Sunday, June 17, 2012

“Walk a mile in my shoes” Part III

The primary reason voiced by many of the veterans for not using the services provided was because they felt like a number. There are many barriers that prevent veterans from seeking services; I break this down to one thing “trust”. If the VA is dragging its feet to help a veteran than a level of trust has been compromised. In many circumstances a veteran finds it had to talk to advocates, doctors, or therapists because there is a level of trust that is hard to give up. The trust that they will not be judged or ridiculed for their actions or inactions and when a veteran finally opens up to talk about the problem the VA statistically does not immediately follow through with mental health services. This is seen as a breach of trust to the veteran because he is entrusting the system he defended to defend and help him. Many homeless veterans I spoke too suffered from depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders and some of the younger ones from Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) suffered from explosions in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The homeless veterans in Boise have been the focus of many organizations around the treasure valley. Deseret Industry a local company in Boise offer employment opportunities as well furniture and home essentials for those that find housing. Ed Cowley the resident manager at River of Life is full of success stories one of veteran whose love of fishing and intimate knowledge of the local fishing spots landed him a job as a consultant to the Fish and Game department.

Although the homeless veteran population is smaller than the larger homeless population I firmly believe that it is a part of our society that we should be focused on. Veterans have served our country by fighting its wars on foreign soils, spending many months away from loved one, many including myself sacrificing our families and marriages because of being deployed so long our family forgets who we are and the separation becomes unbearable. This immersion allowed me to be around veterans who made me feel proud because they are proud of their service. Their only shame was the situation they had found themselves in.

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