The United States Navy and Marine Corps have been prominent members of the San Diego Region for over 100 years. We are home to the largest concentration of military in the world. Many do not realize that the Department Of Defense sustains more than 328,000 jobs here. We are home to more than 136,000 service members, 47,000 retirees and 244,000 military veterans.

The military community consists of parents, children, brothers, sisters, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Our support means the world to them. There are so many ways to show them our appreciation, our support and how proud we are of them.

I have highlighted the following organizations which directly work with our community’s service members. Businesses and Individuals can donate or volunteer:

• Armed Forces YMCA, Cherri.Barnswell,, 619-532-8156
• Wounded Warriors, Charitable Donations Liaison, 760-815-6194
• Veterans Village,, 619-497-0142

There are so many great organizations out there helping our military. You can research them through websites and the Better Business Bureau.

To send letters of appreciation, prayers, etc., send them to:

c/oMilitary Press
9715 Carroll Centre Rd., Suite 104
San Diego, CA 92126

If you have a preference on whom you wish to receive your letter just note it on your address: Letters/Active Duty, Letters/Veterans, etc., and we will forward them to the appropriate places. We may use your letters for print and post on our new website. Sometimes one letter can touch thousands.

If you are an organizer, you can create any kind of fund raising activities to help our local organizations. Neighborhood rummage sales, car washes, special runs or walks the ideas are endless and they will be so grateful. You can do it in honor of someone. If you have children in school you could have their class or classes create cards; Thank you – You’re Our Hero, Valentines or Holidays. Invite a military service person or veteran to come and speak to your child’s class.

If you are involved with a church, have your church leader hold a special offering once a month to go to one of the organizations. Find the families within your church that have someone deployed and see what they may need. Get your prayer warriors working for them. Are there any veterans, acknowledge them during a service. Be aware of any who may be having a hard time. Have your church leader offer time to listen to them. Have a pot-luck for a group of local veterans.

Do you make quilts? Are you in a quilt club? Make a patriotic quilt or quilts and present them to a wounded warrior, veteran or to a military family.

A group of wood carvers in Ventura County are making canes for our amputees. Contact the ASYMCA and see if your group can contribute, too.

Employers: Host a special luncheon for all your veterans. Recognize their service to your company & your country. Do you have a web site? Post a flag, emblem of a certain service branch, place links to websites that honor our military.

Business Owners: Hang a sign and invite veterans and military in for a free cup of coffee, or a special discount.

If you see a military member in the same restaurant as you, send them a drink, pay for their desserts or pay for their meal. You can always just stop by their table and say thank you for their service.

Teach your children a patriotic song, like America the Beautiful or the Star Spangled Banner. Instill patriotism early.

Fly your flag 365 days a year. Don’t’ forget to lower it when appropriate and follow the general rules.

Wear a flag on your coat, wear patriotic clothes or put supporting bumper stickers on your vehicles.

Vote. Don’t let them sacrifice for naught. Be a good citizen and do your part to protect the freedoms our service-people have fought and died for.

Spot a DoD sticker on a car? Leave a note of thanks.

Find out which businesses in your community truly support our military and veterans — become their customer.

November is Military Family Month. By thanking the family, you thank the veteran.
For our Veterans:

Take a veteran out to eat. Tell them why you are bringing them and let them tell you their story.

Is there a disabled veteran in your neighborhood? Help with the raking of his leaves or mowing the lawn.

Do you bake? Make an apple pie and bring it over to a neighbor veteran.

Call them. A grandparent, uncle, aunt, mother, father. Take time to call them, especially if they live far away, and find out how they are doing.

Nearly 40% of our veteran population is 65 or older. Give a veteran your phone number and ask them to call if they need help around the house. Make a note to call them once in a while to see how they are.

Recognize Veteran’s Day in church.

Offer to baby sit for a veteran family. Let the husband and wife get out together.

Find out how you can help with a community service project through your local VFW.

Attend a local parade or ceremony on Veteran’s Day.

Not every veteran is lucky enough to have someone at home to honor and thank them for their service.

Do you know the parent’s of a veteran? Thank them for raising one of America’s heroes.

In the market to hire? Seriously consider a veteran.

Visit a veteran’s grave. Even if you simply stand there for a moment of quiet reflection, you’re honoring their service and you’re rededication yourself to the freedoms we enjoy as a citizen of this country.

Give them a big smile as you walk by.

Call the local VA hospital and Navy Medical Center to see about volunteer opportunities.

Do a random act of kindness for a vet or their family. Remain anonymous.

Open your house on holidays to a few veterans that don’t have any family in the area. Make it a holiday none of you will forget.