The holiday season is challenging.

While in our personal lives, we are fortunate to have family and friends who love us and surround us to celebrate the holidays, our work with Hero’s Bridge reveals a much lonelier side of the season. Our aging veterans returned home from their service years changed, often not for the better. Over time, relationships began to crumble and families became dysfunctional. As a result, many of our aging veterans have fractured family relationships and spend their holidays alone and isolated.

There is a third side for members of the Hero’s Bridge team and our volunteers. This is when the veterans we visit so often and care for so much, become family.

We worry, embrace, and care about them like any other family member. In some cases, we become the only family they have. When we leave their house we know they won’t see anyone else until we return for our next visit.

And in some very unfortunate circumstances, we learn of their deaths only when we try to visit and they don’t answer. Often they’ve landed in the hospital and someone eventually calls us to help them get home.

During this season of giving, I cannot help but remember the two veterans we lost this year. They died at home, between our visits, and we have to live with the knowledge that they died alone.

In this newsletter we share with you the wonderful things we have done with our veterans during the holidays to brighten their days. We also share the story of one veteran who had been with us since nearly the beginning of Hero’s Bridge, and yet he still died alone.

As you celebrate the holidays with your families and loved ones, please spend a few moments remembering our aging veterans who may be spending the holidays alone. With the Hero’s Bridge Village, we can give our aging veterans happy holidays every year in a more supportive community.

We are grateful for all the support you have shown us this year and look forward to many new beginnings with you in 2022.

Read the full newsletter.