Veterans & Older Americans, a lot to be thankful for
Our recent blog posts on American Indian Veterans only touch on the proud record of military service by members of the many tribes across this country. We owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.
Earlier this month we were also writing about Native Elders and older Americans. Many of the individual donors who support National Relief Charities in its mission to help Native Americans improve the quality of their lives are older Americans. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude as well. Without their support, we could not be here assisting over 1,000 reservation programs in their good works.
When I think of these two groups – veterans and older Americans – it reminds me of our donors Gary and Mary Ann Cook. A veteran himself, Gary rose through the military ranks from private to major, held assignments ranging from infantry to heavy artillery, and served in the Green Berets and Special Forces Airborne. After the military, Gary was an insurance executive. His wife Mary Ann became a Registered Nurse and then went on to earn advanced degrees. She served in medical and surgical floor recovery units and in-service education. Together, they raised two children.
Inspired by the way the Indian people have persevered and maintained strong cultural bonds for hundreds of years, Gary and Mary Ann hold Native American people in high esteem. Gary also says that the poverty he sees on many reservations reminds him of what he saw in the third world during his 24 years of military service. This upset both of them to the point of anger – but ultimately they replaced their concern with action by supporting many of our programs and services such as meals and winter fuel for tribes in the Southwest and the Plains.