9 Ways Vet Tix Tickets Help Veterans and Their Families
It may seem like a small gesture – attending a favorite sporting match, sharing a fine arts event with family and friends or taking a trip – but for many veterans, the chance to make new memories can be an important step in reintegrating back into civilian life and reconnecting with loved ones. Unfortunately, such events are often out of the budget of a typical military family and though they may be the most deserving of a special experience together, veterans often miss out on the events and trips they would most enjoy.
The Veteran Ticket Foundation – commonly known as Vet Tix – however, was created to do its best to remedy this. The non-profit organization provides tickets for veterans and their families to attend events that can help reduce stress, strengthen family bonds and encourage service members and veterans to stay engaged with their local communities. Vet Tix secures tickets to concerts, educational and family activities, performing arts and sporting events across the nation, then offers them to its registered members. The organization serves all branches of active duty service members, as well as veterans and families of troops KIA.
“VetTixers” sign up online and the organization verifies their service; once verified, they can request free tickets to all events that interest them and pay a small delivery fee only.
Ways Vet Tix Tickets Help Veterans and Their Families
To date, the charity has given out more than 3 million tickets to veterans and their families, and publishes countless stories of how these events have been wonderful experiences for veterans and their immediate community.
The organization explains that its mission helps veterans and their families in numerous tangible and intangible ways, some of which are highlighted below:
- Special events provide an opportunity to reconnect to society and to battle the isolation that often comes with separation from the military or a return from deployment. Vet Tix often organized larger groups of veterans to attend events together, giving the veterans a chance to build a new community, and to talk to and spend time with others who understand their experiences.
- Attending a sporting event and associating yourself with a favorite team can be another way of feeling connected to a non-military community. Often that lack of community in the civilian world is one of the most difficult adjustments for a combat veteran. Additionally, the experience of cheering loudly for your team can be a cathartic release of emotion in a socially acceptable way, especially for those who have difficulty expressing themselves in everyday situations.
- The events can provide motivation for someone struggling with PTSD or readjustment issues to work hard to suppress some of the symptoms, at least for a short period of time, and experience a reintegration into a situation potentially filled with triggers (such as loud noises and large crowds). With each successful experience and coping mechanism, he or she is one step closer to returning to a more normal life. The fact that these tickets allow the veteran to attend events with family, buddies, or other veterans builds in the support system for a more enjoyable, successful experience.
- While veteran discounts are helpful, many events and venues do not offer them. Additionally, many veterans do not currently have a veteran I.D. card (according to Vet Tix, 66% do not have a veteran I.D.). Tickets to fine arts, sporting, or music events are often completely out of the budget of a veteran with a family, making access to these types of experiences out of reach. Free tickets remove the stress of trying to afford the experience.
- Deployments can be especially hard on families, where a mother or father is away for an extended period of time. These special events offer not only something to which the family can look forward, but the chance to make new, happy memories together and help fast-track the reconnection as a family after deployment.
- The events are often coordinated with Veteran Appreciation nights, or often the venue makes the extra effort to recognize the veteran and his or her family or friends, allowing a chance for all in attendance to offer gratitude and appreciation. This can help a veteran reintegrating into civilian life understand that society has not forgotten what she or he has experienced, and appreciates the sacrifices made.
- Vet Tix runs a special Heroes Wish program that provides exceptional experiences and trips for veterans, such as trips to Disney World or special professional sporting events. These events are crowd-sourced, meaning that through the website, civilians, businesses, and other veterans can donate to help pay for part of the experience. This offers yet another tangible way that the average American can show support and help the country’s veterans. These events are typically once-in-a-lifetime experiences and greatly appreciated by the veterans who are the recipients.
- Gold Star families – those who have lost a child or a parent or spouse during combat – are also included in this program, and many have been able to find healing or help others through their experiences. You can review current Heroes Wishes at the Vet Tix website, including the story of a Gold Star father who wishes to attend a professional football game with a young, wounded veteran who was injured the same year the father lost his son in combat. The two have grown close over the years and will be attending a game that pits the wounded warrior’s favorite team against the favorite team of the father and his late son. Sharing these positive experiences in memory of a loved one can aid in the healing process and keep his or her memory alive.
- Creating new, happy memories is an important step is battling PTSD and residual trigger memories that remain from combat experiences. The chance to reconnect with family members or society in general can be helpful in battling the isolation depression that threatens many veterans who are working to reintegrate into civilian life. These events give the veteran something to talk about with family and friends, a chance to be distracted from darker memories, and something positive and exciting for which to look forward.
Vet Tix offers numerous ways for Americans to thank veterans through their support of these special tickets and experiences, including one-time gifts, monthly gifts, employer-matching donations, donated tickets, sharing the expense of the Heroes Wish trips, and corporate sponsorships. All donations are 100% tax deductible, and more than 83,000 donors have already helped support the mission.