Did you ever do something nice for somebody else that just seemed to make your day better? Like this morning at 7-11 I opened the door for a man on crutches. Courtesy, to be sure, but it still made me feel good to help and start my day with a smile. Now, multiple that feeling about 100 times over and that is how I feel tonight. Of course, that feeling is mixed in with a huge helping of reality check.
Tonight, I volunteered for the USO of Metropolitan Washington at a Texas Hold 'Em tournament at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The event was held at a hotel on Walter Reed, one that houses injured soldiers needing outpatient care and their families. The attendance tonight was about forty players, and we had just enough volunteers to provide staffing.
Let me tell you about the men and women who volunteer their time for the USO. They are dedicated to making these soldiers feel comfortable, and to help them pass what can be a boring and emotional time in their lives. They aren't asking for anything back or to be paid for their time. They simply want to help. To me, that is one of the best qualities that a person can have. To simply want to help another person. And if you don't already know about the USO, you should know that it is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to serving our military personnel and their families with all types of services. To find out more, go to the USO website.
And finally, I want to tell you about the soldiers. These are men and women who have served our country, and served it with exteme self sacrifice. Soldiers on crutches and in wheelchairs were the majority. One soldier tonight had his family with him, two young children and a wife. They are facing many more months living away from home, in a hotel room, starting school in a city they don't know. While I am worrying about what Jacob will wear the first day of school, this mother is worried about even finding a school for her children without any knowledge of the local area. She is worried about finding some sense of normalcy for her children, at the same time as she must learn to be a different kind of wife. A wife to a double amputee. Puts your own life into perspective, doesn't it?
And while you are thinking on this, think about volunteering your time to help the USO with their mission. With more than 120 centers around the world, there is plenty of opportunity. Or simply send a donation. Every little bit helps!