Garland’s preferred method of communication has always been working the phones but this time he decided to put the pen to paper. Over the last few days of January, he wanted to send a letter to all the Governor’s across America. We put together a package of information to help the Governors get a better understanding about the benefits of the project and asking for their support. We took sometime during family night and we all pitched in to help him meet his goal.
Update for December 2014
It is has been a while since we have given you an update on The Veteran Petition and where it stands. To say the least, this has been a long drawn out process and it is almost embarrassing that it has taken this long to hurry up and wait. I say that because I see the frustration my father deals with on the aspect of politics. I say that because the Canadian government passed legislation for a stamp like this one in less than two years and they got the idea off Facebook after learning about Garland’s project. Go research the subject yourself, it is pretty interesting.
Either way, back in October this year Congressman Robert Pittenger(NC-09) said he is committed to a partnership with Garland in working towards making this stamp project a reality. It seems as if he is a man of his word, so dad is patiently waiting to see the results for himself. Since the White House meeting in June, we have been working on our own to fill in the blanks. We figured that some of you may be interested in hearing the details.
Ever since Dad started this project, he seemed to have a few obstacles to address so that people could understand what his project was about. The first has obstacle has always been the need for a design of the stamp that would allow people to see something that could illustrate his vision. That vision being to honor The Tomb of the Unknowns. The second obstacle is answering the question: Where will this money go and how will it be used effectively?
People usually ask us, “Why has this project taken so long”? Normally, a follow up response like “What a great idea!” or “You would figure they would do whatever they could do to help Veterans”. Our response to this point has always been directed at the red tape speed bump that comes along with politics but to be fair and upfront it is true to say that is only part of the reason. Dad has always needed a non-profit to back his idea but nobody would really step up to the plate. Even former Congresswoman Sue Myrick told him that he needed a non-profit organization to sign on to help.
His main concern has always been that any affiliated organization would use the funds appropriately. Dad asked quite a few organizations to join in but they were hesitant because Garland could never provide the specifics of how much money any organization would receive. He always replied that Congress would determine that and no one could accept that fact.
One thing I want to make clear is that we are in no way trying to dish on these organizations. Some were pretty close to making a commitment and they are doing some great things for Veterans right now. They all have their own missions to follow, we can’t blame them for that. It is pretty tough to walk into a room and convince anyone to stop what they are doing and redirect their attention to your focus. It was obvious to me that we had to lead by example. We had a mission of our own and that was what we needed to focus on from this point forward.
If you have been keeping up with the project you know that we discussed this with White House officials back in June 2014. It was actually dad’s 83rd birthday and before the meeting that morning, I took him to Arlington Cemetery because he wanted to pay his respects. It was June 6th which was also the 70th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. It was a pretty quick trip that morning but later in the day after the White House meeting we went back and spent a few hours in The Cemetery.
Most of the stamp above was designed from photos that we took that day in Arlington. The American Flag you see was taken at a different time, it is the flag I fly on the wall in my home. The camouflage background speaks for itself. You will notice I layered the stars of ole’ glory with a picture of the tomb because those sacrifices are felt in every state across our nation. The “Old Guard” was photographed while he was on duty watch at the tomb and when this project is passed he will continue to stand guard as America honors them. The dog tags are inscribed with the Constitution and layered above it says “Stamp Out PTSD!” The funds generated from this project will be used to treat and correct post traumatic stress disorder. On the National PTSD Website is says; “PTSD is the most prevalent mental health challenge faced by our Nation’s Veterans.”
The American Veteran Foundation
To solve the second problem of getting a non-profit to support the effort, and to honor my dad – I created a foundation that will be the driving effort to help Stamp Out Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We are an approved 501(c)(3)Organization and regardless of what Congress decides about this stamp project, we are moving forward to help Veterans get the help they deserve.
We do not offer direct treatment services for PTSD but we do offer grants to Veterans who suffer from PTSD and undue hardships. If you want to learn more about how this foundation and how we will help Veterans, I would like to invite you to click here to see the details.