The transition from actively serving in the military to returning to civilian life as a veteran can be challenging.
Active duty provides a sense of consistency and stability by reinforcing routine, working as a team and operating under the motivation of a common goal. Returning home from service typically is a stark contrast.
Veterans struggle with how to continue to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They desire the same sense of purpose and community they have grown so accustomed to. When this shift in lifestyle occurs, some are not sure how to adjust.
Nearly 20 veterans die by suicide every day, which is a rate 1.5 times higher than a non-veteran. President Trump recently signed an executive order with the intent to address this problem and decrease veteran suicides, while creating stability through the implementation of a task force of state and local groups to raise awareness of the issue.
This recent development has allowed for the start of a conversation and an opportunity to reflect. It is time that we ask ourselves: How can we collectively help those who have dedicated their lives to help and serve us?
There are quite a few ways in which we can take action and work to support veterans in their transition back into civilian life. It all comes down to rediscovering and reinforcing a sense of purpose. This can be done by combating disconnection and isolation through building community.
Veterans have spent years of their lives putting others before themselves.
I have worked with the Veteran Golfers Association, a strong network of 4,000 veterans and their families who share a common interest. In over four years, the Veteran Golfers Association has not seen one case of suicide.
Communal spaces and physical activities such as this association provides help to bring veterans together, to build relationships and keep them active and connected.
This why it is so important to consider hiring a veteran. The transition into a new career is a common source of unease for veterans who are often unfairly discredited due to employer misconceptions.
Hiring a veteran is a mutually beneficial move for both employers and veterans. The employer gains a structured, motivated, team-oriented worker. The veterans find a new team, a new challenge and a new sense of purpose.
Every first Saturday of the month in Columbus, Ohio we host an event called Rally Point at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum. Most recently, we featured a discussion on navigating veteran’s benefits and employment resources.
By providing a platform for discussion, it becomes easier to find opportunity. Veterans find themselves able to network, to find jobs and activities that cater to individual strengths, and to connect with a group to help realize they are not experiencing this life transition alone.
There is strength in reaching out to others. Veterans are helpers and strong-willed winners. When they need to be reminded, remind them. When they are qualified for a position, hire them. When they need a space to connect with others, create it.
Veterans have spent years of their lives putting others before themselves. Each day in basic training, each deployment, each moment spent away from their own families has been a testament to how much they value the lives of everyone in this country.
Join us in showing how much we value veterans. The time to act is now.