Easy – Just Reach Out Your Hand (which isn’t so easy…)
By Jim Kuiken
There are a LOT of folks who need help. In one way or another, I’d say most folks could use some help.
So what’s the solution…everyone stand around with their hand out? Go to the Government expecting “free” help from Big Brother? Or just “quit yer whinin’ and suck it up”?
And besides, if everyone needs some help, how are they supposed to help others when they themselves are hurting or in need?
All that may be true, but you can still help, if you want to. Big, horrible events happen frequently. 9/11, Katrina, Orlando, etc. Everyone wants to help during these events…but how about during the mundane grind of daily life and small, personal events?
It doesn’t take a lot to help. It doesn’t have to cost money to help. It just takes one person (you) to see a need and reach out your hand.
Here’s a quick example. Obviously, I’m a writer…you’re reading my article right now, right? Well, by focusing some of my writing on helping others, and on some rough spots that I’ve been through – and on those who helped me – I’ve been able to help others to recognize that they could get or give some help. I just got this letter (below) this week.
“Hello SgtMaj. Kuiken
I have been reading your blog for a long time and thank you for your writing and dedication to veterans. I am a Gulf War Combat Vet with (*** unit) and was a (***) Gunner.
I followed your story about the effects of PTSD and am now coming to terms with it in my life after all these years. Two divorces and severe chronic fatigue, IBS and Fibromyalgia I am working thorough a claim with the VA.
Your story about Freedom and what he has meant to you really hit home for me.
I am being treated by a private Dr for PTSD and am just now getting ready to submit a claim to the VA for my physical injuries I have been experiencing for 25 years, as well as finally coming to terms that I have been suffering the effects of PTSD. I never wanted to admit it out of shame or embarrassment. We Marines are supposed to be the tough guys right?
I tried submitting a claim in 2008 and was denied and just kind of gave up, but my physical issues continued to get worse until I just could not function much at all. When you talk about just not being able to get out of your chair all day, "that's me". I'm 48 now and feel like I'm 98.” (emphasis added by me)
Here’s a veteran who served honorably, and has been suffering the effects from combat for over 25 years…and because of me admitting that I had some unresolved issues from combat, and had found help…he was able to break through his shame and embarrassment of not being “tough enough” to just suffer silently, and to ask for help before he joined the ranks of those 8,000+ veterans who commit suicide each year.
That’s my cause – exposing and eliminating suicides by the military, veterans, first responders (law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS personnel), and their families and loved ones – i.e., those who have protected and served us, and who are now suffering the effects of that service.
I know it’s hard to find the right cause that speaks to you, or the right organization to work with, or get help from. Lots of them are word of mouth, but you still have to do your own research to see if they are legitimate, serve the cause you identify with, and are certified and/or rated to make sure the resources are getting to those in need, not in some crook’s pocket or spent irresponsibly.
I still think it’s something everyone can do, whether it’s just referring someone to someone who can help, talking to a friend or family member in need, or connecting with an organization you can identify with.
In addition, I’m hoping that in the very near future, I and some friends of mine can help make that a lot easier. Stay tuned for our announcement of our own non-profit organization that will dramatically make all this much easier – finding organizations that you can identify with, that help your cause, or that you can get help from; and to ensure all those organizations are rated and verified – so you are sure the resources are getting to those in need!
How can you help today?