Service Members Giving Back to Their Communities

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Americans like to volunteer to serve their communities in any number of ways, and no one volunteers more frequently than America’s military veterans.

According to data from the Veterans Civic Health Index, compiled by veterans empowerment group Got Your Six, the average number of hours veterans volunteered in 2016 was 169 compared with 126 hours for non-veterans. Veterans work with local communities to repair houses, help those in distress because of natural disasters, such as the floods in Texas and the Midwest that were among the worst floods in American history, and they donate to charity at higher rates than non-veterans.

Some veterans contribute to their communities by becoming involved in the political process as volunteers in election campaigns or as elected officials. The 116th Congress includes six female veterans, the largest number in history, and 19 freshmen veteran lawmakers, the biggest class in a decade. Some vets who choose a political career have even become president, like Jimmy Carter, now 94, and the longest-living former president.

The month of May marks the anniversary of the victory in Europe in World War II as well as Memorial Day, so in acknowledgment of the contributions veterans have made to our nation, 24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of service members giving back to their communities.

“Military veterans have earned skills and experiences that uniquely support effective disaster response and recovery — risk mitigation, small unit leadership, strong decision making, and a bias for action,” said David Burke, vice president of programs and field operations at veterans volunteer group Team Rubicon. “These women and men voluntarily took an oath to military service, and that sense of service, an opportunity to contribute to something greater than self, remains when they remove their uniform.”

Many of these veterans fought in the most expensive wars in U.S. history, such as the Vietnam War and the War on Terror, and many of the vets have said experiences deepened their commitment to serve their community.

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24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of service members who have given back to their communities in recent years. Given the thousands of volunteers, it would be impossible to chronicle all the good work they do for society. Our list attempts to provide a spectrum of the service and volunteer work veterans do in their communities, providing caregiving services, building homes for the homeless, providing aid during natural disasters, mentoring troubled youth, and even combating poachers in Africa. We reviewed stories and anecdotes provided by groups associated with veterans such as Team Rubicon, The Mission Continues, and Urban Warriors as well as print and electronic media resources to compile our list.