My name is Beth Goetzman. I was born and raised in Colorado and eventually made it to Texas 14 years ago through an employment transfer. Volunteerism was engrained into my sisters and I as we grew up, beginning with Candy Stripers when I was 13. I have volunteered for many organizations where, quite frankly, the recipients of whatever organization I volunteered my time didn’t seem very appreciative of those who used their personal time to help and I was looking for something a bit more fulfilling.
Once I was able to trace my ancestors back to the Revolutionary War, I became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution which has a huge presence in both the lives of Veterans and those currently serving our Country via our Service to Veterans and Project Patriot Committees and I finally found my passion. I’ve never seen a group of people like our military who are so appreciative of being thanked for their sacrifice.
I’m always asked why I’m so passionate about the military. My family has a long history of military service, from my Dad and both of his siblings and their father’s service in the Navy, a great Uncle on my mother’s side who also served in the Navy during WWII, and my Uncle who served in the Army. I have ancestors who fought in the Civil War, the War of 1812, the French and Indian War and those that I am most proud of who fought in the Revolutionary war and went on to help build our Country.
My Grandfather was a WWII Navy Vet and was unfortunate enough to be involved in the Battle of Iwo Jima where he was wounded transporting Marines to the island. My grandfather was assigned to a landing craft which was hit by a torpedo while transporting Marines; he lived but the impact broke his back and he was never the same, physically or mentally. Domestic violence would play an unfortunate part in the way my father grew up. Fortunately, my father married a strong woman and she quickly put a stop to the cycle of violence; many military families are not quite so fortunate. It wasn’t until I got involved with LSF and learned about how PTSD affects families that I finally figured out what happened to make my grandfather so bitter. My Great Uncle saw three wars aboard a ship before he retired; WWII, Korea and Vietnam. My mother remembers her grandmother telling stories of the nightmares he experienced throughout his career.
My schedule is a bit hectic a lot of the time so finding time in the evenings or weekends for organized volunteer events can be hard to come by but I’ve managed to wear many hats during the time I’ve been involved with LSF. I am the liaison between the Texas Daughter’s and LSF and have reached out via email and social media to call the Daughters into action for in-kind donations when LSF was stocking the retreat at Bolivar and had a wish list to fulfill. I have contacted businesses for donations for the Eagala center, helped retool the volunteer duties when LSF was first raising what would eventually become a huge nationwide-volunteer force. I’ve organized high school kids for donation drives in conjunction with my local DAR chapter so that we can provide welcome bags for the retreat attendees and corralled my local DAR chapter members to make hand-made cards of encouragement to go with them. Together with friends, we set up a non-profit, Healing for Boots, Inc., which provides the workbooks and personal alarms for the MST retreat attendees. One year, I invited Terry Jung to attend the National Defense banquet held at during the Texas DAR state convention. The key-note speaker happened to be JR Martinez and a lasting relationship was formed, simply because an opportunity was provided at the right time and place.
For the last few years…I bake cookies for the retreat attendees, dozens and dozens of cookies. I’ve been asked why I don’t just buy them, after all, it would take much less of my time but that’s not the point. The point is to let the Vets and their families know that there’s someone out there baking a ridiculous amount of cookies simply so that they know they’ve not been forgotten. Most people would never think that cookie baking could be a rewarding experience but it’s truly one of the most rewarding tasks I’ve taken on…ever.
If you would like more information on Lone Survivor Foundation’s Volunteer Force, please visit www.lonesurvivorfoundation.org/volunteer