Veterans Day should be more than just a day to honor and recognize those who have served in our military, it should be an opportunity for us as a society to collectively consider the ways in which we can improve the lives of these brave individuals. As a co-op, Concern for Community is a guiding principle in all that we do and veterans play a special role in our communities and our country at large.
While we are a nation that routinely shows appreciation for our troops and veterans, the unfortunate truth is that many veterans face hardships upon returning home such as dealing with mental health issues, encountering problems paying bills, issues adjusting back to civilian life, and more. Oftentimes, they are not provided with the necessary resources to face these challenges.
On a day that honors more than 19 million US Veterans, we wanted to take the time to recognize a couple of organizations that are honoring veterans every day of the year.
Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC)
After reading a 2006 report that found that among U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, those who are from rural America were dying at a higher rate than soldiers who are from cities and suburbs, Michael O’Gorman (a Davis resident) gathered a group of farmers to discuss how they could best support these veterans that were returning to their hometowns in mostly rural areas. Realizing that there were no groups in the country with the mission of helping veterans in agriculture, the FVC was born.
Today, the FVC helps veterans pursue careers in agriculture by developing viable employment and entrepreneurship opportunities through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. Farming offers veterans a new mission, life purpose, and physical and psychological benefits. Simultaneously they cultivate the next generation of food and farm leaders.
As you may or may not know, Farmer Veteran Coalition is our Round Up at the Register recipient for the month of November. You can support this organization’s mission by donating on your next shopping trip at the Co-op.
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)
A fellow co-op, the NRECA represents the interests of over 900 electric cooperatives in the United States. Founded in 1942, NRECA unites the country’s generation, transmission, and distribution cooperatives found in 47 states, serving over 40 million people.
The NRECA also abides by the seven cooperative principles and in their mission to power communities and empower members to improve the quality of their lives, they see a lot of similarities between their values and the values of our veterans. NRECA strongly believes that hiring and caring for veterans and military spouses strengthens their cooperatives and communities. That’s why they created the Vets Power Us Initiative, helping veterans to:
- Learn more about America’s electric cooperatives.
- Understand the synergy between military values and electric cooperative principles.
- Explore a variety of meaningful career opportunities within the rural electric cooperative network.
While these are only two organizations close to our heart as a nonprofit we support and a fellow co-op, there are countless others across the country that help veterans in a variety of ways. We encourage everyone to use this day as an opportunity to do some research to find others whose message resonates with you and to think about the ways that you can honor our veterans not only today, but every day.