As we near our sacred Christmastime, we should all consider not just what we would like to receive as a Christmas gift, but certainly what we should give as gifts. Because this column centers on veterans, their families and their needs, I want to encourage all of us to share our Yuletide spirit with those who have served our country and their loved ones.
It is a sad fact that there are many homeless veterans in our greater society. Perhaps we aren’t confronted with this homelessness in North Jefferson County to the same degree as other places, but homeless veterans are real and we still should have strong concerns about helping them. Contact any veterans organization to find out how to help.
Warm clothing would be of good use for many poor veterans. Phoenix House, the Veterans Administration and other related groups could serve to get your old items to the veterans that need them!
I personally know of many disabled veterans in and around our area. Many of these veterans are not able to work or deal with basic home/yard chores. The Disabled American Veterans (DAV), American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and other concerned organizations should be able to help a concerned and sincere citizen in discovering who could use your attention and aid.
Gold Star Mothers and the widows and family members of veterans in North Jefferson County could probably use a kind word from any of us during this holiday season. One kind word might be accompanied by lunch or even a casserole to show how much we care food-wise. Think about how sad holidays are if one of your loved ones is missing, deceased or overseas in government service. How would you feel in such a situation and would a kind word or gesture mean so much to you?
You might invite a veteran or a family member to come to church with you. Other activities might also serve to lift the spirits of veterans or related others during this Holiest time of year. Many churches, civic organizations and communities have celebratory events that you may know about and which would welcome these special (and often very help-needed guests.)
Veterans organizations (like those named above and others) could probably use volunteers and helpers not only now, but at other times in the course of a year. You may have just the skills needed to provide assistance to these worthy veteran-related groups. Only you know what you might be able to do in a volunteer role.
You may actually have veterans in your own family or circle of close friends (like fellow church members or people you went to school with) who could use a little of your personal Christmas gladness and cheer. That aunt/uncle or cousin you don’t often communicate with might just be the veteran who could benefit from your friendly spirit at this time of year.
One thing you could do tomorrow (Thursday, Dec. 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) is to bring a veteran with you to visit our Veterans Information Table at the Fultondale Public Library 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Not only do we have veterans on hand to greet and share, but we have the answers to questions that plague many veterans. The Fultondale Library welcomes you and I (and our other veterans) welcome you. BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!
May God richly bless our country, our leaders, our military, our veterans and their families, our law enforcers, firefighters, rescue personnel, teachers and clergy and most of all may the Good Lord bless YOU and give YOU the best Christmas ever!
Gerald “Joe” Stahlkuppe is a combat Army veteran of the Vietnam War. An ordained clergyman, public speaker and author of several books, he lives with his wife in Gardendale.
Questions or veterans issues you would like to see addressed in the column can be directed to Stahlkuppe at P.O. Box 849, Gardendale, AL 35071 or emailed to email@example.com.