As we approach Labor Day, it is important to recognize that many of our service members are transitioning out of the military and into new civilian careers. Today, our president, Robin Kelleher, e-mailed a letter highlighting the importance of our program work in supporting veterans' employment.
If you missed this letter and be sure to sign up for our eNews.
In recognition of Labor Day, I want to share a story of success and awareness about the challenges facing veterans entering the work force.
Matt was struggling with post-traumatic stress (PTSD) after serving in combat as a member of the National Guard. Feeling misunderstood and out of place with his own family, he left, determined to solve his problems alone or die in the process. With his former home state of Indiana behind him, he roamed more than 1,000 miles southwest, until he reached New Mexico. He had no home, no money, and no hope.
“I’m going to get help or die, and I don’t care what comes first.”
Fortunately, he reached out to Derek, a friend and fellow veteran for help. Matt shared that he was prepared to die, but was reaching out to his friend for help. Derek called Hope For The Warriors® team member, Amber Johnson. As a Critical Care Coordinator, Amber assists veterans daily with physical and mental health needs. Through her years of experience, Amber has developed strong relationships with VA staff members and advocates for the needs of our service members.
Less than 48 hours later, Hope For The Warriors® had identified and secured a place for Matt in an inpatient program for veterans with PTSD, purchased a plane ticket, and through staff and volunteers, Matt was getting the help he needed.
That was more than a year ago. Matt is still in the inpatient facility but has enrolled in college and is working towards his new career goals. He has also reconnected with his family. Today, he has hope.
The headlines tell us that the unemployment rate for veterans outpaces the national average. My e-mail inbox is flooded with invitations to veteran employment symposiums, conferences, and career fairs. Almost daily I hear advertisements on the radio. And yet, the unemployment rate remains higher for veterans than for non-veterans.
Hope For The Warriors® recognizes that in order to address the employment needs of veterans, it is imperative that we address their physical and psychological wellness first. Our four program pillars provide a full cycle of care, working together to address the needs of the entire military family. Yes, we have a Career Transition & Education program but for Matt and thousands of other veterans, a job offer is not enough. They first need support in their physical and psychological recovery. First, they must have hope.
Please join us in our mission to restore self, family, and hope to each of our service members, veterans, and military families. DonateToday.