Veterans today are facing more challenges than ever before. They are probably the most criticized and underappreciated segment of our population. What most of us forget is that we owe our freedom to these brave men and women who have put their lives on the line. But what happens when they return from duty? They face a slew of challenges from combat stress and readjustment issues to changes in family roles, bonding with children who were born in their absence, job changes and unemployment. If ignored, these issues can turn out to be catastrophic for veterans and their families. Veteran fatalities caused by suicides are said to be at an all-time high among veterans now.
According to studies conducted by The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, about 283,000 veterans are struggling with reintegration issues and won’t seek mental health assistance because of the stigma associated with it and the consequences it could have on their career prospects.
This is where a great group of people called Freedom & Honor come in. This group conducts training and education programs for members of the U.S. military, whether they are veterans or on active duty. These programs have in fact been designed by training experts with the help of combat veterans. The flagship program of Freedom & Honor, Return to Honor, is a 2.5-day cognitive and experiential program using training methodologies proven effective with trauma victims. These workshops takes a peer-to-peer approach that helps these veterans learn how to re-establish connections, with friends, families and society and how they can effectively reduce the impact of combat trauma on their lives. These are not mental health programs, just a training program to help veterans get back to living their lives and becoming productive citizens.
I believe this is an extremely worthy cause because not only does this group honor our veterans and their families and provide them the tools and training they need to get back on their feet but the group also helps fill some gaps created as a result of an overburdened VA system. It is a volunteer-led organization that has successfully conducted more than a dozen Return to Honor programs over the last three years.
Do our veterans really need these programs? Consider these frightening numbers. Today’s veterans face an 18 percent unemployment rate and for those who are lucky enough to get jobs, the average pay for those between the ages of 18 and 25 is $21,000 to $25,000. Please donate to this wonderful program so it can survive and benefit the brave men and women who were ready to sacrifice their lives for freedom and country. If you would like to contribute to this worthy cause, please contact Freedom & Honor directly through their Web site. Or you may contact Martin Richardson at 610-717-7797.