By Nicole Matheson
Thank goodness it’s Friday — R.E.D. Friday, that is.
Chances are folks have noticed this particularly vibrant color a little more vividly on Fridays as they begin to look forward to your hard-earned weekend. They’d be right to assume it is a little more than a well-timed coincidence. In fact, it is a great deal more.
R.E.D. has become a meaningful acronym to many individuals enjoying the freedoms of life and stands for Remember Everyone Deployed.
Many people across the country are touched daily by the sacrifice of family and friends who serve to protect the freedoms of the U.S.
RiverScene Magazine met with Lake Havasu Military Moms president Cindy Ritter to learn more about R.E.D. Friday and the many ways they assist in galvanizing our community to reach out to veterans and active duty personnel in need.
Compassion for Veterans
Ritter shared an important reason for her motivation. “When you get out of the service, you’re thrown into the world,” she said.
She notes that veterans can be disoriented coming back from serving, and are often in need of assistance with bills, gasoline, clothing and food as well as compassion.
“Our community is so giving,” Ritter said. She said Military Moms and other veteran organizations in town operate on donations only. “In the last two years, we have paid out over $43,000 to help our local veterans.”
One such experience was happening as she spoke. “I’ve got a bassinet in my car. I was not sure I was going to leave it in there, but I did,” she said.
“I got a bassinet and some clothes in my car that I picked up from the thrift store for one of our vets in court.”
Ritter was referring to Veterans Treatment Court, a program set up to provide a structured environment for those veterans who are often struggling with conditions related to military service such as PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.
JusticeforVets.org estimates that “One in five veterans has symptoms of a mental health disorder or cognitive impairment.” Ritter is a Mentor Coordinator of Services for the Veteran’s Treatment Court allowing her to be close to those who are in greatest need.
“Wear red on Friday until all of our kids are home.”
One way of supporting organizations like Military Moms and their ability to assist those military veterans in need is through movements such as R.E.D Friday. Keeping in mind that a lengthy journey of great importance is taken one step at a time, a small donation can help a veteran continue their own journey.
A supporter doesn’t walk away with just the comforting knowledge that they helped a veteran in need, but they also receive their very own R.E.D. shirt. Efforts to promote this gesture, Ritter said, are made by local organizations like Military Moms who provide the shirts as both a thank you and more importantly to increase visual awareness for this important cause.
If you would like to purchase a R.E.D shirt, you may contact LHC Military Moms at 928-715-2761 or you can email Cindy Ritter at email@example.com. Shirts bought through the Military Moms are a $15 donation.
R.E.D. shirts are also sold at the Elks Lodge #2399, The VFW Post #81, and In Stitches Custom.