SERVING OUR VETERANS: The ‘unsuccessful’ veteran
A reminder to all veterans, The Service Dogs For America in Jud, N.D. has several service dogs ready for placement. Through legislation and fundraising efforts, there are several grants available for North Dakota veterans with PTSD. This results in there being no cost to the veterans (approximately a $25,000 value). The dogs trained at Jud take about two years to train and are nationally accredited service animals. Although these are not therapy animals, they do provide a unique specialized service. The service dogs placed with veterans have greatly improved their lives. Application and information can be found by googling “Service Dogs For America.” I am encouraging those in need to apply.
As mentioned above, PTSD is, and always has been, a sad issue many of our veterans have to suffer from due to the very difficult situations they had to endure during combat conditions. Not only have many of our veterans suffered from these mental and emotional scars, many have also returned with physical disabilities. Many suffer from both. Either way, their return back into society has been very difficult. Many would say “unsuccessful.” Every day we hear of veterans who suffer from PTSD, and those who are homeless, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and other problems leading to negative consequences in their lives. Sadly, we even hear of veterans who have engaged in violent crimes and other acts of horror. Many of these are honorably discharged veterans, some are not. Many veterans may not have suffered as those already mentioned but, they still struggle to find permanent employment, financial security, and joy in their marriage and family life. I was in the military long enough to realize all who volunteered to serve did not become model soldiers or model citizens.
So the question I often ask myself, and one that I ask of you, is how should we deal with these veterans who have been “unsuccessful” in their transition back into our civilian world? I feel the first step is to remember that at one point in their life they voluntarily raised their right hand and took an oath to defend and preserve our liberties and freedoms which we often take for granted. They did this for us. Unfortunately for some, their lives were impacted by events beyond their control, resulting in lasting physical and emotional damage. We need to have compassion and genuine concern for them. Let us not turn our backs on them and forget them. Let us reach out to try and help them anyway we can. Let us do our best to not leave any veteran behind. During this Christmas season, when we are expressing our hope for “peace on earth and good will toward men,” let us include these veterans as well.
Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.
Montonye’s office hours at the Pierce County Courthouse are Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
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