“Would it be so bad if the rest of us became more attuned to the values and can-do spirit our veterans have brought home from the military?” –from Joe Klein’s TIME Magazine cover story, “Can Service Save Us?” (June 20, 2013)
As Klein’s TIME article makes clear, many of our nation’s veterans set an example for us that we would be wise to follow: Helping others is a way to help ourselves as well.
Time and time again (no pun intended), we hear from volunteers that they joined us at the armory to do some good for others, but came away from the experience convinced they received back more than they gave….Good feelings…new, like-minded friends…and happy memories of a day well spent.
The measurable physical and psychological benefits of service have been studied. Klein shares details from an Ohio State University study where two groups of elderly patients in senior day care were asked to make gift baskets.
“One group made them for themselves; a second group was told they were making the baskets for homeless people in their community,” Klein writes. “The second group experienced a greater sense of satisfaction and psychological well-being than those who were simply making the baskets for themselves.”
Klein goes on to quote Barbara Van Dahlen, the founder of Give an Hour, a group of mental-health counselors who work with veterans: “Service enables them to find their value outside their own suffering,” Van Dahlen says. “I don’t think there’s a mental-health professional on the planet who would disagree with the basic principle that serving others is therapeutic. This is not rocket science.”
Volunteers of all ages who don’t live near our Los Angeles-based Operation Gratitude headquarters still find a variety of ways to be involved — writing letters, knitting scarves, making paracord “Survival” bracelets, organizing collection drives, recycling cell phones — and they tell us more of the same: “It’s a blessing to be able to help give back to those who have given so much!” (Read My Operation Gratitude Story: Nancy Pappas as an example!)
Read Joe Klein’s article in its entirety here: Can Service Save Us?
Please visit our website to learn about more ways to be involved with Operation Gratitude — no matter where you live!
(TIME Magazine cover credits: Photo-Illustration by Andrew B. Myers for TIME; styling by Kirsten Reader; typography by Joe Zeff Design. Operation Gratitude photos by Bernard “Camera Guy” Falkin.)