EDITORIAL: Thanking vets goes beyond words

York Dispatch

"Thank you for your service" is a refrain meant to express the appreciation we feel for our veterans.

It's important to say it as often — and as loudly — as possible. It's a beautiful thing to say and an emotional thing to hear as we go about our days in our community — anywhere we have the opportunity to acknowledge a veteran for his or her service.

We can't say it enough.

Those verbal thanks shouldn't take the place of action — the kind of action that gets well-deserved resources to veterans who have sacrificed mightily. That's the kind of thanks that just begins to pay our debt of gratitude.

On this Veterans Day, we are heartened to know of at least three veterans-related local programs available to our heroes.

The first is the Bonus for Gulf War vets, a bonus paid to a veteran or family of a veteran of $75 for each month of service in the Persian Gulf conflict, up to $525. A prisoner of war could receive $5,000 under the program. A three-year extension of the application deadline for the bonus, Act 50, was recently signed into law by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. It allows veterans to apply until Aug. 31, 2018.

Phil Palandro, director of York County Veterans Affairs, is correct that it's not a "great deal of money," he's also right that a little extra never hurts. For more information on how to apply, call (717) 771-9218.

Another local service that offers comfort and convenience to vets is a collaboration between Right-at-Home, a business providing personal care to veterans and seniors in their homes, and Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The Springettsbury Township Right-at-Home office provides care within York County, and it allows veterans to receive one-on-one personal nursing services in their homes. For local vets, it could mean the difference between remaining in their homes and moving to a nursing facility.

Finally, the daughter of a local Vietnam Veteran has made his dream a reality with the opening of Veteran's Helping Hand shelter, a 22-bed advocacy shelter on West King Street that will serve York veterans in need of temporary housing.

The shelter was the brainchild of Sandy Walker, who never got to see his dream realized because he began working on the project in 2011 but died this past March. Mr. Walker's daughter, Sandie Walker, will carry on her father's dream and run the shelter.

Along with these tangible examples of honoring veterans, a number of free giveaways and public events will take place today in York to show respect and gratitude to veterans. You can see a listing of those events on our website at www.yorkdispatch.com.

Today — and every day — when we encounter our American heroes, it's good to give thanks.

When given the opportunity, we must step up and do so with words — and deeds.

We must never forget.