NJ vets and families facing isolation, PTSD – read this

We thank them for their service, but returning veterans need more

Lt. Col. Robert Vicci is the CEO of vetREST, which, according to their website, “helps vets meet their challenges in order to find peace after their hidden battles.”

“Veech” has been a friend of mine since the days he came to Catch A Rising Star between deployments to Iraq. Now he spends his days on the phone or in public researching jobs for veterans, bringing vets back to the workplace, and creating places where vets can work, earn a living, and contribute to society.

I asked Veech about some of the things veterans face today.

What are the biggest issues we see with NJ veterans as we overcome the pandemic?

“Isolation, separation from family and friends, and limited access to medical care have diminished the spirit and health of our veteran population. We still see a high suicide rate, as well as unemployment rates. Our female veterans are experiencing more homelessness. / Unemployment crises.

“Plus, many charities have seen donations decline across the board, so many of us are handcuffed by the lack of available funds and the quality of help we can offer our veterans. Many of us spend countless hours on the phone with our vets, doing the best we can to keep them safe.

“I have seen several articles about the possibility of VA facilities stopping treating unvaccinated veterans. It would be a total disaster. All will lose faith in the one system designed to serve our population of sick veterans. Lost, it won’t come back. maybe never It would be devastating for the Veterans and their families.

What advice would you give them?

“Stay in the fight… never give up, seek help, call SOMEONE… call me, call the VA hotline, call VetREST or any veteran-focused charity they can find. something is better than doing nothing. We see it all the time. By the time some veterans come to me, they’re at the bottom of the hole. It takes a huge effort to get them out and get them back to good health. world needs a “fight buddy.” Find yours. “

What advice would you give to a family member of a veteran struggling with PTSD?

“Contact us at www.VetREST.org or any other agency you know within our community. There are many that help, but we’ll point you in the right direction. There are many treatment programs within the VA, and many more that are funded by the private sector. The most important thing to do is GET HELP, don’t wait, the sooner you react the better. “

“We are also working with Citizen Soldier Law to help veterans upgrade their discharge from Other Than Honorable (OTH) to at least one General (under honorable) or honorable. So many soldiers are discharged after multiple rounds of combat with negative discharge reasons for This greatly affects their ability to seek help from the VA. And now, due to the vaccination warrant, the military will also discharge soldiers with an OTH discharge. This is a crisis. “

How has the political divide we are going through across the country affect younger and older veterans?

“A very touchy subject here, Steve, but with the surrender of Afghanistan and leaving behind billions of dollars of our military equipment has had a huge impact on our veteran population.

“I survived my combat tour in Iraq thanks to the sophistication of our night vision systems, and now we have handed it over to the enemy. lack of confidence in our government and military leaders, but the lingering effects of COVID have added fuel to the fire.

“If the VA stops treating unvaccinated veterans, there will be chaos in the ranks. Many older veterans do not go to the VA at all, and this is devastating to their health and that of their families.

“I am also a mentor to many young people, not only those who wish to attend a service academy, but also those who simply want to serve. A large majority of our young people today are reluctant to join the military these days. The awakened agenda cripples recruiting, from my perspective.

“And now the compulsory vaccines for the military are causing a lot of disarray. I have many friends, men and women with whom I have served in the past, who will be laid off from their military jobs (either on active duty or as a contractor) within a month. I know of several flight instructors who are not vaccinated and will not submit to a mandatory vaccination policy, who will no longer be employed by Christmas. I think the effects to Both short and long term this situation will be devastating to our military readiness and readiness. “

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. All opinions expressed are those of Steve. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday through Thursday 7pm to 11pm. Follow him on twitter @realstevetrev.

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