Last week I spoke to 700+ National Exchange Club members at their National Convention in Columbus. I love speaking at national conventions because one speech can help house hundreds of veterans in countless cities nationwide. Highly efficient. But I LOVED speaking at the Exchange Club convention because they were exactly like me.
I had never known what the Exchange Clubs did despite the fact their national headquarters are one block from our offices in Toledo. I just knew they flew a field of flags once or twice a year. But when I found out the full scope of their efforts, I knew I wanted to join. I found out the reason I have never heard of them is because they just do things to change the world. They are more interested in doing and have less of a desire to self-promote.
Exactly like we are. We have been a community’s secret weapon. Take Houston for example. I met Houston’s Mayor, Annise Parker, last year at the White House Summit to End Veteran Homelessness where First Lady Michelle Obama issued her Mayor’s Challenge. Mayor Parker recently announced that Houston has effectively done that and ended veteran homelessness in Houston. Those who know me will tell you I am quite cynical. But truly, Houston has done an incredible job of creating a system that will end homelessness for every veteran who becomes unhoused over the next five years. And Veterans Matter is a quiet link in that process, having already housed 350 or so of Houston’s now formerly homeless veterans.
So too is the Exchange Club. For example, with over 20,000 members in 650 clubs nationwide, they have been on the forefront of funding Child Abuse Prevention in their local communities. Same with their Community Service and “Americanism” platforms. In my mind, they have reclaimed the word “Patriot” from a political context and placed it back to its original and true meaning: Unbridled love of our country.
That love of country is a love for our veterans, translating into ACTION for America’s homeless veterans and veteran families with children. We are pleased to announce that Exchange Clubs nationwide will be hosting simultaneous “Veterans Matter 11/11 @ 7 Rallies to House America’s Veterans” on Veterans Day (11/11) in over 100 cities nationwide, to kick off their fundraising efforts to house 2,000 veterans over the next year. They will be inviting all VFWs, veterans service organizations and anyone who cares about veterans in their own communities to join them in sponsoring their local rally. If a community does not have an Exchange Club, we will work to find other partners to host the rally in their community, which hopefully will turn into a new club comprised of those who feel as we do.
I have now become a member of the National Exchange Club because their Patriotism translates into action. Like me, they love our homeless veterans enough to actually do something about it. At Veterans Matter, we take care of our own!
P.S. If you would like to participate in a 11/11 @ 7 Rally in your community, or want to host one, just contact us for the details.