Guest Blog from Hire Heroes USA partner VA Mortgate Center:
It’s a fact: During their time spent in service to America, members of the United States Armed Forces will relocate around the country many times. The demands of the military lifestyle force our service members and their families to transition from place to place, often very quickly. Unfortunately, frequent transitions can make it impossible to put down roots in one place, maintain meaningful friendships, or build important networks.
Many social networking sites, such as Facebook, make it easy to post pictures or updates about your whereabouts to keep friends and family informed. However, these sites don’t always make it easy for military members to find each other. If one has a common last name, or is a veteran who served long before the invention of internet-based social networks, it can be quite difficult to find old friends online. The social search functions of these internet giants just aren’t tailored in a way that makes them functional for military families, especially veterans.
Finding Old Friends
To make it easier for military members to find each other, Veterans United Connect, a Facebook application, was created. The free app generates friend suggestions and spurs reconnection based on a shared history of military service. Users give select data to the application, like where and when they served. Within seconds they have the opportunity to connect to other military members who have served at the same location at the same time. To avoid any OPSEC concerns, a user’s specific service information is not publicly displayed.
“My husband has a common name. That makes it tough for his old buddies to track him down through the typical social networking sites, like Facebook or Google Plus,” said Army spouse Adrienne May. “This app makes it easy to find people based on where they served or even through something as specific as boot camp.”
Veterans United Connect is also a great tool for military members expecting to move. Service members and spouses can use the app to learn more about a duty station or community well in advance of a PCS. Users can ask questions, interact with people already there and work to build friendships and support systems long before they pack their bags.
The application has ambassadors for each location and/or base. These ambassadors moderate community discussions and serve as the authority on their particular locale. They can participate in contests and are eligible for certain rewards and perks based on how effectively they do their jobs. If your area doesn’t already have an ambassador, you can apply to be an ambassador by going appropriate location in your community network.