Nolan County Veterans Service Office 235.2214
Veterans Administration 1.800.827.1000
Big Spring/Abilene VA 1.800.472.1365
Military care packages are welcomed gifts year-round for those who are far from home. But there are restrictions. These restrictions are primarily in place for safety reasons. Many of the restricted items are dangerous when not properly packaged or transported. Other restrictions are in place for legal reasons (for example, the restrictions on shipping alcohol and tobacco), or political (restrictions on shipping items to other countries which may be legal in the US, but are not legal in other countries). Go through your church or contact a base public relations officer. If all this sounds like too much trouble, you can simply do a search using keywords military care packages. There are many organizations out there who sell ready-made packages and are familiar with all the ends and outs. Care packages are a welcome treat for servicemembers. Even something as little as a pack of gum can sometimes change their whole day for the better.
All administrative costs for the Veterans Administration are already appropriated by Congress, but did you know that VA medical center directors have the authority to accept gifts for the general benefit of the medical center and the Veterans they serve? That means that donations can provide Veteran patients with many essential services and programs that otherwise would not be available to them, such as transportation services, social service assistance, rehab equipment, recreation programs, activities, holiday gifts, and phone cards and many other options. Donations are 100 percent tax deductible and the entire donation will go directly to support in the way you choose. Donations starting at just $5 can be accepted. Go online to pay.gov and click on the donate link. You can donate by credit or debit account or card, or choose ACH electronic bank transfer.
The VFW HQ reports that military pay and retirement benefits changes are the top two concerns of their recent VFW Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey. Now in its sixth edition, they surveyed almost 6,300 military service members, spouses and Veterans. Regarding obstacles to financial readiness, respondents cited uncertainty in military life, spouse employment, and benefits uncertainty and changes as their top three concerns. 75 percent of spouses reported that being a military spouse negatively impacted their ability to pursue a career. On the upside, 87 percent of respondents reported the military did prepare them to be a leader in the civilian workplace and community, and 97 percent felt pride in their accomplishments during their service. Check out more information, including membership requirements online at vfw.org. The Sweetwater VFW is located at 217 Avenger Field, telephone number 235.8105.
If you have some free time on your hands and would like to give back helping others, the Department of Veterans Affairs has a network of volunteers to help with day-to-day VA related activities. The volunteer pool for the Big Country and Permian Basin areas is handled through the Big Spring location. Here, you can apply to volunteer at VA locations in Abilene, Big Spring, San Angelo and Odessa. The process includes some paperwork and includes fingerprinting for security reasons. For example, a lot of volunteers are drivers that deliver Veterans to their appointments. But, of course, there are many other areas where your skills could be helpful. Being a Veteran yourself can be a big plus. Currently, there are a combined total of 66 volunteers for these locations. If you would like to find out more about becoming a VA volunteer, talk to Volunteer Services in Big Spring. That toll-free number is 1.800.472.1365. As soon as the recording starts, press “0” for the operator.