Veteran to Veteran: An Open Letter From Our CMO, Sondra Jones

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Veteran to Veteran

When people discover I am a veteran, they often thank me for my service. For some reason it makes me feel uncomfortable. Is it just me? Sometimes I feel that I did not earn that thank you. Never having served in combat, I don’t feel like I have done anything special to deserve a “thank you for your service.”

Yet, on the flip side, a family who called looking for assisted living information for their veteran Dad told me he served in the Army in WWII. I did say, “thank you for his service.” I felt weird saying it, yet I wanted to say something to show my appreciation. She said, “Thank you, but he does not like when people say that to him.” I asked her if it was ok for me to ask why, as I felt the same way. She told me that “he does not feel he should be thanked for taking lives.” 

Understanding a Veteran

Thanking someone for their service or being thanked for your service sounds and feels awkward. Yet we all know it is well intentioned. What can we say to somebody who has served? Maybe ask them questions about where they served. What do they miss? Would they have done anything different? Favorite memories?

In the end, we thank veterans for their service to show our support and love. There is nothing wrong with that. Right?

How brave, to raise your right hand and swear to defend the constitution of the United States. Knowing you can be put in harm’s way at any time. To be away from your home, your wife, husband, kids, every comfort you know…and what about the toll it takes on families? The kids who miss their parents that are deployed or the wife who is giving birth to their first baby without her husband there for support. The mothers who can no longer protect their babies who are in harm’s way. What these families sacrifice, it is something else.

Some join the military to serve their country, some join to go to college and some join because they are looking for direction in life. No matter what the reason is, it is such a brave decision and oh, the endless doors it will open.

I think every service member deployed, no questions asked would jump in front of a bullet for that brother or sister standing next to them. The comradery in the military is like no other. This is what I miss the most. That loyalty. That connection. The brother/sister hood. That bond will always be there and can never be taken away.

How to Thank a Veteran

The pride you feel when wearing the uniform, executing a perfect salute, marching to that cadence, feeling a certain confidence, a feeling you can conquer the world. Doing what many have not. As my drill instructor used to say, “You’re all that and a bag of chips.” We felt on top of the world, to us this was the biggest compliment!

The lifelong lessons you learn from boot camp all the way through your discharge, or even retirement, are unforgettable. You can never earn a degree like this anywhere else in the world.

I’ve been wondering how I can show my appreciation for veterans, without saying “Thank you for your service.” I am honored to have worked at The Arbors Assisted Living Communities for almost 20 years and I am in a great position to give back to those who served.

We are excited to offer veterans 10% off their rent for the first year. Also for the month of November, as a thank you to their spouses for their sacrifice, we are happy to extend the same offer.

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