An Open Letter to Veterans of War in the Middle East

by Harold “Hal” Lyon, Director Vets of Hope

The year of 2017 rushes to completion.  As a nation we have been through a lot this year.  Our own lives cascade by us so fast.

Eleven years ago I was in Iraq, unsure of anything, only that I was there to do one job: Stabilize the country.  Assist them in rebuilding and electing their own government.  Eleven years ago…. where did that time go?  In my mind, it feels like it could have been last week. This is true for most Veterans with whom I talk.  The friends we lost, the injured, the scars that remain…

When I first started meeting Survivors of the Holocaust, it struck me that I wasn’t just comforting an “old guy”, or holding hands with a lonely “old lady.”  For many, it is the same as for us Veterans.  The Nazis’ attempt to eliminate the “Jews”- for them it feels like it just ended.  They speak of their fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers; children that were ripped from their hands, and sometimes killed in front of them, as if it just happened.  They talk of struggling to forgive,  and wanting the world to remember; hating the deeds done to them, but never do they speak of hating any one person.

This is a lesson for all of us.  Meeting and caring for this population in Israel changed something in my heart.  It gave me new perspective of my own war-time experiences.

Most Veterans understand that there is healing in talking and sharing with our brothers and sisters who have been there.  Fact is, we feel like they could be the only ones who really understand what’s tearing at our souls.

However, for Holocaust Survivors, their family and friends are dwindling.  They really don’t have an audience to share their hurt, pain, frustration and memories.

Many don’t seek this type of fellowship… sound familiar?  Many of the Veterans I know suffer on their own island of isolation.  I believe our Creator wants us to be whole again. And part of this process is fellowship with Him and with others.

Step up. Jump in, join Vets of Hope, come to Israel and serve again.

Our first project will be delivering “Survivor Survival Packs”.  As those in the community like to call them, “bug-out” or “go bags“.  These bags will contain essential items for the Survivor to make it through if there is a state of emergency in Israel.  They will contain basic first aid, water, nonperishable food along with batteries, flashlights etc.  As Vets of Hope visit these elderly survivors in their homes we are able to explain the products that are in the bag and their uses. Most of the time unforgettable conversations and exchanges take place.  We will also assess if they have any other needs that we could fulfill.

Get off your Island of Isolation and come visit the ancient Middle East.  Come to Israel with The Vets of Hope and bring love and aid and comfort to the elderly Survivors of the Holocaust.

Find out more and start planning your mission for Hope. 


Contact Sergeant Major Hal Lyon                                                      or call (802) 829 8800

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