Take a Vet to Lunch

Today I had the pleasure of hearing Bob Rawe speak about his nonprofit organization called Take a Vet to Lunch, http://www.takeavettolunch.us/. Bob and his wife started this organization in 2008 by inviting a handful of veterans to lunch at his home, and since then that simple act has grown into something much larger.

Take a Vet to Lunch is headquartered in Stanwood, Washington and sponsors banquets that draw people of all ages. The honorees are veterans of various conflicts, but the participants and entertainers are young and old alike. Thsi gives children and teens a chance to learn more about their nation’s history and meet those who helped shape it. These gatherings offer veterans a place to network and share their personal stories, and most importantly, it is an opportunity to show appreciation for their service.

There are several ways that people can support Take a Vet to Lunch. Bob said that it can be difficult to find volunteers to help make these banquets happen and fulfill their duties. They need man- (and woman-) power. Like any nonprofit organization, they also depend on monetary donations. There is Take a Vet to Lunch merchandise on their website, you can become a fan on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Take-a-Vet-to-Lunch/187110416162?ref=ts, and then there are the dog tags.

Dog tags? Yes. Bob has developed dog tags that say “God Bless America and Our Veterans” on one side and “You Are Not Alone, Thank You” on the other. These are intended to be handed out to veterans as you meet them, and they display the Take a Vet to Lunch website address so that they can get connected with volunteers and other vets. Bob manually helps finish every single dog tag that the organization gives out, putting in significant hours of manual labor to make these available. They are an easy and meaningful way to thank a veteran.

While Bob was speaking he relayed some war stories from service members he’s talked to and touched on the variety of veterans he continues to meet. Two items he mentioned really jumped out at me; one is that about 2000 World War II veterans die every day and that number will continue to grow. If you’re going to say thank you to these men and women, do it now. The second point was that it was 40 years before Bob had someone thank him for his service in Vietnam. A young man stepped out from behind a Walmart checkout counter when he saw his hat and shook his hand. 40 years!

As he mentioned, many Vietnam vets were treated like garbage when they came back from the war. Going to Vietnam did not mean that they believed they should have been there, as he pointed out, but they did what their government told them to do. I appreciate this sentiment because I have strong feelings that American troops should not be involved in certain conflicts, but feel just as strongly that the troops need our support and appreciation. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment– consider what they’ve sacrificed– and you might see why it’s so important that we show them thanks.

Again, check out the Take a Vet to Lunch website at http://www.takeavettolunch.us/ and see what you can do to help. Everybody can do something– if you don’t have cash you can generate awareness. If you’re in the area, you can help out at an event. If you want to give older vets a chance to be heard, you can participate in a nursing home visit and reach people who might otherwise be ignored.

Thanks for checking this out, and thanks to Bob and his people for so faithfully reaching out to those who keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave!


If we meet someone who owes us thanks, we right away remember that. But how often do we meet someone to whom we owe thanks without remembering that? -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


©2012 H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com.

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