22 Oct A Veterans Story of Transition
What happens when a soldier leaves the military? Does anyone follow up with the veteran to ensure that his transition from military to civilian life was a successful one? These are both logical questions, which anyone would want to know that is concerned for the health and welfare of a veteran who just finished his enlistment service or just retired from Active Duty. The problem lies in the fact that unless you ask no one knows the exact answer.
So where do veterans go? Who is there to help them in this critical period of their life? The Veterans Administration can assist with information, but how do you contact them to receive the information. Is it locked away or is it readily available? Our men and woman who have served our country are constantly looking to gain the necessary information to help them with educational benefits, job assistance, disability benefits, and health care through a local Veterans Hospital to name a few. Here is where the challenges begin, as veterans are trying to navigate through the process of getting a definitive answer so that they can receive the critical care that they need.
When I discharged from the United States Army on December 31, 2001 I was completely overwhelmed, and had no idea how to go about getting any of this information. It was like being a pet goldfish and being tossed into the ocean with no map or directions. It was a scary process attempting to navigate through uncharted waters, and get the help that was needed. This is how the majority of veterans and retirees of the military feel in more cases than not, lost.
The good news is that there are many organizations and veterans who have been around the block who have a strong desire to help those transiting veterans or retirees with streamlining the learning curve of getting the information that is necessary for them to be able to move forward in the most efficient manner possible. I was fortunate enough to have many veterans assist me along the way, which made the process a little easier. Not everyone is this lucky.
We as a society need to be aware of this issue of assisting veterans transiting into civilian life through a system of easy and open access of information. In addition, we need to continue to work towards eliminating the homelessness of veterans, and also reducing the substantial backlog for critical benefits that all soldiers who have been injured protecting our freedom within a reasonable amount of time. It takes all of us to work together promoting veteran equality and preserving the rights of our veterans. They have fought so hard and sacrificed so much in order to protect our way of life and the freedoms that we enjoy.