Neighbor stories

Honoring the Veterans Who Defend Our Nation’s Neighborhoods

Written by Shannon Toliver

From all of us at Nextdoor, we want to thank our heroic neighbors across the country who have served and sacrificed for the common good of communities everywhere. Nextdoor’s mission is to help empower neighbors to build stronger local communities and our brave veterans have allowed us to live up to that goal each day.

In honor of Veterans Day, we want our neighbors to take inspiration from the following neighborhoods around the country for ways you can celebrate and support the veterans in your community.

Aurora, CO

When disabled veteran Thomas D. fell on hard times and lost his job, he posted on Nextdoor to ask if any neighbors would be willing to drive him to a job interview. Dozens of neighbors offered to help, but his post especially touched neighbor Kira B.’s heart, whose own brother struggled with similar issues after returning from the Marines. Thanks to Kira’s generosity, Thomas made it to the interview and was offered the job! When Kira asked if he needed any additional help, he mentioned his pantry was a bit bare. Immediately, nearly 45 Nextdoor neighbors came together to donate food, clothes, gift cards, and future rides to help Thomas get back on his feet. 

Video courtesy of FOX Denver

Los Gatos, CA

When Kathy K. met a young veteran living in a temporary homeless shelter in California, she was determined to help. He had suffered brain injuries from combat and his mother had moved from Georgia to help him get the necessary medical treatment. Eventually, the veteran and his mother were extremely grateful to move into their own apartment, bringing them one step closer to independence. When Kathy visited and noticed they were using an ironing board for a kitchen table and didn’t have any furniture, she reached out to her neighbors on Nextdoor to see if anyone had home goods to donate. Kathy’s Nextdoor post received 127 comments from neighbors eager to help furnish the apartment. Complete strangers rallied around this family, took them grocery shopping, bought a brand new TV, and donated enough furniture to fill the entire two bedroom apartment. One neighbor was even able to collect over $140 in quarters to ensure they would be able to do laundry. The veteran and his mother remain incredibly humble and thankful for the outpouring of support they received from their community.  

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West Palm Beach, FL

With limited mobility and PTSD, veteran and retired police officer Dawn M. had difficulty making home repairs. After exhausting all of her options, she posted on Nextdoor asking neighbors for help around the house and received hundreds of responses from neighbors she had never met. Over 20 neighbors, including licensed contractors, volunteered their time and resources to make nearly $10,000 worth of repairs on Dawn’s home.

Video courtesy of NBC West Palm Beach

Marietta, GA

Joe W. noticed an elderly neighbor struggling to clear yard waste from his lawn. The 80-year-old Vietnam veteran was wheezing from emphysema when he explained the county had given him a deadline to clean his overgrown yard. Joe gathered a group of 20 neighbors from Nextdoor and spent the next three days with chainsaws and brushcutters to help bring their neighbor’s yard under control. Joe shared, “We’d like to have neighbors help neighbors instead of causing problems or being negative about their situations.”

El Dorado Hills, CA 

Each morning, 95-year-old Wally wakes up early to greet kids on their way to school with fist-bumps and “Wallyisms” – original sayings that promote love and kindness. After serving in World War II and the Korean War, Wally R. found comfort in spreading positivity, sharing that “hate and anger leads you nowhere; spending time in war shapes what kind of person you want to be and see in the world.” Even at 95 years young, Wally is quick witted and very active on Nextdoor. For years, Wally has used Nextdoor to connect with his community. When Wally fell ill, his Nextdoor Neighborhood came together in worry posting “Where’s Wally?” and in turn gathering a group of nearly 60 neighbors to visit him in the hospital and wish him a speedy recovery. Before joining Nextdoor, Wally had no idea how important he was to his community. He says that joining Nextdoor has been the best way to reach his neighbors and stay connected with those who care most about him.

Video courtesy of CBS Evening News

Phoenix, AZ 

David comes from a family of serviceman and has been giving back to his Phoenix community for 20 years. His experiences have given him deep respect for the veterans in his community, many of whom are homeless and unemployed. When his wife, Sherri, noticed a post on Nextdoor about a veteran named Chad looking for work, they were able to offer him a dishwashing job at their local restaurant. Months later, Chad was one of their most valued employees and David and Sherri turned to Nextdoor once again to ask for donations of furniture to help Chad fill his empty apartment. Neighbors were thrilled to have an opportunity to help support Chad and donated furniture, gift cards, and clothing. Thanks to the entire community’s support, Chad was able to save enough money to go back to school to pursue a Computer Science degree, and David and Sherri began searching for another veteran in need to work at their restaurant. 

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  • Veterans’ Day Please take the opportunity or whenever you see service members in uniform to thank our service members who currently serve or who have served in the past. They represent our nation and values under the most difficult of conditions — and deserve our respect, remembrance and recognition on their day of honor – and every day.
    Housing-Related Special Programs and Benefits: In honor of the men and women who have selflessly defended our nation, I Will Sell a Home for a Veteran Facing a Hardship FREE Pro Bono now until Memorial Day 2020.
    They have to have a special need of some sort (it can be financial) so long as there is the possibility of an equity advantage. I’ll get it done for this Veteran gratis as my way of giving back. I can do this for one Veteran (or their survivors), and it can be in any of the following counties: Knox, Blount, Roane, Loudon, Sevier, and Anderson.
    There is minimal small print to the offer, the possibility of an equity advantage because I can’t guarantee that a buyer brokerage will be cool with forgoing their end, but there will be no listing commission.

    Who Our Way Of Saying Thanks! Share With A Hero Tim Sharp 865-705-2062 Steve Albin 865-235-1520 Just Listed Knoxville Real Estate llc. 1515 Spring Hill Rd Knoxville TN 865-705-2062 License 264319 © All Rights Reserved

  • Thank you for the post! I’m proud to stand with my brothers and sisters in the Armed Forces!
    Jay A. Spencer USMC
    Semper Fi

  • Thanks always and forever to those brave people who serve and the deceased that kept us free with the lives they gave. Thanks to all in my mothers family who served and died and my father in the Korean War and late husband 10 years Army. Friends and many more. They are what let’s us be Americans. Free. And the many canines that served and lost lives defending their special soldier. They are hero’s too

    • Yes it is a wonderful outreach. My husband, Les, and I stayed at the Fisher House for 6 weeks while he underwent radiation. It felt so much like family and they treated us so good. And since I don’t drive in Porrland, we were able to take the VA bus to and from the VA, hospital.

  • Consider volunteering at the VA Medical Center on Beacon Hill in Seattle. It’s a rewarding experience at an oasis of caring.

  • I have been collecting winter clothing for over 2 months to donate to our homeless Veterans. I made the parade on the 9th and had it announced as Thunder Road Motorcycles gave me a spot in the parking lot. I was very surprised to find very little help in my drive. I had shared flyers at the Eagles, VFW, Fire dept, local new paper, City leaders, and host of local stores! None of them ever got back to me! So I started asking at garage sales for any left over that might keep them warm? I mad a major score on a couple of them and my family came threw with flying colors. I has so much to give away that today a Motorcycle group and they’re church took the rest, which consisted of a Ford Ranger full and my 4×8 trailer full. I was told I did much better than most drives have done! I was feeling ashamed of my community that I so dearly love. I know we can do more! I have set my sights on old stores like KMart and Sears who close up shop to open as homeless veteran homes. Subdivide the building as living quarters and a food court, maybe add some shops for clothing and mental help as well.

  • Great Locally the V V A was at the Spokane Veterans Home today doing an I cream social for the Veterans, lets honor on the veterans who have served.

  • What a wonderful tribute to these honorable men and women!! Thank you for these posts. And a special thank you to all Veterans–those currently serving, those who have served, who are retired, disabled, or no longer in service for any reason. You are all appreciated, and your sacrifices are beyond measure. With heartfelt gratitude to all of you.

  • I come from Canada. We memorialize the 11 hour of the 11 day of the 11 month because we lost so many young men to ” the war to end all wars”. From the small village near me 60 men’s names are on the Cenotaph that honour those dead. This small village had a population of just over 400 at the time. We honour that war and the war that followed. I dislike how the military complex in the US has forgotten that this is memorial day to commemorate the 8,500,000 casualties from that war and not to pay tribute to wars and military.

  • These stories are just so heartwarming and touched me to tears. I have always believed there is still some goodness in this world and refused to ever give up that belief. And here is the evidence. Thank you to ALL our brave men and women who served and continue to serve, and thank you to all our Nextdoor Neighbors and every good hearted human being all over the world who shows kindness of heart and love towards his fellow human being. ??

  • thank you to all the veterans that fought for my freedom and to be able to exercise any amendment that I would like to attach my values and beliefs in. these veterans selflessly sacrifice their immediate dreams or ambition so that i can freely pursuit mine.

  • To my 97year old father who passed away January 11,2019. He was a purple heart and bronze star and ran with a live grenade to save his fellow servicemen. I honor you Dad and hope somewhere you are at peace and rest!

  • If I can make a difference in just one person’s life before I die, I will have accomplished a world of satisfaction.

    USAF 1965-1969

  • The Town of Scotch Plains, held a Ceremony to honor our country’s veterans.
    The mayor and other dignitaries spoke to a group collected on the street and
    surroundings. The National Anthem was played while Veterans from all branches of service placed flowered wreaths at the memorial with a Military salute to those that
    gave the ultimate service. Scotch Plains has many heroes to remember and honor.
    Attendance should have had a greater number there to help celebrate the event.

  • Good reminder. We all need to have the need for others in mind, especially for those who have given so much. Most good ideas start in our mind then move to our hearts and into actions. Keep up the good work. God bless

  • I always thank a vet in uniform or not if I know they served. I offer assistance to their vehicles when I see one at the grocery store and make sure they are safe.

  • Our country was different when I returned home from Viet Nam in 1967. I soon packed away my uniforms and went on with my life. In 1988 my wife and I were shopping in an antique store in MA and during my conversation with the owner she reached across the counter and shook my hand and thanked me for my service.It was the first time anyone said those words to me. It took awhile to figure out that not everyone can serve in the military or not everyone wants too. But for those who can it is a privilege and an honor granted to very few in our country. To everyone who reads this…I thank you for the honor and privilege you gave me. On November 11, please remember those who did not come home and on November 10th, Happy 244th birthday to the US Marine Corps. Semper Fidelis !

  • Thank you for providing a means to connect to our neighbors in such an effective way. I cried when I read the above stories.

  • Honoring the crew of the USS Liberty

    The crew of the USS Liberty is the most decorated crew since World War II. It is among the most decorated crews for a single engagement in the entire history of the United States Navy. Yet, the attack has never received a full investigation, as required by law.

    Commonly Asked Questions about the USS Liberty

    Prepared by the Independent Commission of Inquiry,
    chaired by Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

    What happened to the USS Liberty?
    The USS Liberty was a virtually unarmed American navy ship that was attacked by Israeli planes and torpedo boats on June 8, 1967.

    What were the American casualties?
    34 American sailors were killed and 172 injured that day, a casualty rate of 70%. This is among the highest casualty rates ever inflicted upon a U.S. naval vessel.

    What was Israel’s explanation for the attack?
    Israel claimed the attack was “a case of mistaken identity”; that they didn’t know it was an American ship.

    Why would we question that explanation more than 30 years later?
    The ship’s survivors were afraid to speak out in the early years because of threats of “court martial, prison or worse” if they did not remain silent. However, as time passed, they have stepped forward to say the attack was deliberate.

    Recently, high government and military officials have suggested that not only was the attack deliberate, but that the US government covered-up the incident. Today, an Independent Commission of Inquiry has found that Israel committed “an act of war” against the United States (see Findings of Independent Commission).

    In addition, the Navy’s chief attorney to the original 1967 military Court of Inquiry has issued a statement that orders to cover-up the incident were issued by President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara [see Statement of Captain Ward Boston, USN, JAG (Ret.)].

    Did Israel have reason to believe the USS Liberty was an Egyptian ship?
    Israel says its pilots and torpedo boat commanders confused the USS Liberty with the El Quseir, an Egyptian ship allegedly firing upon its forces in the Sinai. But there was no Egyptian naval bombardment that day; nor did the El Quseir (an unarmed 1920s-era horse carrier out of service in Alexandria) bear any resemblance to the Liberty.

    Isn’t it difficult to identify a ship if you’re in an airplane?
    In 1967, the USS Liberty was the most sophisticated intelligence ship in the world, with dozens of large antennas, including a large moon-bounce “satellite-dish” mounted on a tall structure near the stern. It may have been one of the most easily identifiable ships of any navy in the world. With a displacement of 10,000 tons, it was four times the size of the antique Egyptian transport it is claimed to have resembled. Freshly painted, the Liberty carried large white identification numbers on its bow. Egyptian hull numbers are painted black.

    Doesn’t Israel say that the Liberty flew no flag?
    According to American survivors, a 5-by-8 feet American flag was hoisted early that morning and was flying all day until it was shot away by attacking aircraft. Within several minutes, it was replaced by the giant 7-by-13 feet holiday ensign, which flew for the duration of the attack.

    Could Israel have thought the ship was in a war zone, acting suspiciously?
    According to surviving crewmembers, Israeli reconnaissance aircraft closely studied the Liberty over an eight-hour period prior to the attack, one flying within two hundred feet of the ship. At all times the Liberty was a clearly marked American ship in international waters, proceeding at a speed of only 5 knots.

    What was the weather like the day of the attack?
    Weather reports confirm that it was a clear day with unlimited visibility. The Israeli reconnaissance planes could have seen the Liberty’s crew sunbathing on the upper decks just before the attack. The flag was flying in a 12-knot breeze for most of the afternoon.

    Doesn’t Israel say they ended the attack the minute they saw someone hoist an American flag?
    The Israeli attack by combined air and naval forces spanned two hours — as long as the attack on Pearl Harbor. The air attack alone lasted approximately 25 minutes: consisting of more than 30 sorties by approximately 12 separate planes using napalm, cannon, and rockets which left 821 holes in the ship. Following the air attack, three Israeli motor torpedo boats torpedoed the ship, causing a 40’x 40’ wide hole in her hull, and machine-gunning firefighters and stretcher-bearers attempting to save their ship and crew. More than 3,000 machine-gun bullet holes were later counted on the Liberty’s hull. After the attack was thought to have ended, three life rafts were lowered into the water to rescue the most seriously wounded. The Israeli torpedo boats returned and machine-gunned these life rafts at close range. This was followed by the approach of two large Israeli Army assault helicopters filled with armed commandos carrying what appeared to be explosive satchels (they departed after hovering over the ship for several minutes, making no attempt to communicate).

    Did the Liberty send out a distress signal when it was under attack?
    Throughout the air attack, the Liberty’s radio operators found it difficult to transmit a distress signal because the attacking Israeli aircraft jammed all five of the Liberty’s American, not Egyptian, emergency radio channels. However, a call for help did reach the U.S. Navy command in the Mediterranean.

    What was the American response time?
    Although American carrier-based air support was only 40 minutes away, help did not reach the USS Liberty for seventeen hours. Navy fighters were launched from the aircraft carriers America and Saratoga while the Liberty was under attack. However, they were quickly recalled by the White House. This is the only instance in American naval history where a rescue mission was cancelled when an American ship was under attack.

    Why would Israel have deliberately attacked an American ship?
    Israel’s motive for launching the attack has never been determined with certainty. This is why an impartial investigation is critical. One hypothesis is that Israel intended to sink the ship (with no survivors) and blame Egypt because this might have brought the United States into the 1967 war. Another hypothesis is that the Liberty was gathering intelligence about activities that Israel did not want revealed. Examples might include the massacre of Egyptian prisoners of war that was then occurring in the Sinai, as well as Israel’s impending invasion of Syria.

    Has the incident been investigated in the past?
    Some people say that there have been “thirteen official investigations” all concluding the attack was a case of mistaken identity. Several were conducted by Israel. Upon examination, however, every one is based upon the conclusions of the original 1967 US Navy Court of Inquiry, which accepted the Israeli version, but which has been exposed and discredited by its chief attorney as a cover-up.

    Did the surviving crewmembers testify in the other investigations?
    In not one of these “investigations” were any of the Liberty’s surviving crewmembers permitted to publicly testify.

    Why would the White House prevent the rescue of an American ship?
    This is, perhaps, the most disturbing question arising out of Israel’s attack. It is why there needs to be a thorough investigation of the actions taken by the White House and the Secretary of Defense. Why did they order the recall of the planes that had been sent to rescue the Liberty? Why did they order that the survivors be silenced and the true facts be withheld from the American people?

    What kind of investigation are you calling for?
    We are calling for a new Court of Inquiry by the Department of the Navy, with congressional oversight, to take public testimony from surviving crewmembers and otherwise thoroughly examine the circumstances of the attack.

    Why are you calling for a naval — and not a congressional — investigation?
    We believe this would remove the inquiry from the political pressures traditionally exerted by special interest groups upon individual congressional offices. Fundraising and election pressures have prevented an honest investigation from being conducted for the past 36 years.

    Why is this significant for the American people 36 years later?
    We have a duty to the crew of the USS Liberty, while the survivors are still alive to testify, and while the perpetrators can be brought to justice. Furthermore, any policies that paralyze our elected leadership to the extent they become unable or unwilling to protect Americans and American interests, endangers not only the safety of all Americans but also the national security of the United States.

    Doesn’t America have a special relationship with Israel?
    No nation or people should be above the law; nor should American interests be subordinated to the interests of any foreign nation. Those Israelis responsible for ordering the attack and the resulting murder of American sailors must be held accountable for their actions.

    • Wow – thank you Maria. I hope it’s ok that I just reposted your eloquent post, with the following preceding it:

      I proudly served many years, 12 years U.S. Air Force, and active and inactive U.S. Air Force Reserves for years after. I have wonderful memories of my Air Force family. Today though, everything feels different. For example, it’s tragic that brave men and women’s lives are lost, that many return with missing limbs, and have to face issues of abandonment, neglect, and haunting memories. That we lose 22 veterans daily to suicide is shattering. As highly decorated U.S. Marine Corp Major General Smedley D. Butler said: “War Is A Racket.” Browsing through the Nextdoor feed today I found the following post:

        • Hi Maria, I’ve been tied up the last couple of days. You’re right about there not being much interest, sad. Nonetheless, it’s my belief that we have to persevere, the issue needs all the attention it can muster, particularly while we still have some living from that heroic crew – so unrecognized. You write beautifully. Do you have a blog or something?

  • In the richest country in the world with a defense budget larger than the next six countries combined that fact that there is a substantial homeless veteran population is embarrassing.

  • Luncheon to honor veterans:

    Nov 12 at 11:22 AM

    The U.S. Coast Guard & U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is having their annual Meals with Memories Luncheon to honor veterans. We will be serving 2,200 meals and giving away 400 plants for veterans to keep. There will also be a lot of vendors participating. Please join us to make this event a success!

    We are seeking volunteers to help at the registration booths to welcome veterans and their families, parking management, help at security checkpoints, and more. You are welcome to bring friends and family to participate as well. Just make sure you use the registration link to sign up all participants.

    Saturday, November 16, 2019
    6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
    Let us know (using the RSVP link) your preferred start and end time between the hours of 6 AM and 6 PM.

    US Coast Guard Air Station, Opa-Locka, FL 33054
    Meals with Memories Luncheon

    ** Volunteers will be asked to provide a copy of their government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license, identification card, or passport) for the Coast Guard to run a background check prior to event.

    ** Please wear long khaki pants and a white T-shirt.

  • My husband, Les, was a Vietnam Navy Veteran. 2 years ago, he was diagnosed with Glioblastoma. I believe this was a direct result of Agent Orange exposure. In January of this year, he went to heaven. It’s been almost a year and I miss him so much. I missed the parade yesterday because my kids and I are on vacation. By Les being a Veteran, it seemed so important for me to volunteer with Vets helping Vets. Thank you to Les and all the Veterans who have fought for our freedom.

  • Nice post. I learn something new and different on blogs like this that I stumble upon. Alway some useful info to read. Most articles are pretty woeful, this this is great. Did you hire a writer or hunt down the information yourself? Great Job in any case!!

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