man he wanted to be.
He would spend the next eight years wearing that uniform and his heart on his sleeve when his ship pulled out of port, and I was left to watch from the dock. He would go on to serve in the reserves and then as a gold officer helping others to take the greatest job in the world.
You would think the hardest job is the worst. It isn’t; it is the greatest opportunity you have as an American to serve and protect. You fight for our freedom, and you help to achieve freedom all over the world for others.
The world is changing, and the fight is more complicated as technology enables the “bad” people faster than ever before. That is why it is so important to support our military on this holiday and every minute of every day.
The Military is the reason for our freedom, and it is the reason why I support companies that not only value their service but do their best to help as service heroes transition out.
Walmart is one of these companies. I not only can provide the things I need more my family but I know supporting Walmart does more than that. It helps the men and women and the families of the defenders of our freedom. Four years ago, Walmart introduced the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, which guarantees a job offer to any eligible, honorably discharged U.S. veteran who was within 12 months of active duty, with a goal of hiring 250,000 veterans by the end of 2020. As of now, Walmart has hired more than 170,000 veterans, and more than 22,000 have been promoted to jobs with greater responsibility.
I didn’t know that Walmart has a Military Family Promise that guarantees a job at a nearby store or club for all military personnel and military spouses employed by Walmart and Sam’s Club who move to a different part of the country because they or their spouse have been transferred by the United States military. That is a helpful opportunity since job placement is so difficult when you move every two to three years. You lose income if your spouse can not work which can be a hardship on the service member’s family.
Walmart supports the wives who read all night instead of worrying. The husbands, sisters, children, brothers, and fathers and mothers whose hearts are somewhere else.
Walmart recognizes that according to the U.S Department of Defense more than 200,000 men and woman return to civilian life. Many find this transition difficult. They find it hard to navigate the multiple agencies offering job placement. In 2016, alone there was more than 450,000 unemployed veteran in the United States, 40 percent of whom were 18 to 44 (Department of Labor).
On Memorial Day we recognize our nation’s veterans, military members, and their families, and honor the sacrifice they have made to their country.
Here are the assistance programs that will help our service members return to civilian work.
You can help these programs by:
– Visiting a wounded veteran or make a card or care package for a military family
– Getting involved in your local and state government to help legislate for the military
– Volunteering or donating to a charity that helps military families or veterans
– Donating or volunteering with organizations that support military families during all stages of service.
– Consider donating time or funding to programs supporting families who have lost loved ones.
– Shopping at and promoting Greenlight A Vet and the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business.
– Share information with local military families in your communities about resources available to them.
For example, Walmart offers many benefits to veterans and military families:
In 2014, Walmart doubled a $20 million commitment to support veterans and their families with assistance for programs that provide job training, transition help and education through 2019.
There are also grants available to help.
To support families who have suffered the ultimate sacrifice, Walmart is giving a $100,000 grant to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the national organization that offers help, hope, and healing to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in the Armed Forces. The grant will enable TAPS to reach more survivors through their Casework and Emergency
I encourage you to take a moment to honor those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice as your family enjoys time together this Memorial Day remembers those who fought and died to preserve, protect, and defend your country and those that you love.