Rules / Etiquette

7 Ways to Thank a Veteran -Beyond Saying “Thank You”

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Navy Federal Credit Union. All opinions are 100% mine.

Inside: The best way to thank a veteran is the opposite of what you’d think! Help service members feel appreciated and valued with our “out of the box” ideas.

Living in Japan several years ago, I can honestly say it was a difficult time for our military family.

It wasn’t until my veteran husband and I returned to life in the US that we realized how frequently we were living in “survival mode” overseas. Frequent deployments and work ups, knowing we were separated from close family relationships in the US, were especially difficult for my husband.

American flag with text that reads: 7 ways to thank a veteran going beyond "thank you."

There were several things that helped keep him going along the way. I remember specifically about half-way through our time overseas, several organizations sent my active-duty veteran care packages right before Christmas.

To the average civilian, this act of gratitude might not seem important. But to my husband, it meant everything. I think most veterans would say the same.

Through “thank you” actions, you can see how much any organization, business or individual:

  • Appreciates the important service work veterans are doing.
  • Acknowledges the sacrifice and challenges veterans face.
  • Supports veterans and nurtures a commitment to them.

How to Thank a Veteran in a Memorable Way

As Veterans Day approaches, I encourage you to give an “out of the box” thank you a try. Thanking through action is something a veteran will remember long after the holiday passes.

1. Take a meal to a veteran or their family.

Regardless if a veteran is active duty, reserve or retired, taking a meal his or her way shows that you care. It also provides a valuable resource to families that may be living far from relatives and support networks they crave.

2. Offer childcare or dog sitting.

The old adage of “Let me know if you need anything!” is not one that works particularly well with veterans. Most veterans wouldn’t ask for help if the house was burning down and are very used to handling things independently.

Offering childcare or dog sitting services to a veteran and his or her family can offer service members a much needed break to complete an outing, spend time with their spouse or tackle some appointments.

3. Make a photo gift.

While active duty or reserves, service members can spend a significant amount of time away from loved ones. Once transitioned to civilian life, veterans absolutely want to feel connected with family and in their communities.

Boy taking holding a camera over his face and taking a picture.

Make a special effort to take pictures of a veteran with his or her friends and family. Putting the photos in a photo book or album is a perfect keepsake for veterans to carry with them. Another option would to purchase a family photo session for a veteran, giving the gift of professional photos to remember forever is invaluable.

4. Send a care package.

This is a more common way to say thank you through action, and I find that most veterans love getting care packages. This is especially true if the care package is a surprise! Be sure to include a special letter for your veteran recipient to read.

I have several step-by-step guides for creating a care package for a veteran:

5. Order a house cleaner.

Again, any type of gift that can provide help with household management to a veteran will be appreciated. Grocery delivery, cleaning services and more, help free up some of the veterans time to rest, enjoy hobbies, and spend time with loved ones. Veterans’ lives can be hectic and demanding, freeing up that time so they can enjoy more is a great way to say thank you!

6. Call regularly or visit.

One of the biggest challenges veterans express behind closed doors is that seeing friends and family from “back home” tends to fall heavily on them. On top of a demanding work schedule, the main way veterans see friends and family is to travel back to them. This can feel very heavy.

Mom hugging adult son and smiling.

Calling regularly or going to visit a veteran at his or her current duty station means so much! Please visit your veterans wherever they are around the world if able; they would love the opportunity to show you a little bit of their life.

7. Support and recognize businesses that support veterans.

Anytime you can support business that support veterans, you are nurturing the resources that are available to them. One financial institution that has consistently helped our military family over the years is Navy Federal Credit Union.

This is where we keep all of our personal bank accounts and all my business bank accounts. Since joining, we’ve never looked back!

This month, Navy Federal Credit Union is celebrating their growing base of 1.5 million veteran members. Every transaction, every member and the unique lives of those in the military are what drives Navy Federal and inspires them to serve.

Rather than a simple “thank you”, they show their support for the community of veterans with powerful products and award-winning service to help veterans and their families reach their financial goals. Follow along with their #GratitudeMisson on social and learn more about special veteran events and offers.

Thank a veteran through action.

Throughout our years as a military family, I’ve seen how much visits, calls, grocery deliveries, care packages, supporting military-friendly businesses and more can make a difference in a veteran’s life. It’s something I hear veterans talk about all the time amongst each other when they think no one is listening. They remember.

My challenge to you is this: Thank a veteran through action this year.

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