Serving in the military is one of the most significant sacrifices a citizen can make. It can change the lives of you and your family forever. Unfortunately, coming back can be anything but a smooth transition. A veteran’s journey back into normalcy can be full of difficulties, adjustments, and roadblocks. The course is even more complicated when the individual has any injuries or illnesses. Fortunately, some organizations do exist to help veterans and their families. Many organizations are made up of ordinary people with an extraordinary heart for helping veterans. Organizations like Operation Second Chance exist to help wounded, ill, or injured veterans.
Who are they?
The Operation Second Chance (OSC) mission states that they are “patriotic citizens committed to serving our wounded, injured, and ill combat veterans. We support veterans and their families by building relationships and identifying and supporting immediate needs and interests. We are dedicated to promoting public awareness of the many sacrifices made by our Armed Forces”. They exist to support veterans in a multitude of both personal and financial ways.
How did they begin?
Operation Second Chance began with one woman, Cindy McGrew. Cindy’s friend Montgomery County, MD Police Officer, Sgt. Russo went to Iraq in June of 2004. After he left, Cindy searched for him and his unit and was made aware of three injured soldiers. Those soldiers were being sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Washington, D.C, near where Cindy lived. She then proceeded to reach out to the families, letting them know that she was nearby if they needed any help. Through visits, services, and assistance, Cindy realized helping veterans was so much bigger than just her small band of friends visiting soldiers. Helping veterans and their families upon reentry to the states was an important cause. Thus, Operation Second Chance was born and continues to thrive today.
What do they do?
OSC provides a variety of services to help both veterans and their families. Some of their assistance programs include:
- Airfare Assistance
- Essential Daily Assistance
- Financial Aid
- Rent/Morgage Assistance
- Assistance with utility bills
- Assistance with child care
- Housing and/or airfare for a family member to assist an injured or recovering member
- Retreats/Adventures to help with the stress that often accompanies reentry
Without organizations like Operation Second Chance, the process of returning to normalcy can be more difficult and painful than it needs to be. With concerned and patriotic citizens in the picture, it brings to light opportunities that are incredibly needed. It all started with one woman’s heart for helping others and has expanded into an incredible organization doing extraordinary things.