NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - A number of the servicemembers killed in the helicopter crash over Afghanistan have ties to Hampton Roads, and there are ways you can help military families in their time of need.
The following organizations support families affected by Saturday's attack in Afghanistan:
- The Navy SEAL Foundation (You can also donate to the Navy SEAL Foundation by texting SEAL to 90999 and a one-time $10 charge will be added to your wireless bill.)
- Armed Forces Relief Trust
- Special Operations Warrior Foundation
- The Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation
- SEAL Kids (Hampton Roads)
The following is a list of fundraisers and donation drop-off sites:
- On September 3 , CrossFit gyms across the nation will host a workout in an effort to raise funds for the families affected by the August 5 helicopter crash. All funds received will go to the families through the Navy SEAL Foundation.
- On September 3, YouthBands.org will be putting on a "Back to School Bash" concert at Mill Point Park in Hampton. During the five hour event, the group will collect funds to go to the families of those who were affected.
- On September 13, from 1 to 5 p.m., a fundraiser will be held for the U.S. Navy SEAL Foundation at LDC Adventure Outfitters at 1413 N. Great Neck Road in Virginia Beach. There will be a cook-out and refreshments, and the event asks for a minimum donation of $10.
The following are memorial funds have been established:
- Kevin Houston Memorial Fund, Navy Federal Credit Union, Dam Neck Building 200, Virginia Beach, VA 23461
- John Douangdara Memorial Fund, Siouxland Federal Credit Union, 3000 Plaza Drive, South Sioux City, NE 68776
- John Faas Scholarship Memorial Fund, Minnehaha Academy, Advancement Office, 3100 W. River Pkwy., Minneapolis, MN 55406 or advancement.minnehahaacademy.net
- Lou Langlais Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 3100, Merrifield, VA 22119-3100
- Matthew Mason Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 3100, Merrifield, VA 22119-3100
- Frogman238 Memorial Fund (Jon Tumilson), First Security Bank and Trust, Rockford, Iowa, (641)756-3361
- Kraig Vickers Memorial Fund, Navy Federal Credit Union, Dam Neck Building 200, Virginia Beach, VA 23461
Tips for the public on supporting families grieving recent military deaths:
(List provided by TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors )
- Be understanding. The surviving families are in tremendous shock in the immediate days and weeks following the death of their loved one. Understand that families may need to be focused on making important decisions about funerals, memorial services, benefits, and a host of details. The family may not be able to respond to you right away or express their appreciation for your thoughtfulness.
- Respect their privacy. Grieving families who have experienced the traumatic death of a loved one may especially need their family and close friends around them. Please allow them the privacy and space they need to get through what are going to be difficult days.
- Think beyond flowers and food. Often bereaved families will be overwhelmed by gifts of food and flowers. Consider making a contribution to a charity or memorial fund in honor of their loved one. Often families will specify a charity or organization that their loved one was involved with or supported, and find this type of donation particularly touching.
- Send a card. A card can express your sympathies and be an important reminder to a grieving family of your care and concern.
Simply express your condolences. If you talk with a family member, say you are sorry for their loss, or say you want to offer your condolences. That's enough. Avoid saying things like "I understand exactly how you feel," or "It was his (or her) time," or "He (or she) wouldn't want for you to be sad."
- Show your support. In many communities, a procession is held when a fallen service member's remains are brought home. Consider standing near the processional route to show your support for the family. Bring an American flag, carry a sign that expresses your feelings and stand in respect to honor the sacrifice their loved one has made for our nation.
- Attend a memorial service. If a memorial or funeral service is open to the public, consider attending. Your presence can be a valuable support to the family, which appreciates knowing that their loved one is being remembered by many. Some families may need to observe their funeral ceremonies in private. If that is the case, please respect their wishes and be with them in your thoughts and prayers.
- Offer skills or services to help the family. If you are a business person who can offer an in-kind donation to help the family that will help during the funeral or memorial, such as limousine services, public relations assistance, or event management aid, consider donating your time and services.
- Support programs that provide long-term bereavement help to families of our fallen military. It takes on average 5-7 years for people to reach
- a new normal following the traumatic death of a close loved one. Bereavement support can be vital in the months and years to come as families work toward this new normal. Donate or volunteer with TAPS through 800.959.TAPS (8277) or www.taps.org .
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