Our Troops and Veterans
You Are Never Alone Foundation has shared over 85,000 Caring Coins with our Troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, their families, Wounded Warriors and our Veterans.
YANAF shared Coins Caring with our Troops, their families, Veterans, Wounded Warriors and their families since the very beginning. In fact, the first large group that Salley Gibney shared Caring Coins with was with 650 Vermonters leaving Vermont to go to Mississippi to train to go to Iraq. Salley heard on a Tuesday that they were leaving on Thursday. She contacted the commander and asked to talk with him. He said “Lady if you can find me you can speak with me…” She did find him and did send each of the 650 soldiers a Caring Coin with a letter from someone who cared about them. The response was amazing. Many wrote and emailed that they were wearing the Caring Coins with their dog tags. More Caring Coins followed to the troops overseas through the Veterans Hospital and the National Guard. This escalated with the formation of YANAF. Salley and the Board attended all of the pre- deployment and post deployment events in Vermont, sharing Caring Coins with each soldier and all of their family members. Needless to say this was a very touching experience. I Matter, You Matter Programs were adapted for the children of the troops with the help of professionals who were the knowledgeable about what these children were facing. As many families a struggle with reintegration issues, a suggestion that someone cares about them is appreciated. It is always an honor to meet these wonderful men and women of all ages who could be our spouses, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and in some cases even our grandchildren.
YANAF also worked very closely with the White River Junction Veterans Hospital which connected them with Units abroad and their families. A veteran wrote “I’ve been lying here in bed thinking that I am the only person who is going through what I’m going through. Then I got one of these wooden coins that says You are never alone and I started thinking, I am not the only one going through this. I’m really not alone am I? Thanks to whoever it was that gave this to me…”
Each experience is very touching but one that truly touches your heart is when you share a Caring Coin with a Vietnam Vet and thank him for his service to our country and he looks at you with tears in his eyes and says “This is the first thank you I have ever received.”
Caring Coins have also been shared with Wounded Warriors and their families at the Bart Ruggiere Center at Bromley Mountain, Vermont.
YANAF has coordinated student programs where students visit and spend time with the Veterans at the Veterans Home in Bennington, Vermont facilitating an I Matter, You Matter Day event at the Veterans Home.
Caring Coin finds its way to Iraq “I put my hand in a shoebox full of coin shaped medallions that were sent by kids at a church from home. I placed it on my dog tags. It was a cute little medallion with an angel on one side and the inscription You are never alone. On the other side was the signature of a child. The clear implication is that between the angel and the prayers of the child, I am never alone, even though I am in the middle of Iraq. What a wonderful and thoughtful message. About two weeks later, I wanted to take the time to write a thank you note to the class and decided to try to read the name. It was obviously challenging for the student to write on such a small medallion. It was not that clear and I had not paid attention when I first strung it on my dog tag chain. When I pulled it back out of my shirt and looked hard to focus, I realized that it was from a young boy who must be the grandson of my eighth English grade teacher and a good friend. The tradition lives on…”
Veteran at the Veteran’s Hospital receives a Caring Coin A volunteer at a Veterans Hospital gave little gift packages to the in-patients at the hospital. A Caring Coin was included in the package. When she asked a patient if he had received that package. He said he had. When asked what he thought of it, he said “there was this wooden thing in it that said “You are never alone”. When the volunteer asked what he thought of it, he said he had given it to his wife. Then after a few moments, he said “…you know I have been thinking about that saying “You are never alone. And I’m thinking that I’m probably was not alone in going through what I’m going through, I mean I’m probably not the only one with this disease. I’m really not alone am I? I kind of wish I hadn’t given that wooden thing to my wife…” The volunteer just happened to have another Caring Coin with her, which she gave to him.
Volunteers shared Caring Coins at the Walk to Defeat ALS at the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington, Vermont on Saturday, October 18th honoring the brother of our Founder who recently passed from ALS. Each participant at the Walk to Defeat ALS received an I matter…You matter Caring Coin to keep and one to ore than 500 people participated. You Are Never Alone Foundation (YANAF) has been invited to participate in this Annual Event every year. This Event was very close to Salley Gibney’s heart as her brother-in-law, had been diagnosed with ALS and was a resident at the Veterans Home. Alan kept his Caring Coin with him and shared Caring Coins with the staff the Veterans Home.
Caring Coins were shared at the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Viet Nam War…
We were honored to be invited to join Vermont Vietnam Veterans as they raised 55 Commemorative Flags at the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington, Vermont as a Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. A Proclamation by President Barack Obama was read officially “honoring the Vietnam veterans, our fallen, our wounded, those unaccounted for, our former prisoners of war, their families, and all who served with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.”
Following the Commemoration Ceremony, You Are Never Alone Foundation shared Caring Coins with the Veterans at the I Matter…You Matter Event at the Vermont Veterans Home celebrating all Veterans and their families.
Veterans celebrate the Memorial Day Ceremony Our Volunteers proudly participated in and shared 600 Caring Coins with veterans, staff and guests at the Memorial Day Ceremony at The Veterans Memorial Garden and Brick Walkway at the Veterans Hospital at White River Junction, Vermont on Memorial Day as a tangible “thank you” to the veterans for their service to our country and for the sacrifices they have made on our behalf. The wooden Vermont-crafted Caring Coins were gratefully received with some of the Vietnam veterans remarking that this was the only “thank you” they had ever received. Caring Coins were also shared with staff and veterans at the Womens’ Comprehensive Health Care Center. Additional Caring Coins are being shipped to troops in Afghanistan by a Platoon Mother at the VA Hospital.
Wounded Warriors Weekend For years, YANAF has honored Our Wounded Warriors and their families at Wounded Warriors Weekend at Bromley Mountain in Vermont. Caring Coins have been shared with the Wounded Warriors and their families and volunteers every January for the last seven years. Warm smiles and love fill the room as volunteers thank our heroes for their service and the many sacrifices they have made for us and for our country. The Caring Coins are tangible reminders to them that they have not been forgotten.
Others share Caring Coins
Soldier’s Angels and other organizations around the country share Caring Coins with their units as reminders to each one that they matter, are cared about and that people are grateful to them and their families for their service and for the sacrifices they are making for us. Many of the troops wear the Caring Coins with their dog tags.