Who has the structure to serve veterans of all generations?

Col Sutherland with ww2 vet-2015Last week I visited Easter Seals Florida in Orlando and met four World War II veterans at the adult daycare center there. It was the highlight of my trip. It also reaffirmed what I love about Easter Seals.

No data exists on the number of non-profits predominantly serving post-9/11 veterans, but it’s a definite trend. Some fantastic non-profits such as The Mission Continues and Hope for the Warriors only work with post-9/11 veterans. It helps narrow their focus which, in turn, increases their ability to be very successful at what they’re doing.  And I don’t fault them one bit.

But there is an urgent need to assist all 19 million living veterans going back to World War II and including the Korea, Vietnam and the First Gulf War eras. That’s what drives me, and that’s why, when looking for a partner after leaving the military, I chose Easter Seals.

Easter Seals is truly a multigenerational organization, serving everyone from infants to senior citizens. I was honored to hold the hand of a World War II veteran of Armenian heritage in Florida and listen as he spoke to me in his native language. We may not have understood what the other was saying, but we shared the bond of kinship through service in our Armed Forces.

Those who know me understand the importance of community to me. Easter Seals has that infrastructure in place with a deep community presence. This community presence allows us to serve more than 165,000 veterans annually with a range of programs customized where the need is greatest. The flexible affiliate structure also allows for responsiveness based on what the veteran requires with a modicum of red tape.

Every day I get to do my life’s mission: engender support for those who have bravely served our country. And as a frugal former Colonel, I appreciate that Easter Seals spends the bulk of its donor dollars (88.1 cents per $1) on delivering quality services.

Thank you, Easter Seals Florida, for being a great host and allowing me to reconnect with the core values that brought me to this organization in the first place.

Learn more about Easter Seals military and veteran services.


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