As many of you may know, I have a birthday coming up in a few weeks. This year, I am celebrating my birthday by raising funds to help Military veterans, their families, and caregivers have the much needed support they deserve.
I learned first hand after Jamie was wounded in Afghanistan the hardships that are bestowed on all military families. Not only the hardships but the gap in between war eras, post 9/11 or pre 9/11 wounded & retired veterans. I remember sitting next to Jamie's bed in the ICU at Walter Reed and having numerous non profits & charities come by offering their services and one thing I will never forget is the Desert Storm veteran across the hallway that never had anyone stop by his room but his mother who held vigil next to his bed. When I asked a representative from one of the charities "Why the desert storm veteran was not getting a free back pack, shirts, or anything Jamie was?"
Her reply was "He is not post 9/11, his injury occurred before September 11, 2001, therefore, he does not fit our criteria nor mission statement."
Or what about the Vietnam veteran dying in the room next to Jamie? Or the WWII Veteran down the hall?
None of these PRE 9/11 Veterans were assisted, because their injuries did not happen after September 11, 2001. In my mind and my heart this hurt more than anything. We see the unity and the bond that our military veterans and their families have and now we are segregating them? Jamie and I would talk about how thankful we were to the veterans who fought for our freedoms long before we were born and how much we loved our country. It was no surprise to me that one of my husband's dying wishes was for me to care for his fellow service members. I am thankful to say I have found a way to carry on Jamie's wish by honoring his fellow service members each day.
In honor of my 35th birthday, I am hoping to raise $5,000.00 for our veterans, and I need your help to get to my goal by March 13, 2014. I chose five thousand dollars because every dollar I raise will help a veteran, care giver or family member receive counseling, help fund a support group, or make it possible to provide education programs such as reintegration & military advocacy. These services are important to me because I know what it is like to be a military family member, wounded warrior family member and now a war widow and have limited options available.
So here’s the deal: In lieu of a gift, dinner or drinks for my birthday this year I am asking my friends and family to make a tax-deductible donation to the Military Veteran Project anytime during the month of February to help me reach my goal of $5,000.00. If you are not able to make a donation, I would be grateful if you sent this letter to friends, family, or co-workers that might be interested in helping me to reach my goal to provide assistance to military veterans who have selflessly served our country.
There are several ways you can donate. The easiest way is to click on the following link and make a donation online – http://www.militaryveteranproject.org/donate.html
If you want to make a donation by check, you can send directly to the Military Veteran Project at the address below:
Military Veteran Project
501 SE Jefferson Suite 30
Topeka, KS 66607
Make checks payable to Military Veteran Project.
Don’t forget to put ‘Happy Birthday Melissa Jarboe’ in the comments so that I can track how close I am to my fundraising goal!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this letter and for any donation or assistance that you can give me in reaching my goal. Feel free to email me with any questions you might have about the Military Veteran Project and the programs that they offer. I am so happy to be able to dedicate my birthday to raising funds for them this year!
My name is Melissa Jarboe, military spouse, wounded warrior wife and war widow. Today and everyday moving forward, I will honor the sacrifice of our men and women who selflessly serve our nation.