It is always polite to give a good send off to people who have served the country by any means. Many people devote their lives to serve the country through different activities and occupations. The military is one of the jobs that prompt service men to dedicate their lives to the country (American Association for Justice, 2018). There are different branches of the military including the air force, the navy, regular police, and the marines. All these departments have the same goal to protect the country and ensure that the law is followed to the letter. When these servicemen reach the age of retiring, which is 55 to 60, there are several community programs laid for them to join so that they can then lead a normal life after the end of their careers. Military men and women undergo a lot of events in their career and they need good care after their career has ended.
Needs Represented in My Community
The community of Wilmington, NC has retired servicemen from the forces, and they are facing a number of challenges (“North Carolina State Veteran Benefits,” 2018). One of the challenges that veterans face is normal interaction with people. Men and women in the army are always ready for any outcomes or eventualities that may happen in the surrounding. On the other hand, there are some servicemen in the community who have physical disabilities. These disabilities occurred through injuries, that they received when they were serving their country. Some of the militaries suffer from head injuries through concussions. There is a problem of re-establishing family roles, which most ex-military men and women face. Military service men and women are separated from their families for most of the time, and when they retire, they find it hard to adjust to the family settings.
Retired military men who do not have jobs do not have resources to help them provide basic needs for their families. The main reason lies in the fact that at the military bases, most of the items are provided to the servicemen. In the community, they find it difficult to keep on providing their family with everything they need. Spouses of retired servicemen end up disappointed due to the expectations they have of these people regarding their involvement in the family. However, veterans might be involved in helping the community through professional services such as medical care and mechanical repairs.
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Biblical Mandates to Provide Service to Our Veterans
The church, as well as other religious institutions, have the Biblical mandate of guiding and counseling veterans. Past life of the veterans keeps interrupting their daily life. Events of killings and accidents change their lives, and they need other veterans who can understand them. The church has a Biblical mandate for building facilities where the veterans can meet and share their life experiences. With such kind of programs, the veterans can slowly fit in the community through re-adjusting. The church also has a role of preaching to veterans and especially on issues that the Bible directly relates to military experience. For example, the Bible in the book of Jeremiah 4:21 states, “How long must I see the battle flags and hear the trumpets of war?” This verse directly relates to veterans to leave their work and let others bear the duty of defending the country.
The church has the duty to find good therapists and clinicians who can visit the veterans in the community. Doctors and physicians can help with the cases of trauma and physical disabilities. Counseling is a good way of interacting with the veterans by giving them hope and helping them become optimistic about life (Friedman & Slone, 2009). The church can also involve veterans in church activities, such as sending them to seminary with other church members. Making them leaders on some positions in the church shows them that they are equally accepted in the community. Inclusivity brings a sense of responsibility to society and the veterans can view life from a different angle.
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Agencies that Meet the Needs of Veterans in Wilmington, North Carolina
There is a number of agencies that support veterans in Wilmington, North Carolina, and they are aiming at giving the best care. The goal of these organizations is to promote the transition of veterans from the military life to the normal life of civilians. One of the organizations in North Carolina that do the good work of reforming veterans is known as Veterans Helping Veterans heal. It is located in Winston-Salem (“Veterans Helping Veterans of America, Inc. – Home,” 2018). The organization is headed by veterans who welcome other militaries to join them. The experience of veteran founders in the organization helps the new veterans to adapt to the new environment of civilian population.
Carolina Veteran Support group Inc. is a non-profit organization in Wake County, North Carolina that helps veterans who are over 65 years old. The organization welcomes people of good will to come and socialize with the veterans (English, 2015). This community has about 100 members who are militaries and they meet on a daily basis to carry out activities like indoor sports. The veterans also engage in talks with medical officers who try to assess them to see if their military life adversely affects their aging. Other organization that has taken the initiative to care for veterans in North Carolina is known as Disabled American Veterans. It is located in Wentworth, and specializes in taking good care of disabled veterans. Disabled militaries need more psychological counseling than any other type of veterans. Physical disabilities in veterans make them emotional in the sense that they may feel betrayed by the country, which they served.
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American Legion is a faith-based organization in North Carolina that supports the veterans in the state (“The American Legion a U.S. Veterans Association,” 2018). The organization was an initiative of the church and Congress. The organization brings together veterans in the state so that they can share their experiences, but what most important, engage in activities like baseball. The American Legion is now a big foundation that has supported many veterans and it is well known in the country. Other faith-based veteran groups are the Volunteers of America Carolinas and the Christian Military Fellowship. The common aspect of all the organizations that help veterans is that they all focused on transforming veterans from their old way of life to a new one.
VA-based Services Provided
Veteran affairs are dedicated to provide help to veterans wherever they are. The state has a department that has the authority to attend to veteran affairs. One of the services provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs is a military directed care where a veteran can be visited from any location. The service is meant to show veterans that they are important members of the society, and they deserve good care for being brave servicemen. The VA-based services include education of veterans, pension, home loans, rehabilitation as well as life insurance among many other benefits.
The government has also gone out of its way to search for homeless veterans and give them shelter. It would be a big shame if servicemen who devoted their lives to serve the government live in miserable conditions. The state department of veteran affairs also holds memorials for veteran soldiers who passed away. The state department also gas the right to own facilities such as clinics so that veterans can have free medical checkups. To the disabled veterans, they receive a special type of care whereby the state is obliged to provide them with artificial parts of the body like the arm or leg, so that they can improve their mobility.
Non-VA Funded Programs that Work with Veterans
There are several non-governmental organizations, which work hand in hand with veterans to ensure they get necessary assistance. However, the government is not responsible for any of the activities that go on within the organizations. The associations get money from well-wishers and channel that money to military affairs. Some of these organizations are like the Department of labor for veterans (DOL-VET) and SAMHSA homelessness Resource Centre (“Homeless Veterans: Non-VA Resources for Assistance,” n.d.). They all have the goal to help veterans.
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Gaps within the Community where Needs of Veterans Are Not Being Met
There are numerous gaps within the community concerning care for the veterans, which have been barely addressed. One of the issues is community education on how to treat new veterans in society. Instead of welcoming a new veteran in town, most people have high expectations from the new military, which ends up with disappointments (Savino & Krannich, 2012). Community education is very important, since it changes the dimension in which community members view veterans. Some community members view militaries as bad people who were involved in killings and other rude acts during wars as tales are told. Community education is important as it shows them that veterans are equally important and should be highly regarded in society.
The community should have work places for veterans so that they can earn money to support their families. This is a big gap in the community because veterans struggle a lot to put their lives together in the course of finding a job. It is job of community organizations to come up with a department, which offers jobs to veterans when they are retired. By having jobs, veterans will have additional purpose of their life and will be family providers, and this also gives them a sense of belonging to the community.
Homelessness is another gap in the community in relation to veterans. Most military men and women live in barracks and, after many years of service, they are required to leave the facilities so that they can join their families. Some servicemen in the military are unlucky to not have families, and when they retire they end up homeless. The community should take the responsibility for the building of at least two homes that will accommodate the homeless veterans so that they can feel wanted by the community. According to a conducted survey, it can be seen that one third of homeless people in society are veterans. These people should be treated like heroes, and the community has a mandate of sheltering them temporarily before they report the issue to the state department of veteran affairs. It would be unfair to a citizen to dedicate his life serving his country, and at the end, he is rendered homeless.
There is an increased number of cases of veterans committing suicide. This is a gap in society that has been left without attention. Suicides are mostly caused by the depression. Depression among veterans is common thing due to past experiences that led to trauma or regret (Venter, 2014). Some military men are involved in rigorous trainings, and then they are sent to the gruesome missions, leading to great losses in the battle. Such memories may bring regrets and, at the end, the veteran will commit suicide. More mental health hospitals should be built to cater for each veteran to ensure that they are fit into society. There are cases of ex-military men and women harming their families after a small disagreement (Stelnicki & Schwartz, 2016). This issue shows that there is a need for assessment of every veteran by a local psychiatrist who will then determine if the veteran is fit to mingle with others. The mental conditions of veterans have caused more harm in society, and usually the result is death.
The other gap in the community that relates to veterans is lack of mentors who would help new veterans in society. For example, in North Carolina, there are veterans who have been in the community for more than 10 years (O’Toole & Pape, 2015). They might be the best people to guide new veterans. Unfortunately, this process of sharing experience has not happened and that is why we have many cases of veterans being diagnosed with depression (Keeling, 2018). The lack of mentorship among new veterans leads to occurring of loneliness and depression. This gap should be filled through creating mentor groups for militaries so that they can guide and help the new veterans to adapt and transform to better people in society.
One of the actions that can be taken in order to improve veteran lives is having more mentors to talk to veterans through state programs. I also noted that in North Carolina alone, there are very few centers that take care of veterans, and they are not capable of holding the current number of veterans in this state. The other suggestion to improve the lives of veterans is for the government to set up an organization that will employ veterans so that they can be able to cater to their financial needs. There is a need for the state to give financial upkeep to veterans who have physical disabilities, as they cannot do much to sustain themselves as well as their families.
Veterans who were once soldiers have to be regarded highly for their good work. The government needs to make a good follow-up on the retired soldiers and take them to mentorship facilities for about a month so that they can mingle well with people in society. The Veteran Affairs Department in the state should look for jobs for veterans so that they can be able to support their families financially. The state and the community should also set special programs that veterans who have physical disabilities can attend. Mental hospitals are also necessary to keep in check veterans who may have faced trauma and head concussions. With such programs in place, veterans will have better conditions and life in general.