How do you promote an event that’s for a good cause but makes people uncomfortable, for political reasons or personal reasons?
This is the challenge Operation First Response faces every year in putting on the Walk for the Wounded.
3 Myths That Keep People from Participating
Myth 1: Wounded soldiers don’t need my money because the government pays all their bills.
Many people assume that our government takes care of our military when they are injured, and unfortunately, that’s not true. Though wounded soldiers do receive care in military hospitals, they still have mortgages and other bills to pay and not much money coming in. On top of that, spouses and other family members often have to quit their jobs to help care for the wounded soldier.
Money raised in the walk goes directly to help soldiers with these extra bills, for rent, food, clothing, etc. And believe me, these funds are very much needed and appreciated by these soldiers and their families.
Myth 2: Listening to the soldiers and their families talk will make me cry.
This one is true. But don’t let it keep you from coming to the event. I’ve been going now for the past three years. Yes, I’ve had tears in my eyes, but overall, I leave feeling uplifted. I leave with perspective that makes it easier to deal with everyday problems. Speaking at these events often helps give the families and soldiers relief from their pain and grief. The brotherhood between the soldiers and the close relationship built by the organization’s volunteers and the soldiers is truly heartwarming and inspiring.
Plus, this year, the event includes more live music and a car & motorcycle show. And, for all kids and Phillies fans, the Phillie Phanatic will make his usual appearance.
Myth 3: This is just another event for pro-war speeches or political propaganda.
No. It’s not at all. You’ll hear only pro-soldier speeches and you’ll be amazed by the strength these men and women have. There are no Republicans or Democrats trying to push an agenda here. I consider myself anti-war but pro-soldier, and regardless of political affiliation, most people are there simply to support the soldiers.
Many men in my family have served in different branches of the military and my friends have served in the Army, Navy, Marines and National Guard. One of my friends did not make it back from the Iraq war, so I initially went to this Walk to honor him. I keep going back.
Last year, I volunteered and sold t-shirts for the first half of the day. A woman bought a t-shirt and then lingered. She seemed like she wanted something more but didn’t want to ask, so I asked if there was anything more I could do. She started telling me about her son Matt, who was wounded in the war and was not well enough yet to get around. Tears sat in her eyes and her voice quivered as she asked if I’d take a photo of her in front of a Walk for the Wounded sign so she could show her son.
It was the tiniest little task, but to her it meant so much. These are the types of things we can do for military families on a daily basis. It’s not hard to make a difference.
These soldiers, they’re doing a job—a job many of us would never want to do. They follow orders and sacrifice much, yet they never ask for anything in return. So, I’m asking.
Operation First Response is a fantastic organization in which a small number of people do everything they can to make a difference in the lives of wounded soldiers. They become these soldiers’ friends and family as a result, often helping with money out of their own pockets.
Please consider doing this small, honorable task and donate to the Walk for the Wounded. Or better yet, go to the event and see what I mean.