To our valued clients and friends of Affinity:
During the holiday season it is so important for all of us to step back and count our blessings. We have so much to be thankful for! It has become a tradition at Affinity to take the money that we would have spent on gifts and cards and find a special cause where we can give back and make a difference.
This year, one of our partners reconnected with an old friend, and was introduced to a woman named Jessica Allen. Jessica's husband Chaz was deployed in Afghanistan and while on patrol he stepped on an IED. He instantly lost both legs and had a serious injury to one of his arms. Jessica got that call that her husband had been severely injured. She has chronicled the story of Chaz's recovery, and her amazing discoveries here.
Jessica is an amazing woman. She has learned so much, and has become not just HER patient's advocate, but she has become a spokesperson for every military family with a wounded soldier. She has been able to successfully communicate the message "you can't heal the soldier without healing the family" to the right people and has made a difference in so many ways. She was interviewed by the White House, and got a surprise call from Michelle Obama - you can see that here.
We reached out to Jessica a couple weeks ago to see if there was something we could do to help, and it just so happened she was having a Christmas party for about 20 families with their wounded warriors. We decided to send Jessica twenty-two $250 gift cards - one for each family to be able to do something special for the holidays, in the name of all of our Affinity clients. Jessica tells the story of the Christmas party here.
We wanted to share this with each of you because we all want to give something back - and there are so many ways we can do that. We asked Jessica about some of the organizations that helped her figure out how to deal with her new normal and she gave us these:
- Fisher House - The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America's military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Fisher House also has Hero Miles. With Hero Miles you can donate your frequent flyer miles and Hero Miles turns those miles into tickets for military families. You can visit their site to learn more here.
- Our Military Kids - This organization provides substantial support in the form of grants to the children of National Guard and Military Reserve personnel who are currently deployed overseas, as well as the children of Wounded Warriors in all branches. The grants from Our Military Kids pay for participation in sports, fine arts, camps, and tutoring programs that nurture and sustain children while a parent is away in service to our country or recovering from injury. Visit here for more information.
- The Yellow Ribbon Fund - The Yellow Ribbon Fund was created in 2005 to assist our injured service members and their families while they recuperate at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center. Our mission began when two of our volunteers learned of needs at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval that were not being met by other donors. In six years, contributions made through the Yellow Ribbon Fund have provided the following for injured service members and their families: over 1,400 free rental cars spanning 56,000 free rental car days; over 18,000 free taxi rides; over 9,000 free hotel room nights; and 46 families have used our four apartments for more than 7,600 nights; and hundreds of free tickets to sporting games, concerts and plays, and hundreds of lunches, dinners, golf games, duck and goose hunts, fishing trips and other activities. Click here for more information.
If you feel so inclined, and you are looking for a way to give back this holiday season, there are some great opportunities to help those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Their stories are truly an inspiration!
From all of us at Affinity - we wish you and your families a Happy, Healthy, Joyous Holiday Season, and a VERY Happy New Year! Thank you for the confidence you place in us throughout the year. We look forward to working with you in 2012!