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In March, the Gary Sinise Foundation and the USC School of Social Work’s Center for Innovation & Research hosted the inaugural “Closing the Gap Summit” to address the current shortfalls in care and support for our severely wounded veterans and their families.
Over 50 attendees represented a cross-section of individuals ranging from academics to government officials to veterans and their caregivers. Over the course of the summit, they shared insights and recommendations for ways to help close this gap and improve reintegration of our returning wounded defenders.
Perhaps the most important takeaway from the Summit was the need to mobilize local communities across the nation to provide sustainable, grassroots support for these veterans and their families. Communities like Temecula and Lancaster, California, Oklahoma City and San Antonio are already finding unique ways to raise awareness and provide help.
Members of every community can take a more pro active role in providing assistance not only for their local veterans but for their families and caregivers as well. Whether offering to pick up groceries, planning play dates with neighborhood kids or simply lending a concerned ear, there are countless ways to show support.
We’ve made great strides over the past few years to help our severely wounded heroes, but with clear evidence of shrinking government resources for our veterans, it’s up to local governments, citizens and organizations to mobilize and help close the care gap. It’s our duty as citizens to ensure our nation’s defenders never feel alone or forgotten. The Gary Sinise Foundation will continue its outreach to spread awareness in communities across the country. Please join us in this very important effort within your own local community.