This series was inspired by the 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service. This section references a speech given by Col. David Sutherland, special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at that conference.
The Hard Road BackRecently the New York Times featured a series focused on young veterans and the unique struggles they face. The three veterans interviewed gave a glimpse into some of the different issues that need to be addressed, and how the community can help. Click here to read the series, entitled “The Hard Road Back.”
“Eighteen veterans take their lives every day,” said Colonel David Sutherland. He challenged everyone in the room to do a better job helping those veterans. Col. Sutherland offered many examples of veterans struggling to adjust to civilian life, and just needing a hand up to get back on their feet.
“There are just some things government can’t do,” he continued. In his presentation, Col. Sutherland focused on how communities, organizations and the government can partner to serve veterans. He spoke of several veterans he personally helped get back on their feet after a tough time adjusting to civilian life. He connected each of them with resources in their community—for example, he arranged for one solider and his spouse to attend marriage counseling to deal with the stresses of deployment. He encouraged another veteran to find a new mission in life, and signed him up as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity where he put his building skills to use.
Throughout 2013, six of the 43 Impact Grant recipients will focus on serving veterans specifically. Here are two of those project managers’ insights about the Lodge’s project inspirations.
The organization Give an Hour provides free mental health services to U.S. Military Personnel and families affected by the current conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. Give an Hour matches providers willing to donate their time with veterans and military members in their area. Click here to learn more.
The organization Operation Mend provides veterans and military members with access to medical care. Click here to learn more, and find similar organizations in your area.
The organization Patriot Paws is one of many organizations that trains service dogs for veterans. Patriot Paws is always looking for volunteers! Click here to learn more.
Next week on A Hand Up: The third installment will again reference Col David Sutherland’s speech. It will focus on some common issues that veterans faces upon returning home, and identify ways your Lodge can help.
To view the third installment in this series, click here.