Taking Care of Our Veterans

This week, we observe a day in honor of our military veterans of all ages who have served our country in various conflicts worldwide. Our veterans have fought for freedom at home and abroad and risked their lives daily so that others could live more peacefully. Some never made it home. Those who return are often injured, physically or mentally, or both. Some have difficulty transitioning to civilian life and need training and employment assistance. Others need continued medical care, adaptive devices, vehicles, and homes that meet their new physical needs.

Fortunately, public awareness of these needs and many more has increased in recent years. Our donors have responded, too, adding four new funds recently focusing on grants for veteran support.

The Alvin F. Tesmer and John J. Hayes Veterans Memorial Fund was founded by John J. and Kay L. Hayes to support the greatest needs of Frederick County and Carroll County veterans and their immediate family. The Hayes family’s long history of military service was their inspiration for the fund, and the fund was created in their fathers’ memory. Several grants have been provided from the fund to date to Mission of Mercy and Platoon 22.

The Grove Foundation Fund, created by Deborah and Larry Grove, provided grants to address the greatest needs of military veterans and soldiers throughout Maryland, which includes housing, behavioral health services, recreation and socialization, job training, medical support and complimentary therapies and services to enhance and sustain the family unit. The Grove’s business experience in the engineering industry and involvement with various military branches led to their desire to help veterans. The fund has provided a grant to Platoon 22 and is currently open for new applications through the Community Foundation’s rolling grant process. Nonprofits that provide services to veterans are eligible to apply; the rolling grant information for this fund and the two funds listed below can be found at www.FrederickCountyGives.org/grants.

The Sgt. David J. Smith Veterans Relief Fund was founded in his memory by the parents of Sgt. Smith:  Mary Jane McWilliams, John Jones, Leonard Smith and Olga Smith. It will allow nonprofit organizations to apply through the rolling grant process on behalf of a household for support for honorably discharged veterans and their families who are faced with unforeseen financial distress.

The Major Dan Campbell Veteran Services Fund was founded by Dan Campbell with his 2017 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism award to support services for veterans, with preference for mentoring and peer support programs. Grants have supported Platoon 22 and Mission of Mercy. This fund is also part of the current rolling grants process.

Each of these donors has their own connection to supporting veteran services, and each of them are motivated to help because of their experiences. These new funds become part of our family of funds supporting veteran services, along with The 1LT Rob Seidel Wounded Soldiers Fund, The Sgt. David J. Smith Memorial Fund, and The John Ryan Dennison Memorial Fund. In addition, numerous funds have been established in memory of veterans that support post-secondary scholarships for students.

Thank you, veterans, for all you’ve done in service to your country, and thank you, donors, for your generosity and caring.