9 easy ways to help veterans

It doesn't have to be Memorial Day
Posted at 2:16 PM, May 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-29 17:16:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)--Memorial Day offers everyone the chance to show their appreciation for the women and men who have sacrificed their lives in defense of the U.S. and its citizens. 

But the ceremonies, songs and gatherings will quickly come to an end. Don't let that stop you from expressing gratitude toward the millions of veterans struggling each and every day. 

Years ago, CNN developed a list of nine simple ways you can make a difference in the life of a veteran.

We'd like to share CNN's suggestions with you: 

1. Give a veteran a ride. Consider volunteering to drive a van for Disabled American Veterans so a vet can get to a medical appointment. 

2. Donate frequent flier miles. If you fly a lot, consider giving back to the Fisher House Foundation's Hero Miles Program. Your frequent flier miles can be used so that a family member or loved one can be near an injured service member. 

3. Sponsor a companion dog for veterans with PTSD. You can sponsor a Puppies Behind Bars dog. The program involved prisoners training companion dogs specifically for vets with PTSD. More than one-third of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will experience the disorder. 

4. Help build a home for severely injured vets. Building Homes for Heroes is a program that builds specially modified homes for physically injured and disabled veterans that will increase their level of independence.

5. Keep veterans off the streets. The Department of Veterans Affairs "Stand Down" program helps homeless veterans fight life on the streets. During 'Stand Downs" both homeless and unemployed vets have access to food, shelter, clothing and health screenings. Contact your local VA hospital in the VA Medical Center Directory to find a local program. 

6. Send a care package or a letter. Operation Gratitude sends individually addressed care packages to both veterans and current military members, wounded warriors and their caregivers. There's also a letter writing campaign you can participate in. 

7. Help them take flight. The Honor Flight Network helps veterans of the "greatest generation" make a free pilgrimage to the WWII Memorial on the National Mall in Washington. You can volunteer to escort the vets on their flight. 

8. Share their stories. Volunteer with the Veterans History Project operated by the Library of Congress. They collect veteran's stories and you can help them tell their story before it's too late. 

9. Say thank you. It's so simple to make someone's day.

Sandy Coronilla is a KGTV digital producer. Follow her @10NewsSandy