Posted on Nov 17, 2015
CPT Multifunctional Logistician
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As I began my journey from SM to V, I began to focus more keenly on the issues Veterans face. While in the military, I felt invincible, not because I was, but because of the safety net of programs and support from my fellow Soldiers. Now that I am out here in the great big world, I began to have questions:
Am I all alone?
Is everything I did in the military for nothing?
Are the injuries (mental and physical) going to be taken care of by the VA because our country values my sacrifice?
Will I ever do anything, now that I am a civilian, that means anything?
Will I ever have friends like the ones I had in the military?
Will I struggle to find job security and steadily provide for my family like I did when I served?

These questions were the beginning of an avalanche of questions that came pouring down over me. And I wanted to hide at first. I wanted to go hike the Appalachian Trail and forget about the questions I didn't have answers to.

Then I started to reach out. I remembered that, back in 2003, when I decided to deploy with my unit instead of staying on Rear-Detachment to wait for my OCS start date, and my fourth child was born without me there, I felt this same heavy weight. Like, maybe I made a really bad decision. One that couldn't be rectified. One that was so painful, that I wasn't sure I could bear it. It was the onset of depression. But, just like in 2003, I reached out. I had a support system that didn't just give lip service to "If you ever need anything..." and they lifted me up. They pulled me through and wouldn't let me quit.

So, where was I going to find that here, in Greenville, SC, where I don't know anyone. At the VFW? Maybe... I tried. The connection just wasn't there. MOAA? Great organization, but, still not the right group. Maybe some counseling at the VA? Well, we won't go there.

So, what....was...I...going...to....DO? The thought of walking in the door of some Non-profit organization seemed almost as if I was a headcase. A number. Even if they were the best at what they did and they were able to relate, there was still a 'client-patient' feel. They weren't my buddies, who I could laugh and cry with.

So.... I started thinking, maybe there are other Veterans out there like me. Lacking purpose. Feeling alone. Needing the camaraderie and advice that can only come from someone that...well...just knows. And the Upstate Veteran Business Network was birthed.

So, why a "Business Network"? Well, in a society of networks that connect people that have something in common, or speed networking, or "Pay hundreds of dollars to use our system" networks, I wanted to create something different. Business relationships are important and can be leveraged to do more than just help people find a job or land a sale. They can help people realize their purpose. They can be an important part of who you are. This type of network (probably) wouldn't work with civilians. The idea that we can be brothers/sisters and work together in a team isn't as deeply implanted in them as it is in us. We have unique experiences that allow us to put together the core of this network that will, without a doubt, change lives by connecting them to a network that deeply cares about their personal and professional success and helps them find their purpose again.

What are your thoughts on ways to stop Veterans Suicide? I would love to hear them.
Posted in these groups: Networking logo NetworkingB4caadf8 Suicide
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CPT Military Police
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Edited 6 y ago
CPT (Join to see) I really like your post. I think a lot of service members share your feelings and fears. I've had the experience of being asked to help former service members who were disassociating, I searched here for ideas and information from members for a way to help. I found there is a lot of knowledge out there and networks are available. To me it seemed the major problem was that there is no order or one place from which to gather this information. We do need a centralized location for making these resources more useful and finder friendly. Maybe some of the other RP members would like to put a word in here too: COL Mikel J. Burroughs SGT Scott Gross SGT John Dupree 1SG (Join to see) LTC John Shaw CPT Bruce Rodgers @Izzy Abbas SMSgt Dr. G. A. Thomas GySgt John Olson LTC Kevin Broom, PhD CW4 (Join to see) MSG Robert Mills SSG Warren Swan SSG James J. Palmer IV aka "JP4" SFC James Sczymanski MSG Xavier James SFC Mark Merino 1SG (Join to see) Col (Join to see)
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CPT Multifunctional Logistician
CPT (Join to see)
6 y
Thank you for your comments and support. I know NC and SC are implementing a system that serves as a hub to track progress and need for veterans so they don't fall through the cracks or get passed off from one organization to the next.
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SMSgt Dr. G. A. Thomas
SMSgt Dr. G. A. Thomas
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CPT (Join to see) You're correct! There isn't one place to get this information and it's really not easily accessible. The hotline tells the member to call 911 or emergency but if the member calls a phone number, someone should be ready to intervene instead of passing the buck or requiring the member to make an additional call. I'm sure the person feels helpless at that time and making another call, in their opinion, will lead nowhere. Our veterans need to know that we care and that there are agencies and people ready and willing to help them.
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MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
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Veterans at risk need an understanding family, mentor, effective therapy, someone who can instill hope into the veteran. Hope is a drug that we all need to continue fighting the good fight.
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CPT Multifunctional Logistician
CPT (Join to see)
6 y
I agree. How do we foster that network of supporters and empower them to help us so we can stay on the sunny side of hope as much as possible?
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MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
MAJ (Join to see)
6 y
My approach is to find targets of opportunity like my neighbors, here, chat, in the VA hospital. It sounds like you want a more deliberate plan. Where are the concentrations of Veterans with PTSD? Also, the dark clouds of retirement or ETS for PTSD folks can be or should be addressed. Good luck.
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MSG Robert Mills
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I'm in your area Sir we should perhaps conduct a link-up operation. Every question you listed I've asked myself, and a few more questions as well. As far as you not knowing anyone, well that is a easy fix, I'm retired and have plenty of free time. Veterans Suicide is a tricky problem these days for sure. Sometimes its an unavoidable consequence of a combination of issues that tend to "kitchen sink" themselves on people all at once. Ideas are plenty these days, and dangers are very real with this issue. Some ideas that are canned will not work on some people, as every soldier is not the same, and you have to assess each person to the capabilities they have or do not have, its a very hard thing to measure how to stop this problem. Some things just do not work no matter what, but many do as well. Soldiers are cagey by nature for more than one reason, easy to get to know, and many time easy to predict in 90% of cases, however there is always that 10% lol.
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