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Holiday Gift Guide: Honor and Support This Season

Posted by Ashley Preuss
holiday gift guide

Considering the year we’ve all faced, many are eager to celebrate the holidays and find some much-needed joy. In an attempt to get the holiday spirit rolling you might have checked off your gift list already, but there may be another gift you can still give this season. We’ve outlined a couple admirable non-profits that support educational endeavors, provide for service members and families of the fallen, and honor our nation’s heroes. These organizations continually give cherished gifts to the communities they serve. Take a moment while your wallet is open this season and give a gift that will keep giving beyond the holidays.

CIA Officers Memorial Foundation

In 2001, CIA Officer Mike Spann was killed in Afghanistan, becoming the first American killed in the Global War on Terror following 9/11. As a husband and a father to three small children, this hero’s story sparked an outpouring of compassion and support. Donations for Spann’s family were sent to the CIA but the agency is prohibited from accepting such offerings. Agency members sought a way to mitigate this problem, ultimately giving way to the creation of the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation.

The foundation ensures that the families of CIA officers who die in the line of duty are provided for. The charity offers educational support for the children and spouses of fallen officers. Throughout the 2020-2021 academic year, the organization granted over 1.5 million dollars to 66 students and has supported over 170 individuals to date.

EOD Warrior Foundation

Placing their lives in harms way, roughly 6,000 individuals serve as Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians. Disarming and disposing of bombs is one of the most dangerous military occupations, but brave service members step up to the daunting task to protect others. When EOD technicians suffer wounds, they endure some of the most severe injuries, spanning loss of limbs, burns, blindness, traumatic brain injury and more.

In an effort to better support this community, the EOD Memorial Foundation and the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation merged in 2013, forming what is now the EOD Warrior Foundation. The foundation provides financial relief, education, hope and wellness, and EOD Memorial Care to active-duty, retired and veteran EOD Techs and their families, as well as EOD Warriors and family members who have been wounded, ill or injured, and families of the fallen.

Semper Fi Fund

Looking for a way to help those who protect our freedom, a group of Marine spouses welcomed wounded Marines and Sailors landing at Camp Pendleton, California, back from Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. They organized activities at the hospital, distributed care packages, and arranged travel for families who couldn’t afford airfare. With wounded continuing to arrive in need of their efforts, the Semper Fi Fund was established as a national non-profit in 2004.

Today, the non-profit helps our heroes to recover, transition, and thrive through an array of proven and effective programs. The Semper Fi Fund offers a service member and family support program, a transition program, and an integrative wellness program. The Fund has provided 230 million dollars in assistance across all branches of the Armed Forces and has assisted 25,000 service members.

Gary Sinise Foundation

Another vital supporter of our service members is Gary Sinise, a longstanding advocate for our nation’s heroes, widely recognized for his portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in “Forest Gump.” Looking to expand upon his individual efforts, the Gary Sinise Foundation was established in 2011 “to serve and honor our nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs that entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities.”

The foundation has several programs that support and empower the military community, including R.I.S.E., which provides home modifications, mobility devices, adapted vehicles, and one of a kind specially adapted smart homes for our most severely wounded veterans. The foundation also has many vital outreach programs including grants for emergency relief, training, and essential equipment for our firefighters, police, and EMTs.

Mission K9 Rescue

And finally, Mission K9 Rescue is committed to providing assistance and support to another class of heroes—our nation’s working dogs. The organization works to rescue, reunite, re-home, rehabilitate and repair military working dogs, contract working dogs, and police department K9’s. The non-profit raises funds for retired working dogs that have served bravely to keep the lives of their handlers safe, find hidden drugs, or locate explosives. Mission K9 Rescue has rescued over 1,000 dogs since 2013 and has paid almost one million dollars in veterinary care, made possible by the support of individuals that share their passion and respect for working dogs.

This list is by no means comprehensive, as there are many other notable charities out there to consider, each bringing hope and joy to the individuals they strive to make a difference for. Help them make the season brighter and make a contribution to a worthwhile cause today.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 14, 2020 11:00 am

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