Veterans Family Gift Shop
A favorite annual charity is the Veterans Family Gift Shop at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care Center. The Gift Shop provides much needed and wanted holiday gifts for needy veterans and their families. Each year, children and veterans are able to pick out popular electronic devices, clothes, warm socks, toys and many other items at Christmas time that they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford.
Fisher House Dinners
As often as possible, Veterans First employees head to the local Fisher House Foundation to cook and serve dinner for the families of veterans receiving treatment at the nearby VA hospital. The meals are a great way to warm people's hearts and bellies while they wait for loved ones to obtain healthcare. (www.fisherhouse.org
Care Packages for U.S. Troops
Operation Outreach is a care package initiative supported by employee donations. These packages filled with toiletries, sundries and treats are sent to U.S. Troops overseas. Since the program started, Veterans First has sent approximately 1,000 packages containing the most-requested items to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Events that help build relationships both within and outside of our offices. Recently, our employees and their families enjoyed an evening of inspiration when they listened to triple-amputee Iraqi War Veteran, Bryan Anderson, speak about his triumphs despite the odds. The post-9/11 Iraqi War Veteran lost two legs and an arm after driving his Hummer over an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Bryan is a recipient of the Purple Heart and author of the book, No Turning Back
Veterans First believes that if employees can understand what servicemembers go through to carry out their duties, they can serve them better. One of our own veteran employees, Tim Lewis, provides a mandatory course called "Operation Vet-Centric." Lewis is a retired U.S. Army Major whose teaching style gives students a taste of what it might be like to be enlisted. Each class covers one branch of the military. Lewis plays the branch hymn and discusses the meaning behind the lyrics. He shows videos of new recruits toughing it out at boot camp and trained combatants carrying out dangerous missions in war zones. Students leave the classroom and return to their work with a new appreciation for those who served in the military. When they thank veterans for their service, they mean it.
PTSD & Fireworks Education Initiative
In July 2015, Veterans First Mortgage wrote an article about the PTSD and fireworks educational program started by the non-profit organization Military with PTSD. In 2016, Veterans First decided to help www.MilitarywithPTSD.org share the information with even more people by creating an infographic on PTSD and the ways that civilians can be respectful of their military neighbors on holidays like the 4th of July. The company also launched their own yard sign initiative, offering employees professional yard signs to announce their fireworks so Veterans would be aware. Veterans First also offered a printable yard sign available on the company’s Pinterest site. This free sign is available for both color
and black & white
printers, so anyone can let their Veteran neighbors know when they will be shooting off their fireworks. For more information on PTSD and fireworks, go to www.MilitaryWithPTSD.org and www.PTSD.VA.gov.