Tuesday, March 24, 2015

VFW National Home For Children Awareness Week @VFWKids @VFWHQ

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The VFW National Home For Children will forever be attributed to the hard work of a young 23-year-old Amy Ross.  In 1922 she met with Department of Michigan Commander Dr. Clarence L. Chandler.  She wanted to help find jobs for countless unemployed veterans in Detroit.  This was the first step in thistory of the National Home.  In 1923 the Military Order of the Cootie introduced the idea of a National home at the VFW's National Convention.  In 1924, a wealthy cattleman Cory Spencer offered to donate 472 acres of farm land near Eaton Rapids, Michigan. On January 7th, 1925, the dream of a national home for children came true.  Sadly, Miss Ross had died earlier that year, and never witnessed the Home that she had worked so hard to bring to fruition.  When speaking at Miss Ross' funeral Dr. Chandler stated, "No, she (Amy Ross) has just commenced to live...When that new little city arises out of the ground near Eaton Rapids called the VFW National Home, you will hear Amy singing a lullaby to some veteran’s orphan.”

This year marks the Home's 90th Anniversary.  The home has grown from one home outside of Eaton Rapids, Michigan to a small village of it's own.  The Home boasts numerous single family homes, parks, chapel, guest lodge, as well as a child care center.  From it's humble beginnings, the home has continued it mission to care for the families of veterans and service members.  Today, the home is able to help families of deployed service people or those who are serving during unaccompanied tours, like service in Korea.  They help veteran families in crisis, as well as disabled veterans being helped by the Veteran's Administration through the vocational rehabilitation program.  It is a place where families can remain intact as they struggle through the trials that war can cause families.  It is also able to help the descendants of VFW and VFW Auxiliary members.

While at the home, families are provided housing in single family homes.  Families are able to stay for up to four years without any cost to them.  They have a professional case manager that works with them to help each family reach their individual goals.  The Home provides licensed child care as well as educational and numerous recreational opportunities.  None of this would be possible without the loving support of the members of the VFW, Ladies Auxiliary, and generous donors who share a desire to care for the families of our military service people and veterans.

The National Home holds a special place in my heart for several reasons.  I am an Iraqi Freedom Veteran.  I am a member of VFW Post #1089 in Wadsworth, Ohio.  It is a relief to know there is a place to aid my children should the need arise in  the future.  It can also stand as a safety net for any grandchildren I may have in the future.  The single largest reason it is so important to me is something far more touching to me.

My family has personally benefitted from the work of the National Home.  In 1926, my granny Carol Jean Kanouse and her siblings moved to the National Home.  My grandmother spent her childhood at the National Home, and could very well be one of the oldest living alumni of the Home.  I know that the Home has always held a special place in her heart.  When I returned from Iraq and before the cruel master of dementia pulled her mind into the shadows, she urged me to join the VFW , so that my family could benefit from the work of the National Home.  To be clear, the National Home will help any veteran or military family regardless of VFW membership.  Granny managed to impress on me the importance of the resources of the National Home for military and veteran families.

This year, the National Home celebrates 90 years of serving families.  Granny is in a nursing home in Southeastern Oklahoma.  She is in her nineties and dementia has taken her mind from us.  I wish she were able to participate and help celebrate all the great work that the National Home provides for families each and every day.  She would be proud to be a part of this amazing milestone, and I am sure that wherever her mind is, that she is thankful for all that the Home has meant to her.

As they celebrate their 90 year anniversary, the need of the Home has not decreased.  With a new generation of war veterans, there is still plenty of work to do.  They are always in need of generous donors willing to support the work they do.  Along with the needs for everyday expenses, to celebrate their 90th anniversary, the Home is also hoping to raise $130,000 to build a museum to display 90 years of mementos.  Perhaps today you might consider making a generous donation to the Home.  The need is great, but your donations doesn't have to be.  Even a small donation would help to serve the families of the National Home.  If you do decide to make a donation, then I would politely ask you to consider making that donation in honor of my Granny Carol Jean Hadley (Kanouse).

You can find the National Home on Facebook, and also on twitter @VFWKids.  If you have enjoyed this post and believe in the work of the National Home, then help get the word out.  Share this post on social media.  I would love to see this post go viral for the families of the VFW National Home For Children!  Thank You!

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Be sure to checkout the Home's homepage: http://www.vfwnationalhome.org/

To make a donation to the everyday needs of the home click here: http://www.vfwnationalhome.org/#!give/cdk8

If you would like to help the home build a museum then click here: http://www.vfwnationalhome.org/#!museum/cmb6

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