There are 8.2 million Vietnam era veterans and over 2.3 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan era. But no one ever talks about what life is like for veterans after they come home and the parades and celebrations are over. The hard facts of war mean that many suffer from some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder. The effects of war don’t end once veterans are home in their living rooms.
Over 50% of military personnel do not seek any type of service from the VA and all the outstanding nonprofits servicing Veterans. They aren’t given a guide on how to readjust, what to do, where to go, or who to trust. Veterans leave a high-adrenaline, structured, group-centered life and come home to a life that is slower and unstructured and are unaware or unable to find the support needed. They leave a life filled with purpose and come home to no purpose. They leave a life where they were relied on by many and felt powerful and come home to being relied on by no one and feeling invisible and powerless. Over 22% of veterans commit suicide because of this struggle to transition from service to civilian life.
Veterans R&R strives to be a strong support system for veterans by:
- getting them out of the house. When you feel as if you are alone, it is often easier to stay that way—alone at home. Offering fun events once a month gets veterans off the couch and into a safe social setting.
- giving them a formed, safe group of members who understand each other. Veterans have a shared language, a shared experience, and a shared set of challenges in everyday life. Talking to someone who “gets” you right away is the ultimate release and relief.
- giving them a purpose. Everyone needs a reason to get up in the morning. Our members are asked to participate in three events per year. Volunteering gives veterans a goal and a purpose that might be missing.
- bridging the gap from service to civilian life. Whether a veteran has been home for weeks or years, taking steps to handle the transition is necessary. We offer veterans at any stage of return to civilian life the resources they need to make a healthy, positive transition.
The best way to help this group is to give them a chance to help others who have shared the same experiences. By hosting events where veterans talk to other veterans, men and women who haven’t sought out help are more likely to recognize a need for it and to take the steps to get it. Veterans R&R is set up to come full circle—give a veteran a chance to help others, and in that process they help themselves. At the least, Veterans R&R offers veterans laid back, fun events where they can talk to other veterans. At the most, Veterans R&R gives veterans a safe place to call home where veterans can help others while helping themselves in return.
We can and should help these men and women who have served this country. Veterans R&R offers them the release and relief they need:
- release from hiding out at home alone
- relief from worrying about what’s next
- release from feeling alone
- relief from wondering who to trust
We rely on veterans to keep our country safe and free. Veterans R&R relies on veterans and veteran supporters to give these men and women a place to go, a group to be a part of, and an outlet for the release and relief they deserve.