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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pastorgraphs: “VETS”

E-Vangel Newsletter
May 29, 2012

Pastorgraphs: “VETS”

Against the backdrop of Memorial Day, it is perfect timing to welcome the newest member of the Christ Ministry Center family: VETS. I know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day; but wouldn’t it be nice if we “remembered” our service men and women while they are still with us!

Veterans Experiencing Transitional Success (VETS) is a non-profit organization designed to help military veterans make a successful transition from military to civilian life.  Mr. Tony Holston and Ms. Melody Ibarra founded VETS to help veterans with life skills, vocational training, promoting employment, fighting homelessness,  and dealing with the social issues that accompany reentering civilian life.

With 100,000 service men and women coming home from Afghanistan in the next two years, the need could not be greater. Plus, there are so many veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq who still need support.

I did my own research (www.care2.com) and found the following facts facing today’s Veterans:

“Veteran unemployment is nearly twice the national average. Young Veterans who joined the military after high school and went off to war are at a disadvantage when competing for civilian jobs with peers who didn’t serve.  Vets often don’t have easily translatable civilian skills, nor do they have the network of civilian business and social contacts that other young people have. Unless they apply with companies who place a priority on hiring Veterans, they are in a tough spot competing with other job seekers. 

One out of every three Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans suffers from PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or a combination of the two due to combat trauma. Upon returning home, our troops are not receiving proper medical and psychological evaluation or counseling. It’s up to them to seek the help they need and often this help is not easy to find or to access. 

There is a backlog of 1.2 million claims at the Veterans Administration.  The VA application process remains complicated and adversarial. Veterans are not automatically enrolled in the VA, as many people think, when they finish their military service. They need help finding VA facilities, completing complicated applications, managing the application process and appealing rejected claims. Many Veterans who are disabled and unable to work due to war trauma are waiting months and years for benefits they were promised and have earned. This results in many Vets with significant financial problems that can end up homeless or worse.

A third of all homeless citizens in America are Veterans. Due to many of the factors discussed here, Veterans with distinguished, even heroic, military records are ending up living on the streets. Because of untreated PTSD or TBI and self-medication with drugs and alcohol, many Veterans are finding themselves in conflict with the criminal justice system. Special Veterans Courts are the appropriate response to these problems. These courts take into consideration a Vet’s military service and the war experiences and lack of readjustment services that cause them to engage in anti-social behaviors.  Veterans’ courts focus on treatment and rehabilitation rather than jail time.  Unfortunately, only a handful of these courts exist in the U.S.”

There are few things on which almost everyone agrees today; but honoring and serving our veterans is one common issue that unites us all.

Please pray for VETS as they gear up to meet these important needs of those who put their lives on the line for our freedoms. You may learn more about VETS at their website: www.transition4vets.org .

Welcome VETS to Christ Ministry Center!

Bless you, each and every one, Brother Bill

From the Quote Garden
“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”
~José Narosky

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205

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