Category Archives: Home Front

Best Blog Post Winner: Soldiers Angels, won at Flat-Screen For Our Vets at the VA

January 23, 2011

Angel Bloggers,

I took the time to print out all the submissions (remember, you needed to send in the links to your posts to have them considered!) and narrow them down.  It wasn’t an easy task, I tell you!  There were many thoughtful entries.  However, it all had to be whittled down to one “Best Blog Post”.

First, two Honorable Mentions, in no particular order:

Why I am a Soldiers’ Angel: Denny Weisgerber from the California Soldiers’ Angels blog

Why I love Missouri Volunteers from the Missouri Soldiers’ Angels blog

And now, without further ado, our winner: the California Soldiers’ Angels blogger with her post Why I am a Soldiers Angel: Jeanavive Janssen!

For her winning entry,  Jeanavive gets to select a VA facility to receive a brand new 40″ HDTV.  Congratulations,  Jeanavive!

Once again, I want to thank all of you Angel Bloggers for all your hard work.  It is greatly appreciated!

Wingtip to Wingtip~

Lisa Luhrman
Blog Coordinator
Soldiers’ Angels

Monday, September 5, 2011

Why I am a Soldiers Angel: Jeanavive Janssen

Why am I a “Soldiers Angel”? Because I was a soldier’s wife; I spent the formidable years of our relationship being reminded of impending deployment and what that would mean…and I was secure enough to carry on into a marriage. I became active with the Family Readiness Group and our unit attended a large scale conference organized by the Army in Denver, CO. I got to hear first hand from families who have been through deployment multiple times and I was prepared in my mind how I was going to manage…staying involved closely with the FRG – and my extended Army family, my family, my husbands family and staying active with my hobbies (and making sure I kept my husbands lawn green as he would have kept it). Unfortunately you can never really be prepared for everything…my husband with an impending deployment filed for divorce.

Ironically, almost a year to date I was back in Denver, CO for a work event and the entire trip relived that Army Conference – it wasn’t until mid event of that Army Conference that I realized we wouldn’t have been there if there wasn’t a rotation impending…my husband took much of the burdens on his shoulders in a way to protect me but that was too much for anyone. I was surrounded by the military at the airport and I bought Sebastian Junger’s book called “WAR”. My habit in life is if there something that may be scary or uncomfortable that I must push on through it and engage it – I had questioned why I would want to read about our soldiers experiences and shortly to be my husbands…but I knew I needed to understand in order to not be scared and to be able to RESPECT anyone who is in the experience. I read it entirely on the trip from Colorado to California.

I realized there is a calling for me that actually started way before my husband. My father’s brother was in the Pacific theater during WWII and my father didn’t go to war because of his health at the time. This led to running a ship shape home regardless – my bed could bounce a quarter on it and we would ritualistically put the flag out and fold it properly at night.

My mother was a Nurse at the VA in Palo Alto. My mother also welcomed soldiers into our home locally for leave when it was too hard to get home…I don’t know if it was because she was a nurse, or just a wonderful Mom figure but they would always share their stories with her – I as well have also proven to be a women who people feel comfortable sharing themselves with.

Growing up I wanted to be a Medic – Mom said, “I would never be able to take orders”…I said, “I could just to prove I could”…(never pursued it once I learned to be with the Marines you actually trained with the – Navy). I thought, about nursing but Mom wouldn’t have wished that on me either. I fell in love with the TV series “China Beach” – the nurses and all that they did during Vietnam was amazing…there was a portion of the series when McMurphy returned home for a visit, and she assisted at a VA – there was a scene were she and one of the Vets were dancing in his wheel-chair…that has always stuck in my head – that in that moment the Vet felt whole.

With all this back-story I realized that I have a calling to be a care-giver, in one form or another – and that with my husband no longer being in my life that I shouldn’t rob others of my honest, respectful, empathy for soldiers who go totally beyond one’s self to serve. Apparently, life was in agreement because just after my trip that same week at my work during the County Fair – “Soldiers Angels” had an information booth!

I chose to work specifically with the local VA’s PTSD unit because I think it is so important for our soldiers to decompress before being expected to jump back into the demands of what in comparison to war are trivial things – from gassing up the car, to paying the bills…in conjunction that the heighten awareness and adrenaline in the field is now compressed to four-walls of living – surrounded by so many people who can’t even imagine how to relate – and they are truly also leaving men and women who had become their family during their deployment. The “Soldiers Angel” team has become my family, in my time of transition – and I have become an ear and a smile for soldiers in transition wanting to feel home again.

Find out more about becoming a “Soldiers Angel” in your area by visiting:

You can find out more about my “home front” efforts here:

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