As a consumer and tech PR agency we routinely analyze the calendar to consider the best ways to tell stories that are relevant and compelling, and with Memorial Day around the corner, we find tons of examples. As the date approaches, expect to see and hear stories about remembrances, ceremonies and individual stories of bravery and sacrifice. As a way to honor the holiday, we call out three organizations that deserve some good PR for the work they do year round on behalf of veterans and, in doing so, honor the memories of those who gave their lives while serving our country.
Open Bionics. We’ve seen our share of tech PR clients and think their story is worth noting. One reality of modern warfare is that more people are returning home as amputees. In previous times, options were few, but the convergence of two kinds of innovations — 3D printing and open source development — have the potential to change this entirely. Recently, one Afghanistan veteran became the first wounded soldier to wear a 3D printed bionic hand. An engineer friend began developing the hand using an open source 3D printable robotic hand design, adding his modifications. Open Bionics is the company spawned from the open source effort to design 3D printed prosthetics, and is devoted to making brilliant, affordable products for amputees.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association (IAVA). Founded in 2004 by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans out of concern for how veterans were being portrayed and treated, the IAVA is devoted to generating positive PR as well as informing government and the general public about the true circumstances returning veterans face. The organization has done important advocacy on critical issues such as mental health, lapses in VA care, and inadequate care for female veterans. We had the honor of working with the IAVA on behalf of a client whose employee ranks are filled with veterans; not only are they doing important work, but are a pleasure to work with, too.
The Bob Woodruff Foundation. Memorial Day is about remembering soldiers who did not come home, but for those who do, returning home can be a traumatic, difficult transition. Depression, substance abuse, violence, even suicide are common risks for many who have experienced combat duty. The Bob Woodruff Foundation finds and funds organizations and programs that help veterans not only survive the challenges of re-entry, but thrive in their lives back home. The foundation was born after Bob Woodruff, who in 2006 was ABC’s new anchor, was struck by a roadside bomb while covering the conflict in Iraq. His recovery from a traumatic brain injury that nearly killed him prompted him and his wife to start the foundation, so to us, the Woodruffs epitomize the principle of doing well by doing good.