My grandfather was an United States Navy Lieutenant Commander in the Pacific during World War II. One of my best friends, Army 82nd Airborne during OEF/OIF.
I can't imagine signing over my life to the unknown, and deeply respect their devotion to our Nation.
I've worked with veterans at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs as a volunteer and intern. I spent three years working at DMH's Veterans and Loved Ones Recovery (VALOR) program helping VA healthcare eligible and ineligible move forward in their lives. In my full-time position, I am still helping veterans link and engage with the VA.
This weekend is a reminder to me to celebrate their discipline, commitment and experiences. They deserve better.
Here's a portion of a piece I wrote a few years ago:
"Many homeless veterans have been through a great deal. Despite the adversity, they continue to demonstrate remarkable agility. I have seen them survive on jetties in Long Beach, in the iceplant on the sides of our freeways, and other areas not meant for human habitation. The odds of success are clearly stacked against them. Yet, after developing a trusting relationship with homeless veterans, I have seen them become more open to changing their lives. In fact, I have seen some of the most hopeless thrive once housed. To me, it is another reminder of our human potentiality. As a wise instructor once told me, “Your view of your clients as being either weak or strong is often a reflection of how you look upon yourself ... choose strength.”
Mental Health and Therapy Writer. As featured on Huffington Post, Vox Media and elsewhere.