I was recently asked if I would be interested in helping out a non-profit in need of public relations support. Initially, I hedged. Coaching takes up a lot of my time and of course I have to hang out with my fellow Uncharted authors. I mean, I live with Kelly and I haven’t even seen her for stretches of 72 hours lately!
But, my curiosity won out. I asked for more information and passed along my contact info. This past Saturday, I was invited to a committee meeting to learn more about the non-profit and meet a few of the committee members. Until this point, I had only been communicating via email with a representative and I did some research, but I still did not know what to expect. Apprehension set in, but thanks to a great morning pep talk from Kelly, my confidence was restored.
There were about 25 people at the meeting of all ages, but mostly around my Dad’s age. Fun fact about my dad, he’s a Vietnam-era Veteran. Active in his local American Legion post in a suburb of Chicago and at another near our lake house in northern Wisconsin, he is constantly helping other veterans apply for assistance. I’m proud of my dad for taking on a variety of cases and the government to help these men. He guides them through the seemingly endless paper work with an ease of a teacher and helps to navigate hospitals and government offices.
Seeing these men, just like my dad, convinced me I was just where I needed to be. The nonprofit I’ll be volunteering my awesome PR skills to is “Welcome Home 2011”.
On June 13, 1986, the Chicago Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home Parade became the largest parade of its kind in the history of America. Over 200,000 veterans and their families marched proudly down the streets of Chicago to the applause of over 300,000 spectators. It was an emotional and inspirational day designed to be a healing celebration. If you were there you will never forget it.
That weekend helped to change the country’s outlook of the Vietnam veteran. At that time, the country had a difficult time accepting the plight of the Vietnam veteran, and the parade provided a healing process, which generated a grassroots movement that laid the groundwork for today’s returning soldiers. As part of the lessons learned by the Vietnam veteran, we have bridged the generation of men and women who now no longer have to overcome the obstacles that we, as Vietnam veterans, endured at the time of our return from war.
Check out Welcome Home 2011’s website for more information about this year’s event. I’ll also keep you posted on special events/media coverage that our PR committee receives.