Growing up around the military, Trudy Bennett wanted to give back to veterans such as her husband, uncles, dad and brother.

The Killeen resident has been volunteering at various veterans organization for eight years, and started working with Star Group-Veterans Helping Veterans when the nonprofit launched about a year ago.

“It’s very rewarding and so wonderful to give back to those who have given so much for us,” Bennett said. “It’s a great organization that strives to help improve the lives of veterans.”

The nonprofit aims to support veterans and their families and raise awareness to veterans’ challenges, said Jonathan Haywood, the organization’s president.

Bennett assisted the nonprofit when it hosted its Independence Day picnic, Thanksgiving basket giveaways and Christmas Holiday Assistance Program, which benefits local families.

“We’re just there to lend our hands, our minds and our backs when we need to,” he said.

Sometimes veterans are put in the background and aren’t appreciated for what they’ve done.

“Once I went up to veteran and I told him thanks for serving, and he said I was the first person who has ever told him that,” Bennett said. By giving back to veterans, Bennett’s appreciation for their sacrifices has grown.

“They’ve worked so hard for us and they’ve given so much,” she said. “People give 100 percent for us when they go into the military.”

Bennett and her fellow volunteers strive to show the veterans the recognition they deserve.

“The volunteers work really hard together,” she said. “It’s a reward within. Everybody feels better after they’ve done something for someone else.”

Bennett encourages those interested in giving back, specifically to veterans, to join the nonprofit.

“I’m really proud to be part of this organization, and I’ve made some great friends,” she said.

Get involved

Star Group-Veterans Helping Veterans is a nonprofit organization that aims to support veterans and their families and raise awareness of veterans’ challenges. Volunteers typically pay an annual fee of $30 to receive a Veterans Helping Veterans bumper sticker and membership card. For more information, call the nonprofit’s president, Jonathan Haywood, at (254) 681-8029 or go to

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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