With the war in Iraq officially ended and the troops coming home, the challenges faced by these returning troops demands our attention and response. In Georgia the Rev. Robert Certain (Fifth Rector of St. Margaret’s), men from the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, and a couple of parishioners organized an effort to meet the needs of returning veterans and their families. CareForTheTroops is a catalyst for action in Georgia and provides care. Moreover, CareForTheTroops provides a model for other faith-based and community efforts to increase awareness of the challenges faced by returning veterans and their families and provides a model for reaching out to those who have served us well. ~dan rondeau
Dedicated to the mental health care of our returning troops and their families, we provide information and training to families, clinicians, congregation and community leaders, so that they become more aware of the culture, unique symptoms and issues faced by military families. (CareForTheTroops Home Page)
- Work to improve the ability of the civilian mental health infrastructure in the State of Georgia, then nationally, to work with military family members
- Facilitate connecting military families to providers of spiritual and psychological services familiar with the military culture and trauma
- Focus on addressing combat stress recovery as well as other spiritual and mental health related problems impacting the marriages and families of military veterans
- Educate and train clinicians, congregation and community leaders, extended family, and civilian groups about the military culture and trauma associated with military deployments in order to better assess and treat mental health symptoms, and provide more effective referrals and care Provide opportunities for additional trauma treatment training to clinicians
- Operate in an interfaith, non-political manner, focusing on the humanitarian interest that benefits the veterans and their extended family members
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Wounded Veterans Struggle To Find Civilian Jobs Amid Downturn, Bureaucracy
Adam Lewis, a strapping Florida man, joined the Marines in 2004 when he was 19, and within a year he was fighting in Iraq’s Anbar Province with Golf Company, 2nd Marine Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. It was a bloody time in Anbar, with vicious and sometimes hand-to-hand combat with insurgents. Lewis kept busy.
He was first wounded in August 2005 by a bomb blast that perforated an eardrum and left him with ringing in his ears and other injuries. He wasn’t hurt badly enough to be sent home, so he went back on duty and was traveling in a Humvee when the road gave way and he tumbled down an embankment, suffering compression fractures in his back. The Marines put him on light duty until he felt better, and he went back out into the fight.
This time, during operations in Fallujah, Lewis was shot in the head by a sniper. Luckily he had just turned his head and the bullet struck his skull at an angle, but the wound was still severe. After surgery came more than two years of rehab, culminating with his retirement from the Marine Corps on medical grounds in 2007.
To help himself land a god job and a career, Lewis took remedial reading courses to help repair the damage from his head wound, and went on to college. It took him three years to earn his associate degree. He got married and has a two-year-old daughter. This past summer he began seriously looking for work.
So far, no luck.
Having given so much for his country, Adam Lewis, at 26, has been without meaningful employment for four years, and is frustrated and angry after four months of intense job hunting.
Read the rest of Adam’s story to see why organizations like CareForTheTroops will be needed for a long time to come
Other stories to raise awareness
- Homecoming: Finding the way home from trauma and war (This Emotional Life by PBS no date)
- Why some US troops are dreading end of Iraq mission (Christian Science Monitor 12/12/11)
- Wounded warriors find healing community on wheels (Huffington Post 9/15/11)
Photo: Huffington Post article of 11/11/11