Fabulous Friday Night!

The Babe and I attended a fundraiser last night for Toys for Tots and Guitars for Vets Nebraska. For nearly a year, our VFW Post has lent support to this great organization. G4V helps vets with PTSD learn to play the guitar, by offering ten free lessons with a qualified instructor. When they complete their instruction, they receive their own brand new guitar and accessories. Last night was an in person ceremony and the first public graduation ever.

Peggy Frye Ullom, a/k/a Taylor is the founder of the Nebraska Chapter. She is committed to helping other Vets who suffer silently from PTSD. It’s no secret she is committed to the nth degree. She is a leader who has a true heart for the mission of the group which is to help the Vets cope with their individual situations. She understands the task and fully supports the mission; she is one of the Vets with PTSD. Total honesty is her mantra, and it helps people open up and be vulnerable in their quest for a more normal life. It is with pleasure I now call her a friend.

The friendships that grow by getting involved in our community is phenomenal. When many like-minded people gather for the good of others, only great relationships can develop. I can hardly wait to see how things go next year, but I’m not about to wish my time away. December will find us regrouping, and structuring our Post Outreach more. There are a couple more groups we would like to become involved with and will investigate that further after Veterans Day/the Christmas Season. Only good can come of being involved.

Ken Sitler and Jimmy Weber, two local retired Air Force Veterans performed last night, too. They are always great to listen to. Their banter is pretty funny, and they had a couple Veterans who are musically inclined join them. One could no longer play guitar after having a stroke; he joined Jimmy and sang. I’m sure that made his year! It’s those kinds of meetings that develop into friendships that result from events like last night.

We’re grateful all these people made Omaha home after their military careers. Not just the three mentioned, but Dave (sorry, I don’t know your last name!), David J Mike and his lovely wife Gail, and all the other instructors I’ve haven’t gotten to know yet. The area is enriched with your presence. Grateful for all of you.

I know what music does for me; I’m sure it “works” in relieving anxiety, stress, and horrible events. Time, and learning how to cope is the best thing we can do for folks who need this. Art, drawing, performing, all give the same effect, it’s why the “arts” were created. When I was a kid, I was bullied. Most everyone was. I’d come into our house, and go to my room. That song by the Beach Boys became my theme song, “In My Room.” Sometimes I resolve bad moods or thoughts by being alone, listening to music. It always makes a huge difference.

As the Babe and I, along with our other volunteers from the VFW Post 2503, finish up on the Veterans Day Celebration of Veterans, we are cognizant of needs of our Veterans. The events in Afghanistan have shaken some to the core. They’re angry, needing to vent, and trying to figure out a lot of things. We are holding the Second Annual Clothing and Food Drive for Moving Veterans Forward and the Sienna Francis House. Two of our younger Veterans called last year to see if they could leave a trailer in the parking lot, and collect coats, for the homeless. Check the Post website @ http://www.vfwpost2503.org to view the list of needs for the food and clothing drive. We will also have Toys for Tots donation boxes available.

Last year at this time, we just became acquainted with Victory Apartments and Moving Veterans Forward. We coordinated with MVF and initiated monthly donations for them. It’s been a very worthwhile endeavor, which we will continue for years to come.

So much good has been generated with those two new guys who wanted to do something meaningful for their fellow Veterans. They have launched many good events; Car Shows benefiting Moving Veterans Forward, Guitars for Vets, Nebraska COPS, and the family of Corporal Daegan Page. The potential is mind boggling. Work by many becomes light. Thanks, guys.

We are also offering an Art Show by Liz Boutin. She is a Bellevue artist and military wife. She has journaled her way through working with the Red Cross Hospital in Germany, and working with Veterans from Iraq & Afghanistan at their first stop after becoming injured. The exhibit shows how PTSD can be worked with through Art. Liz will be present all day Veterans Day if you’d like to visit with her. She will also speak at our Veterans Day Ceremony, on November 11, 2021 at 6 p.m. Her art is available all week to view by members and friends. All are welcome.

There will also be resources available for referrals for Guitars for Vets, Moving Veterans Forward, 22 Until None in Council Bluffs, and other organizations on a list we’ll have available for you to have. We will have a representative from the VA who can register you for your VA Benefits on site, you won’t have to go to the VA Hospital. We want to make it as easy as possible for you or your loved one to receive benefits they deserve.

We cannot guarantee your souls can be repaired like new; we can guarantee you will not be alone. VFW Post 2503. 90th and Military Road, Omaha, NE 68134. Join us!

Super Sunday! and Monday Reflections

It was such a great day Sunday at our VFW Post 2503. We had a lot of new people gathered together. We were mixed races, creeds, politics, religions, and heritage. We gathered to award money from donations, hard work, and what we earned from fund raising all summer. It was pretty incredible.

We had a board member from Nebraska COPS, the founder of Guitars for Vets Nebraska, and the founder of Moving Veterans Forward to receive their checks. It really made my heart swell. We’ve made a lot of new friends today. We have networked and we have new connections to make. It’s all going to be fantastic. And it seemed so effortless now that we are at the end of the summer. All it does is make us want to work harder for them next year.

To identify the people in the photo, here is a who’s who, from left to right:

Steve Cerveny, OPD, Nebraska COPS Board; Larry Quilliam, Commander VFW Post 2503; Ron Hernandez, Founder Moving Veterans Forward, Kathy Raabe, VFW Post 2503 Auxiliary; Peggy Ullom, Founder Guitars for Vets, Nebraska; Dan Raabe, Quartermaster VFW Post 2503.

What a great feeling it is to help coordinate to make the effort successful and effective. We will create new ways to help our Veterans who often suffer from PTSD, and are homeless. One condition seems to have a domino effect in the lives of some people. They may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope, lose their income, job, home, family, etc. In the past year, we have made many new contacts and friends by reaching out to organizations who can use our help.

The leader of the ABATE group and some of their members were present; they made a donation to us, and we turned it over to the two Veterans groups, MVF and G4V NE. How wonderful it is to share! I don’t have a photo of him, but want to share with you what ABATE is. They are a group of motorcycle enthusiasts. A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education. They dedicate their time and effort to educating the public, motorcyclists, and anyone who is curious about safety and rights of riders. We are so blessed to have this connection.

Ron Hernandez, Kathy Raabe, Peggy Ullmon, Jay Miralles, Dan Raabe

I’m writing on my laptop today. I left the Chromebook at the Post, and I really miss it! Every system works differently, and every keyboard has a distinct feel to it. This is no exception. While it works, my cheat sheets that appear to the right of my writing vanished. I poked around, trying this key and that key, it’s a test for my brain, I’m sure. All is good. The worst part? My laptop does not have a touch screen, which is a feature I will include on all future devices, trust me!

Today, it’s back to work around the house. Laundry, cleaning, all the stuff about life that’s not glamorous or fun. But it has to be done. And if you re-frame things you don’t like, you can make something positive out of it. For example, I can be grateful to God for the privilege of owning enough clothes to have plenty of clean clothes and be glad I don’t have to carry the laundry out to the laundromat. I had to do that with clothes and diapers from my oldest son. While his dad was in the Army in Germany, I saved money to buy a washer and dryer for the apartment. He took the money and bought a motorcycle. I should have wised up then, but I didn’t. And I would never have had another son and a daughter who taught me all about independence. She was a very independent baby and toddler. I didn’t want to squash her spirit like mine was. She still amazes me.

I’m just going to enjoy the warmth that’s in my heart right now from the weekend. The people are so phenomenal! And soon, we will dig in again, with a special project. More later! Have a beautiful rest of the day. Be kind to someone today. You’ll be better for it. Thank you for reading and see you tomorrow!