DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 17: A general view of the special veterans NFL logo is seen on a Dallas Cowboys player's ball cap during a regular season game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions on November 17, 2019 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Culture

A Lack Of Sporting Events Means Less Community For Veterans

Veteran Tickets Foundation

Why this matters

Since the pandemic, sporting events have few and far between. And in limited circumstances, fans have been allowed to return to the stands. But for Vet Tix, an organization that is driven by live events, the impact of COVID-19 just doesn't mean that veterans can't attend sporting events, but the act of community for Veterans has been severely diminished.

Most Americans feel truly grateful to our nation’s veterans and military personnel. Individuals, corporations, and organizations take opportunities to express that gratitude in many forms that include simply thanking or acknowledging them for their service and sacrifices.

In some instances, veterans and service members tend to endure emotional and/or physical challenges as a result of their military service. A supportive, loving family and a network of friends can help a veteran or service member make the often challenging transition from service to civilian life, or help their loved one reintegrate back into society after deployment.

The current social distancing environment we’re experiencing related to the global pandemic has made physically interacting with family and friends and maintaining relationships especially challenging. Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, attending social events such as sporting events, concerts, festivals, performing arts, and family events were a large part of our lifestyle and social habits.

Service members and veterans find that attending events in their community improves their relationships, reduces symptoms of depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and overall increases a feeling well-being according to a 2018 impact survey released by the nonprofit organization, Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix).

The annual survey received input from more than 52,000 currently serving military personnel and veterans from all eras who have signed up for Vet Tix’s benefit; the opportunity to receive free tickets for them and their family/friends to attend events of all kinds to include sports, concerts, performing arts and family activities.

Survey results showed a positive impact on relationships and well-being, of which 97% of respondents reported that attending Vet Tix events improves their relationships. Of those that responded, 61% reported that attending events through Vet Tix has reduced their symptoms of depression, anxiety, or PTSD.

Of the over 1.4 million Vet Tix members, over 590,000 testimonials have been submitted to Vet Tix thanking ticket donors for their generosity. Among those, there are thousands of testimonials related to how attending these events has improved their quality of life by helping them cope with challenges of isolation, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, depression, and an overall sense of purpose.

In one particular testimonial, a Vet Tix member invited his friend who is a fellow veteran to a NASCAR race in Martinsville, VA. The tickets were donated by NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, as his way to support our veterans and service members. Although his friend had never been to a race before, he decided to go. After the day’s event on the drive home his friend had confided to him that on that same day, he had intended to commit suicide due to his pending divorce and child custody situation. His friend took him directly to seek assistance on that drive back from the race. Shortly after he dropped him off to seek assistance, his friend called him and told him that due to the experience he had at the race that day, to include sitting with fellow veterans, he no longer wanted to end his life and was seeking help

This is one of the thousands of examples of the importance not only of attending social/live events; it also accentuates the positive impact it has on veterans and service members in coping with challenges related to their service.

With more than 9.6 million tickets distributed since its creation, Vet Tix has provided military and veteran families throughout the nation with opportunities to strengthen bonds with friends and family. The impact of the donation often goes far beyond a single day of fun.
Whether a veteran can reconnect with their family and community, or a service member gets out of the house for the first time since their deployment, Vet Tix events provide an environment for building memories and experiencing comradery with peers.

Steven Weintraub, Col. U.S. Marine Corps Retired, is Chief Strategy Officer for Veteran Tickets Foundation.

ABOUT VETERAN TICKETS FOUNDATION
Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix), a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides free tickets to sporting events, concerts, performing arts and family activities to currently serving military, National Guard and Reserves, veterans of all eras, immediate family of those killed in action, and VetTixers’ caregivers. Since 2008, Vet Tix has provided over 9 million free event tickets to more than 1.5 million members. In 2018 Vet Tix launched 1st Tix, which provides the same service to our nation’s current and retired law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMTs. These events help veterans and first responders reduce stress, strengthen family bonds, build lifelong memories, and encourage them to stay engaged with American life and their local communities. Vet Tix spends over 95 percent of its revenue on programs, ensuring that we give back to those who have given so much. Visit VetTix.org and 1stTix.org to learn more.

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