2012 has been a tough year and that’s an understatement. As a nation, we have endured tremendous hardship; from Super Storm Sandy’s angry wrath to the Aurora, Colorado massacre, the Oregon mall shooting, the cold blooded murder of a man in broad daylight on 58th Street in New York City to the most recent unthinkable, tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

I have been angry at 2012. I'm riddled with questions that will never have adequate answers. Why do bad things happen to good people? How can a human being kill another in cold blood? Are the bad seeds of society becoming the norm? And simply...why?

I have always believed even in the most harrowing of times, that the majority of people were innately good however my usually unshakable faith in mankind began to waver this year. I became blinded by the unrelentingly bad news; I was unable to see the goodness that was all around me, in fact around all of us.

My vision began to restore when I received over a dozen emails from readers of my Wingman Diana advice column on Military.com asking how to give back to the troops during the holiday season.

One man wrote that he never could empathize with other peoples’ struggles until he went through his own this past year. He wanted to give back to those that give every day to our nation; our unsung heroes…our active military members and veterans.

Since we have been at war from over a decade, many civilians innocently forget that our troops are still deployed in Afghanistan for sometimes 12 to 18 months at a time leaving their families and loved ones behind while putting their lives at risk to protect our freedom.

Many civilians are unaware that active soldiers, veterans and their families are in need of additional support and non-profit organizations pick up where the government has left off. These non-profits can help you help the troops and are established and reputable organizations that you can count on. Your time and money will be put to good use.

Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is one of the best organizations around today. According to their official website, “WWP has three distinct purposes: to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured servicemen and women; to help injured service members aid and assist each other; and to provide unique, direct programs, and service to meet their needs.” 

Got Your Back Network helps military families who have lost a spouse or parent while serving our country. The network’s mission is to offer guidance and support to those that are grieving.

Another leading organization is Operation Homefront. They provide homes vets and financial services. The address is www.operationhomefront.org

I once read that, "man has limitless capacity to achieve goodness." Here's hoping 2013 proves that to be true.