The news is still raw for all of us, and it will continue to be raw for the families of the 30 Americans and eight Afghans killed in Saturday’s Chinook crash for months and years to come.
But in time those of us not directly affected by the tragedy will move on. There will be other tragedies and other urgent matters demanding our attention. Much as we hate to admit it, the tremendous loss suffered by our nation and especially by these families, will fade into our memories. We will move on — these families, however, won’t — not completely, anyway. Time will lessen the pain, but a child never gets over growing up without his or her father and a wife never fully recovers from the horrible shock of becoming a widow years before she’s even sprouted her first gray hair. And, despite our best intentions, those of us in the inner circles of these families won’t even know how to support them.
The United Warrior Survivor Foundation has worked since 2002 to assist the widows and children of Special Operations personnel killed in the line of duty since September 11, 2001 in their transition to a “new normal” way of living. The UWSF was founded by a Navy SEAL and it is THE ONLY organization dedicated exclusively to serving the families of KIA Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Special Operations Personnel.
Every year the UWSF hosts conferences that bring these surviving spouses together so that those newly widowed can learn from those farther down the path and so that they all can draw comfort from each other and get advice from experts in a variety of fields. I have several friends who have attended these conferences and they have shared their wonderful stories and experiences with me. The UWSF also provides emergency financial and other assistance, counseling and transition assistance. But probably their most necessary and effective function is simply to bring these families together. It’s an amazing organization and I’ve been blessed to have worked with them, in various capacities, since 2004. I assure you the money you donate today will be spent wisely and will have a direct impact on the futures of these families who have made the greatest possible sacrifice for all of our safety.
There are, of course, many other military support organizations and I have yet to hear of a “bad” one. No dollar you donate to any of these organizations is a dollar wasted.