November is the month when we pause to honor and remember our nation's veterans. But there are many ways to show tangible, meaningful support beyond waving flags at a Veterans Day parade or packing up holiday care packages for the troops.
These Dallas-area nonprofits are making sure of it.
In recent months, we at CultureMap have been taking a look at charities making a difference in the community, including those that impact the lives of veterans. CultureMap's new Dallas Charity Guide, presented in partnership with Frost's Opt for Optimism campaign, is a one-stop resource for locals looking for ways to give back.
Here’s a look at some Dallas nonprofits that salute and support military veterans, as well as law enforcement, first responders, and other heroes. Know of a group that should be added? Tell us here.
Carry the Load
Mission: Carry The Load is a nonprofit dedicated to providing active, meaningful ways to honor and celebrate the sacrifices made by our nation's heroes: military, law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders. What started as a mission to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day has broadened to include more than just our military heroes and more than just the one holiday. Carry The Load works to bring all Americans together to participate in honoring our nation's heroes every day.
Get involved: In addition to volunteering with Carry The Load's Dallas Memorial March and other year-round events, volunteers are occasionally needed in Carry the Load's national office throughout the year. For more information on volunteering, head here.
Major fundraiser: Carry The Load’s flagship event, the Dallas Memorial March, is a two-day embodiment of the values Carry The Load hopes to further: a celebration of heroes, remembrance of the fallen, and education in respectful observance. The Dallas Memorial March is also the culmination of Memorial Day fundraising activities to benefit the group's Continuum of Care partners. The event features music, inspirational speeches, stories of fallen heroes, flag ceremonies, and more. Funds raised go to support programs that provide direct services to the nation's military, law enforcement, firefighters, first responders, and their families. The Dallas Memorial March is the conclusion of two national relays that have traveled more than 6,400 miles to Dallas carrying the American flag.
DeCruit at Amphibian Stage Productions
Mission: Created by army veteran and trained Shakespearean actor Stephan Wolfert, DeCruit helps veterans work through their personal struggles post-service through theater classes. In his time of transition back into society after serving six years in the army, Wolfert discovered Shakespeare's words about the throes of war and the people who fought them. He connected with the pain and joys they faced. The program he created helps veterans communicate through written material and their own experience and walks them on a path to healing from post-traumatic stress.
Get involved: To give to DeCruit and for a listing of upcoming shows to attend, head here.
Mission: Equest enhances the quality of life for children and adults with diverse needs, including veterans, by partnering with horses to bring hope and healing. This is done through equine-assisted activities and therapies, including a variety of programs that include therapeutic horsemanship, hippotherapy (which is when the client receives physical, occupational, and speech therapy while mounted on the horse, using the movement of the horse to accomplish therapy treatment goals), and therapeutic carriage driving, which provides an opportunity to participate in equine-assisted therapy while "mounted" in a carriage for those with special needs who cannot or do not wish to be mounted on a horse.
Get involved: Equest offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups — no prior horse experience is required. Equest teaches volunteers everything they need to know at various volunteer training sessions throughout the year.
Membership: The Equest Women's Auxiliary (WAUX) was founded in 1986 with the purpose of supporting and promoting Equest. What began as a small group of women with good intentions has grown into an auxiliary of over 250 women, and a signature event, the Women's Auxiliary Luncheon and Style Show, chaired by a prominent leader in the Dallas community.
Major fundraiser: Equest's signature fundraising event, Boots & Salutes, is a USO-style tribute fundraiser benefiting Equest's Hooves for Heroes program, which promotes the well-being and mental health of veterans and their families through equestrian therapies and counseling. The fun-filled, high-energy celebration features a WWII T-6 Texan fly-over, live Frank Sinatra-inspired music by Dave Halston, "Boogey Woogie Bugle Boy" dancers from the Dallas Swing Dance Society, casual gourmet food and beverage stations, and tributes to the men and women who have served our country to protect our freedom.
Honor Flight DFW
Mission: Honor Flight DFW honors veterans for the sacrifices they have made to keep the nation safe by providing them with an all-expense paid trip to visit the memorials in Washington, D.C. These memorials symbolize the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of these American heroes.
Get involved: Older warriors could not make this trip without the caring assistance of the Honor Flight DFW Guardians. You can also donate to Honor Flight DFW here.
Major fundraiser: Honor Flight DFW hosts an annual golf classic fundraiser in October to raise funds for the charity. To learn more, click here.
Sons of the Flag
Mission: Sons of the Flag is a nonprofit organization committed to supporting military, first responder, and civilian burn survivors by providing funding for innovative research. They bring together passionate community leaders, pioneering physicians, experienced military service members, dedicated first responders, and purposeful civilians to complete that mission. The ultimate goal of Sons of the Flag is to accelerate the process of testing leading technologies and pushing them into circulation for immediate use. This will aid the recovery and lives of burn survivors across the nation.
Get involved: SOTF Task Force Leaders are unpaid volunteers who are willing to give their time and talent to improving the lives of burn survivors and their families, and host at least one fundraising event each year. TFLs work to develop a relationship with the burn unit in their region, serving as a conduit between SOTF and the burn unit. TFLs attend one fire service conference per year to help recruit new TFLs, and work as a team to collectively advance the mission of SOTF. If you are interested in becoming a Task Force Leader, click here.
Major fundraiser: Sons of the Flag hosts its Stars & Stripes Luncheon and Film Festival with a major veteran related speaker and films around Veteran’s Day. It also hosts firemanship conferences and Country 4 Country, a concert, dinner, and auction.