Veteran's Experience Leads Professional Organizer to Promote Donating, Gratitude

Solder walks with child in AfghanistanRecognizing and cultivating gratitude is a regular spiritual practice of mine, and November is a special time to observe gratitude as Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. On Veterans Day, I relish the opportunity to observe gratitude for the men and women of our military, and for the services Goodwill® provides them, especially because my brother is a veteran.
My brother’s path to service was unusual. He left a high-paying job in the corporate world in his thirties, because he was prompted by the events of 9/11 to serve. He signed on because he believes that if people do their part to create better living conditions for others around the world, over time they will gain understanding, empathy and a life independent of those who would teach hatred. He found that the little-known Civil Affairs department of the Army Reserves does exactly what he wanted to do.
When my brother was deployed to Afghanistan, he was able to work directly with the leaders of villages who needed schools, wells, bridges and medical supplies. His unit worked hard to win hearts and minds, and to rebuild.
One day we were able to connect via Skype and have a long conversation about the meaning of his work. As he described the intensely grateful reaction of these children to receiving one small piece of candy or a few crayons, I couldn’t help but think about the children of the clients I work with in my role as a professional organizer. I remarked that here in North America, we have so much abundance that we have to hire people like me to manage it all, and our often unappreciative children don’t know which of their hundreds of toys to play with next.
Because of that conversation, I connected with Goodwill, and say this closing line at the end of each of my weekly YouTube organizing tip videos: “May you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.” The “problem” of clutter is a benefit of abundance that we can appreciate if we shift our perspective, and donating is a beautiful and practical way to express our gratitude.
What’s even better is that when people donate to Goodwill, they help veterans and other individuals facing challenges to employment access education, job-search and career-advancing opportunities to help them succeed in the civilian workforce. Take a look at some of the employment journeys of veterans being served under Goodwill’s Operation: GoodJobs program, and it’s clear why these services are crucial to the success of veterans and their families.
Following another deployment to Iraq, my brother is safely home and has found meaningful civilian employment. He now serves as a leader with Team Rubicon, a veterans’ disaster relief organization (and partner along with Goodwill in Got Your 6).
This November, I appreciate the men and women who make it possible for me to freely cast my ballot on Election Day. In the past they didn’t have Skype to be in touch with their loved ones, and many of them didn’t make it back home like my brother did. This Thanksgiving and always, I am happy and grateful for them in the deepest possible way.