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  • Veterans Should Be Seen As National Assets

    Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team members (L-R) Josh Wege, Matt Kinsey, and Todd Reed pose on a parade platform during a Memorial Day Parade in Binghamton, New York May 28, 2012. (Photo: Reuters/Newscom)

    Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team members (L-R) Josh Wege, Matt Kinsey, and Todd Reed pose on a parade platform during a Memorial Day Parade in Binghamton, New York May 28, 2012. (Photo: Reuters/Newscom)

    The unique needs of the post-9/11 generation of veterans require the commitment of individuals, groups, and strategies to provide our veterans with the best help possible. Different veterans need different kinds of help. Some have serious physical injuries; others have psychological wounds. Some have post-traumatic stress disorder; others have traumatic brain injuries. Some families have been destabilized through one member’s military service.

    Recently a panel of veterans and philanthropists at Heritage’s event, “Serving Those Who Served,” was gathered to highlight the contribution of its namesake book, a guide for reaching veterans and their families, what they need most, and how to best deliver assistance.

    The panel featured the author of the book, Thomas Meyer, and the heads of two different organizations: Devin Holmes from Warrior Gateway and Pete Hegseth from Concerned Veterans for America.

    The core of the book (and of Meyer’s remarks) is the uniqueness of the post-9/11 generation of veterans. The World War II generation is seen through the prism of heroism, while the Vietnam generation is seen through the prism of brokenness. The current generation of veterans requires both experiences to be adapted to their unique situation.

    The focus of Warrior Gateway is in localizing donation efforts to veterans in order to personalize the contact between donors and recipients. Holmes stressed the importance of finding local charities and getting involved at the local level. Localizing the effort builds personal connections, which reinforces the community and helps ease the transition of veterans from military to civilian life.

    Concerned Veterans for America enables veterans to continue to serve the country defending at home the freedom that they fought for abroad. Hegseth highlighted the importance of staying engaged with a cause when transitioning out of active duty. While serving, the focus is on the mission and the country, elements that tend to get lost in the transition back to the civilian world. Concerned Veterans for America brings back the military mission focus to ease their transition.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs is no longer the sole answer for how to help veterans. There is a sea of goodwill out there, and Serving Those Who Served is a great guide to understand it.

    Fred Ferreira is a policy analyst with Concerned Veterans for America.

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