Operation Veterans Rising
By Senior Airman Danielle Quilla, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 16, 2017
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
As the sun rose on a Saturday, before the kids were awake for morning cartoons, five volunteers from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, decided to make a difference. Braving the chilly air and hundreds of pounds of landscaping mulch, they had one thought in mind: to give back to the veterans who once served this great nation.
“I have received a lot of comments on how great the beds look with the flowers blooming against the new mulch,” said Fred Binder, the only maintenance worker at the Warrensburg Veterans Home.
Dispersing the black mulch would have taken him the entire day to accomplish.
“There are thousands of things people can be struggling with,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Justin McCowan, the Operation Veterans Rising (OVR) president and a production control supervisor assigned to the 442d Maintenance Group. “About 22 veterans commit suicide a day and do you think that might have something to do with the fact they didn’t have enough money to pay their bills or they felt like a failure because they couldn’t keep the house cool or heated. That’s where we want to step in and help people.”
With the help of OVR volunteers, the task was completed within three hours. Several residents at the veterans’ home even sat outside to watch the progress and thank the volunteers for their help.
Beautifying the exterior of the veterans’ facility was just the beginning for OVR. This new non-profit organization was established within the State of Missouri on Jan. 30, 2017, with the mission to help veterans and their families rise up from their daily struggles. This includes active duty, reservist, and guardsmen. From donations to help pay the next month’s rent to home and car repairs, no request is too small or too large.
“In fact, we have applied for assistance for a wounded veteran in Pennsylvania,” said Master Sgt. Brandon Thompson, the OVR vice president and an A-10 production superintendent with the 358th Fighter Squadron. The same day OVR made some calls, the U.S. Army veteran had supporting agencies contact him. So, whether it is a local call or one from across the country, the organization is ready to help people rise up from their struggles in any way they can.
In the near future, McCowan and Thompson plan to meet monthly to do a community volunteer event, such as a 5k run, golf tournament or provide support for other organizations.
“We will be there to help these veterans because they deserve it,” said McCowan
While 12 flower, tree and shrub beds and a few lost hours of sleep on a Saturday morning may seem small, isn’t giving a little beauty to the lives of those that need it worth it? These veterans would say yes.
For more information about OVR and how to get involved and contribute, check out their social media sites: www.operationveteransrising.com, the Operation Veterans Rising Facebook page and their Twitter handle @OpVetRising.