While it is easy to equate Memorial Day Weekend with the unofficial start of summer, the beach, the pool, picnics, and grilling, it is important to remember why we get a 3 day weekend: to honor those who died while serving in the U.S. military. This day of observation actually has a long history – it began after the Civil War to honor fallen Union soldiers.
Recognizing the unique lifestyle of members of the military and their families, many startups have launched to help make their lives easier, especially when so many are actively serving overseas. Though the military and startup communities are different in so many ways, they have one major attribute in common: an eagerness to help others.
Veteran Central was founded by Jonathan Lunardi and Paul McDonald to address the challenges active duty men and women have when trying to re-integrate into “real” life following a tour. This social network takes a three tiered approach of social reintegration, resource centralization and awareness, and employment support.
One major challenge faced by military families is the career difficulties spouses face, since they move every couple of years. TroopSwap’s daily deal site for military members only employs military spouses and veterans for community outreach. Additionally, 10% of TroopSwap’s profits are donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
USA Together is an even more niche social site for wounded warriors. Similar to Craigslist, it connects wounded military members with people willing to assist them. Requests range from donated appliances to transportation to and from doctor’s appointments.
Another Craigslist-type site is Hire a Hero, an online professional networking site with direct job search capabilities, resume building and employer contact information.
For veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the US Department of Veteran Affairs developed the PTSD Coach app for iTunes and Android. It connects veterans with professionals and other service members with PTSD.
To all of our active duty servicemen and women and veterans, thank you for serving!