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Every day, the families of our nation’s active duty, wounded warriors and veterans show their unwavering commitment to support and protect our communities. During Military Appreciation Month, you can join Operation Homefront in recognizing our military families and thanking them for their service. Let’s honor those who have served and are continuing to serve our communities across the country.

Support: Help Operation Homefront support military families

The simple act of giving can change the lives of our military families. Your donation could provide power for a month to a military family in need or ensure that power is kept on for wounded warriors who need medical equipment for survival.  Donate today to help us reach our goal of supporting 10 families.

Honor: Send a message of support!

Operation Homefront invites Americans who care about military families to publicly recognize, honor and thank them for their service and support in our communities. Sending in your message of thanks and sharing #Mission2Honor with your friends and family.

Serve: Get Involved!

Without the dedicated support of volunteers, we would not be able to accomplish our mission. From our special event to staff-level volunteers, each person makes a significant difference in the lives of our troops, the families they leave behind, and to our wounded warriors when they return home.  Visit our website to find out more about how you can become a volunteer with Operation Homefront!

 

SEND A MESSAGE: Send a message of thanks and support!

GO SOCIAL: Use our Facebook frame to show your support!

 

It’s More Than Recognition!

Mission2Honor matters today more than ever because the challenges for military families do not end. From deployments and reintegration into civilian life, to the long and short roads of recovery and a career transition, military families face many unique situations. And they need to remain strong, stable and secure for their family, their community and our country. For this reason, Operation Homefront is committed to helping our troops and their families and honoring their service. Their strength benefits all of us.

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Continuing our annual “11Days, 11 Stories” series honoring Veterans this month, where we spotlight the stories of veterans we have met through our work here at Operation Homefront.  You can find previous stories here:

A young Richard Irwin looked at his future and it didn’t include college. As he considered his options, the military looked like an interesting choice. “I wasn’t the greatest student and had no desire to go to college, but I was a hard worker,” he said. He eventually chose to join the Navy.

Irwin served in the Navy for five years. “I spent most of my time in Long Beach, CA stationed on a ship, and then as an instructor in the naval reserve center.”

Irwin said he felt a connection with his fellow service members. “They become part of your family because you are far away from family.” As his time progressed in the Navy, he saw that his opportunities for advancement were limited without a college degree.

“I was always trying to improve my skills (and) I was cutting myself off for advancement because I didn’t have degree. (The military experience) benefitted me and made me realize what I wanted in life.” So Irwin left the military to pursue an accounting career.

Irwin moved back to Texas and built up an impressive resume working for accounting firms and large corporations in Houston and Dallas.

“Today my current title is data manager for Maverick Capital. I taught myself programming because there was a need to manage massive amounts of data.”

Although Irwin left the military, the experience never left him. “I always knew I wanted to give (back) and felt bad for those who served and ended up in a bad circumstance that was not their fault.” This compelled him to find an organization he could support that made a real difference for military families.
“About 10 years ago, I was doing pretty well. Charity Navigator pointed me to Operation Homefront. The ratings were good. (Seeing that most of my) money was going to the mission (was) extremely important to me. I felt like I was playing a part. I felt like I was giving money directly to people,” said Irwin.

He began by donating to the current needs on the Operation Homefront website. “I would knock off several Current Needs. I was giving close to $5000 a year. I felt like I was helping families directly.”
Since then, Irwin has been a steadfast supporter of Operation Homefront.

“I still go and look (at the needs). I try to give locally (Texas). But sometimes I look at it and do my best to figure out where it’s more needed. The stories that hit me are the people who are waiting on VA or benefits are delayed because they are disabled.”

Irwin feels it’s important to support our military. “Even though I am a veteran and served my time, I was never in war time. I was never in battle. There is a distinction between me and current veterans. Some people come out and they have problems. I have friends who are disabled veterans. I do what I can to help those people. They deserve more of the recognition than I do and (need to be) taken care of.”
“Operation Homefront serves a great purpose and it’s helping people that need help now. The money is going to the people that need it.”

We are grateful for supporters like Richard Irwin, who not only felt the call to serve but who are the reason we’ve been able to serve thousands of military and veteran families, helping them build a stronger, more stable and secure future.

We are grateful for our veterans, those who chose to raise their hand when they pledged to defend our country. Join in the conversation with us as we celebrate veterans among us, by sharing stories of your own. Through Facebook or Twitter, please use the hashtag #RaiseYourHand to share your own inspirational story or picture of your military experience or a veteran in your life.

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Statistics and infographics can’t tell the story of military kids. A chart can’t truly convey the sacrifice nor the impact that military life has on our youngest patriots. They didn’t choose to serve, but they are born into a life that requires them to give up so much for all of America’s kids.

Ask any of our children and neighbors to talk about military children, and they aren’t going to come back at you with “Well, X percent of military children experience…”

military-child-month-operation-homefront-1What you’re more likely to hear is “my classmate Elizabeth” and “my student John.” Or “Olivia, my teammate” and “Leo, my neighbor.” But most often, they will say, “my friend.”

One of the reasons we host the Military Child of the Year® Award every year is to help bring their stories to you. To help you get to know the person that their classmates, teammates, friends and community know.

Nothing speaks more loudly than the nominations we receive from coaches, teachers, pastors; the people whose lives have been touched and enriched by them. How they are astonished by them, inspired by them. But most of all, you can tell they were enlightened by them.

A frequent topic of discussion in military communities is how to bridge the military-civilian divide. Our military kids are examples of just how to “get it done.” They are doing it every day. At school, at churches and non-profits, on the ball fields and playgrounds. Bringing their unique world views and talents to communities across the United States and the world. Military kids do all of this under extraordinary circumstances, and yet continue, every day, to be a friend, a teammate, a leader and a role model to all around them.

A connection that lasts a lifetime (Nicole and Abigail, two of our Military Child of the Year 2013 winners crossing paths in NYC)

A connection that lasts a lifetime (Nicole and Abigail, two of our Military Child of the Year 2013 winners crossing paths in NYC)

 

The Calebs and Sarahs, and our other recipients this year, all represent those silently serving that live among us…approximately 1.9 million military kids around the world. They achieve the highest goals every day while dealing with deployments and moves and joys and losses. While we are only able to select one per service branch and one National Guard representative per year, all honorees represent hundreds of military children doing extraordinary things. Many have stayed in touch with us and each other, in real life and through social media, and we could not be prouder to see them continue to grow, go off to college, and continue to be amazing.

 

As we kick off April as the Month of the Military Child, we invite you to take some time this month to get to know more about these extraordinary young patriots. Check back here as we share more stories and articles about them. And mark your calendars for the live broadcast of the Military Child of the Year® Award ceremony on April 16, 2015.

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