Every year around Memorial Day when our country salutes its armed forces, I think about the unfortunate struggles that many war veterans face upon returning from duty. Especially with the recent economic downturn, veterans in need of assistance are in a more precarious position than before.
Recently, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and state lawmakers cut funding by 25 percent for groups that help war veterans get through the paperwork and bureaucracy when applying for federal disability and pension benefits. The budget cuts are forcing these organizations to eliminate jobs. The same situation is occurring in other states including Ohio, Illinois and South Carolina.
Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we bestow the utmost respect for all nation’s war heroes, and especially those who seek our services. The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology reports that 33 percent of returning soldiers, marines and their families are likely to have significant bouts with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. Twenty percent will suffer from traumatic brain injuries. These psychological problems can often lead to substance abuse and homelessness.
Service organizations like ours are greatly needed to help returning war veterans get medical care, benefits, and other assistance. DRMM’s Veterans Independence Project provides transitional housing, job training, social and medical services, and educational programs to homeless men and women who have served our country. The Detroit field office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is our partner in these efforts to reintegrate the veterans into society.
We salute our brave men and women of the U.S. military!