Today the colors fly, the sky lights up, and the banners wave. We sing God Bless America in these fifty states, but is it more than hot dogs and parades? Can we purposefully bless our country?
First Responder Coaching is an international company but our routes are in the good ol’ US of A. We’re not blind; this country is a mess and we are not comfortable letting it stay this way. Advocating for change is not new here, but it can be daunting. It will only work if everyone takes part, and it starts with you.
If we want to bless America – really change for the better – we need to hit the root of the country: the people.
Our first responders suffer trauma daily, trying to help others, jumping in harm’s way, putting out fires, chasing down suspects, and exposing themselves to dangerous and damaging situations regularly. Our military is pulled away from all that’s familiar to them to do their dangerous jobs, putting in months and years of service only to be plopped back into society and wished the best of luck.
Is this supporting our heroes? Is this going to bless America and positively support her troops and responders?
Here are five ways you can do more than wave a flag and say “Thanks” to those who serve our country and communities.
The simplest act of kindness is to simply show up and sit with a friend. You don’t need to solve their problems. You don’t even need to distract them. Just be there.
But you’re busy. You work and have kids; we get it.
Sometimes showing up is a phone call or a text. Sometimes it’s an invite to a party or lunch. Maybe just stop by to say “hi” even if you can’t stay long. Drop something off or offer to pick it up.
Don’t know any first responders or veterans? Stop by your local station and drop off food. Seriously – any food. Or ask if you can volunteer at your local VA. Once you start looking, you’ll be surprised how many options are out there.
Send a letter of thanks. Don’t wait for a holiday; they work all year round. A letter of appreciation is enjoyed especially when unexpected. When one feels appreciated, one feels supported.
When you’re stressed, the best a friend can do is ask what you need. Have you ever asked your local departments what they need?
You may not be able to supply the funds for new apparatus or gear, but by knowing their needs, you can be part of the bigger picture by supporting them when fiscal decisions come around. More Importantly, you can help advocate and support your responders at town, city, or county meetings. You can call or email with your concerns, showing that you support your local heroes.
When people put their voices together, they are heard loud and clear. Ask your departments what they need and if there’s anything you can do to support them.
If you want to bless America in small or large ways, you need to pay attention. There are bills, laws in the works, that you can support (or not) which will affect how our heroes are treated during and after service.
Yes, it’s a lot of reading and you need to hear it from different sources. You might even consider asking your local departments what they think so you have the right perspective in mind.
You can read about some of these things with a quick search, like the H.R.8994 – Supporting Our First Responders Act, or this Massachusetts bill, or you can learn about grant programs for responders and support those.
The information is public, but most of the public is too busy, or distracted, to know what’s going on. Listen to what your departments are saying and learn how to reach out to your local officials. An email is sometimes all it takes to support major changes.
There are so many places to donate. Where do you want to bless America’s heroes most?
Have a heart for the military?
- K9s for Warriors – The Nation’s Largest Provider of service dogs for veterans
- Semper Fi & America’s Fund – They care for our nation’s critically wounded, ill, and injured service members, veterans, and military families.
- Fisher House – They provide free housing to veterans who need to travel to receive healthcare.
Have a soft spot for law enforcement?
- National Policing Institute – They are committed to conducting research, training, and technical assistance for law enforcement.
- Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) – COPS provides resources and support to families of fallen officers.
- National Association of Police Athletic/Activities League – This organization focuses on pairing youth with officers to create mentorship and prevent juvenile crime.
Got a thing for the fireside?
- National Fallen Firefighters Foundation – They strive to support families of fallen firefighters and work to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries.
- Brothers Helping Brothers – This group supports rural fire departments by helping to supply life-saving tools and equipment.
- Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation – This organization provides lifesaving equipment and needed resources to community departments in need.
There are so many first responder support opportunities.
- First Responders Children’s Foundation – They support children and families of fallen or injured first responders.
- Responder Rescue – They support police, fire, and EMS families after a tragedy.
- The Code Green Campaign – Code Green serves all kinds of first responders through mental health advocacy and education, reducing financial barriers, and suicide prevention.
Those are just a few. Look for the group you want to support most and make a donation habit. Make it annual, monthly, or random, but support them however you can.
Start to Bless America
Let the flags wave and the parades march on. Let’s sing God Bless America loud and clear. It can start with you. You can make small changes right from home by supporting first responders in your own community. Let’s build up that morale and support our heroes as best we can.
Without our heroes, this country – this world – becomes more dangerous. We need our responders to be ready, available, safe, and equipt to handle the situations we cannot.
This isn’t limited to the USA. This concept of support is global. Let’s be there for those who are there for us.
How will you support your responders?