Ways to Show You Appreciate Military Families

Plastic flamingos

Love your neighbors? Appreciate all they do? Then maybe you just need to flock 'em.

This week, my neighbors woke up to find a flock of plastic flamingos in their front yard. The accompanying sign said, "Congratulations! You've been flocked!" The sign also included some nice words of hope and support.

Everyone who passes by has to stop and look. Maybe it is because we don't see that many flamingos in our neck of the woods. Maybe it is because we so rarely see neighbors reach out to each other.

I do, actually, love my neighbors, and I've been curious about things we can do to show our military and civilian neighbors that we do appreciate them. Here are some ideas:

Drop a Penny

I heard a story at one of our live events from a National Guard wife who worked in a government office.

When her husband deployed, she found a jar of pennies on her desk and an anonymous note that said that every time she found a penny, she should know that someone was thinking of her. She thought that was a nice sentiment.

Then for the next six months, she found pennies on her desk nearly every day, which was amazing. She found them next to the sink in the washroom. She found them on top of her car in the parking lot. "I really thought that people were thinking of me," she told me. "It was just so random."

By the end of the deployment, she had enough pennies to get a really nice hotel room. A penny for your thoughts -- and your well wishes -- really adds up.

Give Them a Medal

Some of our civilian neighbors go way beyond the bounds of average neighborliness for people in the military. If you know a teenager who babysat for the deployed or your church group helped a returning vet or your company started a program that actually HIRED a vet or a spouse, give them the kind of national recognition they deserve with a Blue Star Families Neighbors Recognition Award.

Flock them Yourself

You may have a group in your community that is already using a flocking project to raise money for local cub scouts, church youth groups or graduating classes. They typically plant the plastic flamingos in your neighbor's yard for a fee and then two days later mysteriously remove the flamingos to deploy them elsewhere.

If you don't, your group can get plastic flamingos on Amazon. Then you can flock every one from your command. Or only the pregnant gals. Or just the male spouses. Or everyone with kids under 10 years old.

Imagine what it would look like if you had some crafty person in the command paint your flamingos red, white and blue. Or put charming patriotic hats on them. Hee.

Clearly, this is a project to undertake with caution because you could get carried away.

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