How Do You Help Those Who Keep Us Safe? #DECares

Many of you that know me in real life already know this, but for those of you who don’t – my husband, Christian, is a retired Air Force veteran. He retired about a year and a half ago after serving our country for 20 years. Because he’s been deployed numerous times and our family understands the hardships that the entire family faces during those times, we are all about helping Veterans.

Speaking of being deployed, Christian was actually deployed overseas immediately following September 11th and he’s actually got a really interesting story that I wanted to share with you. Because it’s his story to tell, he wrote it:

I am a military retiree who served 20+ years in the United States Air Force as a fire fighter. One of my most memorable/hardest deployments in the military was right after 9/11. I remember watching the news that day like everyone else and wondering what was going to happen next. As it turned out I was on a plane two weeks later heading to the Middle East. The plane ride there summed up what I was in for over the next few months.

The plane ride, coming from a civilian point of view, was like this; think about taking a four hour plane ride to Disney World, but instead, it is a 25 hour flight. Your seat is just a bench and there definitely were no flight attendants. We got powdered meatloaf for breakfast, a powdered hot dog for lunch and a bottle of water for dinner. I spent the whole time looking at the truck right in front of me for the whole trip. When we landed I stepped off of the plane, I turned my head and all I could see was sand. I turned my head in the other direction and again, all I see is sand. Instead of taking a breather, stretching our legs or finally get some rest, we had to build out tent to sleep in that night.

My job as a fire fighter was put on hold and I became a tent builder during my first week there because we were preparing for arriving troops. One of the toughest things to deal with was that I was not able to communicate with my family. There no care packages for the first month and it was two weeks before we had the showers built – and for the entire time I was there, we had no hot water at all.

For me, one of the hardest things to deal with was the food. We ate MRE’s (meals ready to eat) every day for two meals. One of the two was a hot meal (although most of the time it was cold), which either consisted of chicken and rice or eggs and sausage. Those were our only two choices every day for over 100 days. The only thing we had to drink at first were water bottles )for the first couple of months) and around day 60 I waited in line for an hour to try our second choice of beverage, which was warm (we had no refrigeration) goats milk – at least it came in chocolate. I still remember getting back home after my tour was finished and having my first Coke after about a six month hiatus. It felt like I was swallowing shards of glass.


In case you missed it, Christian’s troop was the first to land overseas, so he and the guys he served with literally built the camp from the ground up. See, I told you he had a great story to tell.

chris military

That is just one of the stories he has to tell about that particular deployment and I think from reading his words, you can understand why we try to help out active duty servicemen and veterans as much as we possibly can including sending care packages overseas.

The folks at Direct Energy are also committed to giving back to those who have given so much to our country. They recently launched a military portal, which is a dedicated space in which military personnel can find discounted energy rates for their home energy needs. Plus, once you’re a Direct Energy Customer, you’ll have access to their on time bill payments rewards program, Refer-a-Friend Program, easy, on the go Online Account Manager and more. These plans were created solely to help veterans and military members save money on their home energy needs!

To be eligible for the discounted military rates, you must enter your valid ID into their portal. Once it verifies, you will then be directed to a dedicated military plans page. You will then see plans available in your area.

Direct Energy’s Military Portal is a great way for active and veteran military members and their families to save money with exclusive military rates, and Direct Energy’s Rewards Program! If you have a special veteran or active duty service member in your life, be sure to tell them about this.

How would you help the military personnel in your community?

About Taylor Nikaci

126 comments

  1. kristimaloney

    It really is eye-opening when you read stories like this. A big thank you to Chris for his service. Direct Energy is doing a wonderful thing by giving back to our military this way.

  2. Janine Huldie

    Thank you to Christian for sharing this story with us and truly appreciate his openness about these days in his live. I also want to thank him for serving our country, too.

  3. Mama to 5 BLessings

    Ditto! What an act of selflessness! Thank you for sharing his story!

  4. Jeanine

    My grandparents were both veterans! WW2. I donate every chance we get but it’s a bit different here in Canada. I should look into more programs! This is really great, and I didn’t know your hubby served for 20 yrs how amazing!

  5. Pam

    My dad and several of his brothers were veterans. That’s why I love stories about companies helping out vets.

  6. Barney

    Great story and great benefits for veterans I will need to look into this.

  7. Carol Cassara (@ccassara)

    In the 2000s I sent so many packages to our troops and now contribute stuff to packages a neighbor sends monthly. I would bet I have spent at least $4K over the years on this. PS I am a pacifist.

  8. Scott

    We help out by raising money for honor flights. They take older veterans on a trip to DC to see the wall and other sites, all free-of-charge for them!

  9. Rosey

    I can’t even imagine being deployed. My hubby did Desert Storm. His story of the flight/scenery are similar. We do help in different ways throughout the year. And of course I can’t comment without sending over a huge thank you to your husband. Serving our country is a very big deal.

  10. Michele

    I only wish more companies would do for our active and retired members of the military what this company is doing. These guys and gals have put their lives on the line and their families lives on hold to protect our nation in whichever capacity they are needed. Thank you Chris from the bottom of my heart. Hum–I’m sitting here thinking–do you think bloggers could band together and “convince” more companies to support our vets and active members with reduced rates etc?

  11. Shabby Chic Boho (@terrishutterbug)

    Your husband is amazing. I came from a military family and we still have family serving today. Thanks for sharing this information, I’m sure it will help many. I’m going to pass it along to those in our family who could benefit from it.

  12. Jessica Beal Harlow

    This is a great personal perspective into what it can be like serving in our military. I have little knowledge (althouth the greatest respect and appreciation) as no one in our family is actively enlisted. My stepson is eager to enlist next year though, so I think we’ll have a closer look at how it effect families. This sounds like a great program for military families to save too!

  13. Parent Xpress (@HPXpress)

    Thank you Christian for sharing your story. I support any organization that helps Veteran’s and I’m going to be looking into this program and hope they are in NYC.

  14. Alissa Apel

    What a great guy you are married to. That takes a lot of courage.

  15. thelesleyshow

    Agreed. It does take a lot of courage and heart. She married well.

  16. Theresa

    Thank you Chris for your many years of service. And thanks to companies like Direct Energy who also appreciate all that our service people do for us, and give them benefits the so deserve!

  17. loisaltermark

    Yes! Sending out lots of gratitude to both.

  18. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    First of all a big thanks to your husband for his service. Secondly, whether we agree with where the government sends our troops or not, we should respect those troops. They don’t decide those things. I always love seeing companies giving back to our servicemen and women.

  19. Tee

    Thank you for sharing this story. Please also thank your husband for serving our country, Stories like this is inspiring. Definitely makes me want to do more as a citizen. I think donating to funds that help veterans and former service members is a good start to assisting those who bravely served our nation.

  20. Catherine S

    Thank you to Christian for sharing his story and for his service. I wish more companies would offer discounts like this.

  21. Mama to 5 BLessings

    I agree. I think all military should have discounts and special perks.

  22. Kim Delatorre (@shopwithmemama)

    I think it is absolutely wonderful that they are committed to giving back to those who have given so much to our country!!!

  23. Catherine S

    I agree, it is wonderful that they are giving back. I wish more companies did stuff to help our service men and women and our veterans.

  24. growingupmomma

    A huge thank you to your husband for his service! I will pass this one to all of my family and friends who are still active duty.

  25. msposh2013

    That is such a great cause. My father was a veteran.

  26. Megan Elford

    I know several military spouses, and as crazy hard as it is for those going overseas, it’s also difficult for the spouses and families left behind! Thank you SO much for making it possible for your husband to serve!

  27. Michelle F.

    That is a great service. I love that they can get discounts on their energy bill.

  28. Zena's Suitcase

    I cannot imagine how it must of been for Christian, and the other servicemen that arrived first. What amazing work you are doing raising awareness and supporting the veterans, thanks for sharing

  29. Heather

    What a story! I am very thankful for his service! Without people like him we wouldn’t live in the free country we live in today.

  30. Allison Cooper

    Thanks for sharing his story! My husband is now Army reserves but was active for 5 years. We were super fortunate that he didn’t have to go overseas. I give everyone in the military major props- without their bravery we would have nothing.

  31. Amber NElson

    My husband is active duty and served a couple of tours. Major props to your husband! I couldn’t imagine doing the job they do!

  32. thelesleyshow

    We put together care boxes for the ones that are deployed. We send them comfort things from home, little things like beef jerkey or some Mio for their water.

  33. martinkadelux

    What an amazing man! Thank you for your service!!! My cousin is an airforce lifer… I send him a thank you every time he comes home!

  34. Carly Anderson (@lipglosscrayons)

    What an amazing program! I love that it helps those who have served!

  35. Kelly Hutchinson

    All three of my brothers served in active duty. I think more companies should offer the military and their families more discounts.

  36. @SensiblySara

    Thanks to you and your husband for doing your part! I love that DirectEnergy is doing their part to help the men & women that keep our country safe.

  37. Debbie Denny

    We have several militart in our area. There is several events for them and their families.

  38. paula schuck

    What a story! This is really remarkable! I am so grateful to men like your husband. He must have a lot of great stories. I love to hear about companies that share with military like this or support the military. Wonderful that Direct Energy helps!

  39. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    I love to see companies helping our vets and servicemen and women as well. They give so much to us!

  40. Vidya Sudarsan (@IDP_Vidya)

    Thank you for sharing this story! I’m so glad that DirectEnergy is giving back to military families.

  41. kmstayathomelife

    thank you for your service, Chris! Amazing story.

  42. Chubskulit Rose

    Thanks for your husband’s services and to you for supporting what he did. My husband is a retired navy, he served 20 years as well.

  43. mommiesquietplace: 22qmandy

    I help family of children with special needs many times those family’s are parents who have a spouse in the military. My father inlaw served in the Navy. one of my family’s dearest friends served as well. So I can not even begin to fathom what a mom with children would go though even hearing the storys I wouldn’t know what I would do if my husband was not coming home to me every night and was defending the country instead. I know I wouldn’t sleep well. I want to thank your husband for the service he’s provided. This is a beautiful way to honor your husband service. I bet he’s blushing after reading this post.

  44. loisaltermark

    Wow. Thank you to Christian for sharing his powerful story and, more importantly, for his service to the country.

  45. Russ R.

    Your husband’s service is admirable. I’m glad that Direct Energy ( and prolly other organizations ) are giving something back to veterans.The situation is different here in my country. Our government should have efforts to let the public know about the service done by our fellowmen who are in the service. It was only until recently, efforts c/o private organizations, that we were made to know what hardships and sacrifices our SAF ( Special Action Forces ) have to do because of the Fallen 44. It’s a long story, but we are now being made aware. I hope that good things come out of it.

  46. Stephanie

    Thank you for sharing your amazing story, Christian.

  47. upliftingfam

    Thank you for your family’s service. As an ex miltary wife, I understand how hard deployments are on everyone. I am thankful that direct energy is helping military families save money on electricity.

  48. [email protected]

    I am grateful for the sacrifice our military and military families go through.

  49. martinkadelux

    It’s so hard when there are services available that you may not know about- my cousin has had this issue in the past! Thank you for your service!!

  50. Nicole M Williams

    thanks for sharing this awesome story. My brother-in-law and a few friends are vet.

  51. Elizabeth O.

    This is a great program! I’ve always wondered what government is doing for our heroes!

  52. Rachel Ferrucci

    Please tell your husband Thank YOU!! I don’t think people really think about what our men and women have to put up with when on duty. The program sounds great!

  53. Rebecca Swenor

    This is truly an awesome story by a vet. I so thank him for his 20 yrs of service and all the other vets as well. I love that there are programs like this for our vets. I was only in the Army Reserves and was never deployed. I got out in 1997 and have complete respect for all our soldiers who had been as well as still are being deployed. I will have to share this with my old friends. Thanks so much for sharing.

  54. Rebel Sweetheart

    Thanks for sharing your husband’s story. He did such valuable service to the country!

  55. Gabriel Bregg

    I’ve got a number of friends who were in the same boat as your husband, first boots on the ground, building things up from scratch. By the time I deployed in ’07, everything was pretty built up. It was still port a potties, but at least we had showers and hot chow most of the time.

  56. April @ Everyday Fitness and Nutrition

    My family was part of a penpal program for military that were deployed. It was so interesting to hear their stories. They really appreciated our letters too even though we were complete strangers because it was some contact with “home”. We really need to do more in our communities to support our veterans!

  57. roselynn787

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story, I’m so grateful for all the men and women who serve our country. This program sounds really great, I’m glad there are services out there helping our military personnel for their services.

  58. Agata

    A huge thank you to your husband for his service and thank you for sharing your story with us.

  59. milenabarrett

    This sounds like a great program. We have military in our family and I think we need to help the troops long after they are home.

  60. Mama to 5 BLessings

    What a great program. Side note gross powdered hot dogs and meatloaf??? Please thank him for our family.

  61. Heather

    I can’t even think about how powdered meat tastes. That’s just wrong.

  62. Britney Mills (@princesscowboys)

    Such an eye-opener! Thanks for sharing this!

  63. eliz frank

    What an impressive story. I’m have enormous respect for all who serve their country at the risk of losing their own lives. Bravo Christian! <3

  64. Penny Struebig

    Great post to raise awareness. The company I work for does a collection drive every year for our local USO.

  65. John Lopez

    I can’t really imagine how they could think to sacrificed for their families. I’ve no family member served but this is very awesome and I salute all this man.

  66. Saidah Washington (@ApronsStilletos)

    Retired Army veteran here!! Thanks for spreading the word about veterans issues and helping the way that you are.

  67. justamom8225

    I volunteer regularly at the local VA hospital. It’s not too far from my house and I want to give back as much as I can.

  68. Paula Parker

    Thank Christian and all those currently or Vets serving our great country. What a great program. Great article, thank you!

  69. irishred13

    We send cards and our halloween candy to active military. This program sounds like something that is perfect for the families, I know it is such struggle on them when a spouse is deployed

  70. Ashley

    First off thank you to your husband for his service. Second, I love that Direct Energy is giving back to our military! Thanks for this post, its great!

  71. BeyondMommying

    I am so thankful to our service men and women who have risked their lives to keep our home safe. I too have family in the military and the stories are crazy! I’m always glad to see people and companies giving back to our military members and do what I can as well!

  72. toxict15

    Your husbands story is great! Love reading about how he was the first to arrive and build camp. Thank you to your family for sacrificing and serving!

  73. chanelle

    What an eye opening story! I never quite thought about the daily essentials our service men/women have to give up and the day-to-day luxuries us civilians take advantage of. Thank you for sharing his story!!

  74. Travel Blogger

    My husband is also in the service and their stories always amaze me. Being in the community really opens your eyes to what they go through.

  75. rane25

    This is a truly heart felt story … I’m wondering how the adjustment to regular life has been for Christian

  76. Stephanie Pass

    Your husband’s story was eye opening! I had no idea. Thank him so much for his service. I’m glad Direct Energy is helping military families.

  77. Dawn

    Many people in our community have fund raisers and things of that nature. It’s always great to help out when you can.

  78. erikaawakening962161059

    It’s so interesting to read about people’s life experiences that have been so much different from my own. Thanks for sharing it in his own words.

  79. Daisy

    Thinking about your question, Really, I don’t do enough to help. I need to do more!

  80. Qoftwignberry (@Qoftwignberry)

    Much thanks to you and your family for all of your sacrifices. I cannot imagine the strain and stress that it has placed on all of you and we are all so eternally grateful.Amandahttp://www.queenofthelandoftwigsnberries.com

  81. Amber NElson

    It is a great sacrifice for not only the soldier but the family!

  82. Carol Bryant

    Many thanks indeed to you and your family for all you do – blessings now and always

  83. becca112971

    I come from a long line of military men. My great grandfather, Grandfather and father all serviced in the military during different wars as well as my brother. Now my nephew is thinking of enlisting. this is really a wonderful way to give back and help those who defend our freedom.

  84. vanessa: BriteandBubbly

    I too have a husband who was in the military so helping our vets and servicemen and women is a cause we support passionately. Such an amazing company to give back.

  85. tonyacoleman

    First of all, thanks to your husband for his service! My son just joined the Navy this year and will be deploying soon, so thanks for this post.

  86. Marcie W.

    What an inspiring story! I am so grateful to our brave military for their service and think it’s wonderful that there are companies willing to help and give to those that selflessly do the same for us!

  87. Stacey- Travel Blogger

    Glad to see an energy company that wants to give back to our troops! Thanks Christian for all that you did for us!

  88. Pam

    I’m so glad to hear about an energy company giving back. Christian’s story was so eye opening!

  89. way2goodlifeLena

    This is definitely not a trip to Disneyland and I’m so glad he is ok

  90. Michele D

    Such a wonderful story. Thank your husband for his service and dedication to our country.

  91. shaunatorres

    Awe… your hubby sounds like a great man. Living in San Antonio, I know many, many, many military families and they deserve so very much.

  92. Robin Hutchinson-Looney

    Thanks for sharing that part of his story and thanks to him for defending our country. My grandfather was a war hero and my other grandfather was in the same war, WWII, my ex is a veteran of Dessert Storm and my husband was a Navy veteran, so I have a lot of people who are / were in my life who also served our country. It’s nice to see that slowly but surely companies and the government are beginning to take care of our veterans…they deserve it!

  93. Mystarlight

    So nice that Direct Energy is doing that. I loved this story. It gives you a different perspective of what it is really like over there. I am so grateful for all they do.

  94. Angelic Sinova

    Both of my parents were in the Navy (although I was only raised by my mother.) I’m so thankful for my mom and all those in the military for doing what they do. Although my mom retired years ago and is now a teacher, I love hearing all her stories about her time in the Navy <3

  95. Rose

    Thank you, your family and your husband for your service (and sacrifice!)

  96. Shaney Vijendranath

    Wow, what a blog post! I wish we did more in our community for the military.

  97. Mary Madalene

    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

  98. Tami @ ThisMomsDelight

    I think the (so-called) food would be hard to get used to. I’ve heard about MRE food before and I don’t think anyone would ever get used to it. Yuck.

  99. indah nuria Savitri

    what a story indeed…thanks for sharing it, Robin..

  100. Brittany @ Clumps of Mascara

    I am ever mindful of the hard work and daily sacrifice of the military AND their families. So thankful for your husband and all the military for our protection! Yes! What a great story of courage and hard work! Thank you Christian!

  101. yumeating

    Thank you Robin and Christian for sharing your stories and thank you Christian for your hard work serving the country. My grandfather, uncles and even the dad served. My husband wanted to, but medical reasons (he had a brain injury at 6yrs old after being hit by a car) that causes him some troubles. We give back by helping our community and we are a part of a care package program to send packages to soldiers who need them.

  102. Ask Coach Donna - Social Media and Blog Expert

    Robin – I am amazed and what a story – a different world entirely for me and most of us – I am awestruck by what your husband and other vets have done for so many – thank you and your hubby – Love what you shared here. Big hugs

  103. Cassie @ Southeast by Midwest

    Thank you to your husband for his service. I agree that we should make every effort to help out our men and women in uniform, both active and retired.

  104. CourtneyLynne

    I always love hearing stories from those who have served! My grandfather was a colonel in the army, so my dad lived all differnt places around the world growing up. My family especially my grandfather have so many neat stories. It’s great what Direct Energy is doing!

  105. SixFeetUnderBlog

    I love hearing real stories from those who actually went through it. I am very thankful for all that they do for our country.

  106. Paula Schuck

    That was a shocking story to read. I don’t think I ever really grasped how difficult it would be to work overseas like that. Thanks so much for sharing!

  107. Erica @ The Crumby Cupcake

    What a story! I have the absolute utmost respect four our troops – the military really puts them through hell, and then it seems like they get no real thank at the end of their service. It’s a real shame, and I love that Direct Energy and other companies are doing their part in saying thank you.

  108. maggiesblog2

    What a eye opening story. Please tell your husband thank you for his service to our country!

  109. Kiwi

    What a story! Thanks for sharing I have a lot of close friends and family who are veterans!

  110. Shannon Gurnee

    I love it when companies give back to our military personnel. This sounds like a great program.

  111. Babita

    Thanks to your husband for years of military service. I think It is wonderful of Direct Energy to give back to the military personnel and veterans. They truly deserve it.

  112. Chene Atkins- Whittington

    Thank your husband for sharing his story. I love reading stories like this. 911 was my birthday and I’m always so fascinated about what other people was doing too.

  113. mommye

    Thanks for your hubby for all those years of service. My grandfathers are veterans too! Great story!

  114. Amanda Love

    As a retired Army vet I need to take advantage of this. I just love when companies give back to help those who’ve served.

  115. Jessica

    Thank you for sharing this very eye-opening story. I need to find out how I can do more. Please thank your husband for his service too!

  116. livingoffloveandcoffee

    My brother is in the Army, Mortuary Affairs and I’ve heard the worst, I don’t like it but I didn’t want to paint a false picture of our military in war Knowing what can happen to them and the things that have (he lost a major part of his troop) I donate and give whatever I can when something comes along in my community for the military. They deserve so much.

  117. Nancy @ Whispered Inspirations

    What a great reminder. Our veterans are such a vital part of our communities, we need to help them.

  118. Simple Mama (@simplemama2013)

    This sounds like such a wonderful service! I think more businesses need to give back to the community for those who are helping to keep others safe.

  119. Debra

    What a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing his story today.

  120. Krystal's Kitsch

    This is a nice reminder to pay tribute to our everyday heroes. It’s important to pay our respects and support those businesses that do!

  121. Shell Feis

    Wow, that really is an amazing story. I’ve always supported the troops but since I don’t have any military members in my family, I’ve never really thought about how all that gets set up or anything like that. It really drives me to want to help our veterans and our active troops- they are so selfless!

  122. sayitrahshay

    I have so much respect for people who defend this country. Thank you for all you did and do.

  123. Bismah Abdelgawad

    Such a wonderful service for everyday protectors and heros! People need to be more involved in their community and also towards those who protect them!

  124. Emily Knight (@OurKnightLife)

    Thank you so much for you and your husband’s service. My husband was AF National Guard for 7 years and continues to deploy as a civilian now. Supporting our troops can be as simple as sending a card to let them know you care. It means so much.

  125. Lauren

    Thank you to the husband for his service! I think there should be more programs like this giving the military special discounts and rates.

  126. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen

    Thanks to your husband for his service in your country! They deserve the discounts!

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