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Editorial: Group strives to honor veterans all year long

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The requests often are simple and inexpensive — a new television or recliner, a fishing boat, a trip to a baseball game. But every time the Disabled Veterans Wish Foundation of Indiana fulfills the wishes of Hoosier veterans, it makes a difference.

Since 2010, the organization has helped dozens of veterans, many of whom have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses.

“It’s set up like the children’s Make-a-Wish Foundation, where we give wishes to disabled and terminally ill veterans in Indiana,” founder David Hall said. “The first wish we granted was for a lift chair to a World War II veteran. There are a lot of organizations that provide necessary items; we like to provide items the veterans want.”

In its mission statement, the group says it seeks to provide disabled and terminally ill veterans “with the opportunity of a wish, by showing them our appreciation and gratitude for the sacrifice they gave. We would be showing them our support, that we the people still care about them, and that we would give them the hope, happiness and the help they would need.”

Some wishes are short term and can be granted right away, while others can take six months to a year to fulfill. For example, one Hoosier veteran received new clothes, while another received a flat-screen high definition television.

The wishes often don’t cost a lot, but the results are priceless, organizers say. Besides granting local wishes, the group hopes to spur other people to start chapters across the country.

Any veteran wanting to apply for a wish from the Disabled Veterans Wish Foundation of Indiana just needs to fill out an application online at www.disabledvetwish.org and be able to provide a DD214 form from the military showing an honorable discharge.

Monday is Veterans Day, which is set aside to honor all of those who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. armed forces.

Area schools, churches and civic organizations have presented programs this past week to honor veterans, and a variety of programs are planned for Monday. It seems so small a payment for so large a debt.

Essayist Cynthia Ozick offers a timely reminder: “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”

Or as Hall put it: “To us, every day is Veterans Day. It’s the least we can do for these men and women who sacrificed so much.”

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