Military spouses know all too well the anxiety, excitement, and restlessness that floods the body the day of your loved ones homecoming. For many, it’s a bittersweet experience- overjoyed in the knowledge that the service member is home and saddened by the harsh realities of crippling injuries that often follow the battlefield. Soldiers that left on two feet, return on two wheels and courageously prepare for the long journey ahead to recovery. Thanks to companies like United Rentals who support charities like SoliderStrong and their SoldierSuit, that path to recovery is becoming closer than ever.
I’ll never forget the morning John came back from Afghanistan. It was New Year’s Day 2013. It was a cool and gloomy morning, which really isn’t the norm for the Savannah area. I had such a hard time falling asleep the night before. Nerves were racing, I wasn’t sure if the house was clean enough, oh, and it felt as if though our house was about to become engulfed by fireworks.
As the FRG leader for the unit at the time, my morning was spent running around base hanging up welcome home banners, or in the barracks, making sure that every single Soldier had nice warm sheets and an abundance of junk food to come home to. The hours faded into each other, until finally we were out at the parade field and could see those big white buses filled with Soldiers rounding the corner.
At Fort Stewart, they have this tradition for the units returning from deployments. The units get off of the buses, and form up behind a line of trees. Then, when it’s finally time for the welcome home ceremony, the unit marches forward, appearing through the trees and moving towards the anxiously awaiting families.
The morning that John came home though, there was something a little different in the formation from the other homecomings I had attended (and there was a good handful of them). At the front of the formation, you could see a Soldier sitting in a wheelchair, being pushed forward, right along with the rest of the unit. During the yearlong deployment, this particular Soldier had been injured, and had to be evacuated home. Once the unit returned though, he rejoined them for the welcome home ceremony.
Little differences in the formation can mean a big difference in a Soldier’s life. This is why organizations such as SoldierStrong are so important. They provide scholarships and help get veterans “back on their feet,” literally, with cutting-edge rehabilitation. SoldierStong SoldierSuits are designed to help injured veterans regain their mobility.
Programs that help organizations are equally important, such as United Rentals’ Turns For Troops. This IndyCar series season, United Rentals’ has partnered with Graham Rahal and SoldierStrong for their Turns For Troops program. For every lap completed, United Rentals will donate $50 to SoldierStrong, up to $100,000. Each $50 donation can provide a full day of mobility to an injured veteran through SoldierStrong SoldierSuit.
We can help make a difference too. If you head over to the Turns for Troops donation hub you can learn more about the program and even donate. Don’t forget to share this worthwhile cause on Facebook!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of United Rentals. The opinions and text are all mine.