Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Help veterans through Survivor Corps

By Carol Gee

Returning soldier with his family

November 11, 2008: The headline read, "Bush marks Veterans' Day on carrier," according to The Washington Post. But much remains to be done.

Our troops still need our help. As a follow-up to Veterans' Day, you can help through an organization called Survivor Corps, an outgrowth of the landmine survivor movement. (Operation Survivor is Survivor Corps' program for U.S. veterans and service members.) It was founded in 1997 by Jerry White, who lost his leg to a landmine in the Middle East conflict in 1984, and Ken Rutherford, a political scientist at Missouri State who lost both legs in a landmine accident in Somalia in 1993. Princess Diana was connected to the organization, and Queen Noor of Jordan is currently on its board. Funding comes from private grants, international donors, individuals, and "U.S. public funding." Of the total budget, its "program" outlays are 81%, with development at 10% and administration at 9% -- an acceptable ratio, according to my social work training.

What strikes me about this is the fact that the organization has taken on the cause of reintegrating U.S. soldiers back into the community through peer support work. That is so very needed. But what in the heck is our own government doing? It makes us look like a third-world cause. Which I guess we are, when it comes to REALLY taking care of our wounded warriors. Sorry for the rant.

This is what the organization says about the effort:

Within the United States there are over one and a half million service members that have served in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over thirty thousand have been physically wounded, but many more have experienced less visible, psychological wounds. Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have emerged as signature injuries of these conflicts, with recent reports suggesting an increase in rates of suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, homelessness, and domestic violence among returning service members and veterans.

These traumatic affects of conflict, left unaddressed, could have far-reaching negative consequences for the individuals affected, their families, and our country. Survivor Corps’ work in some of the most conflict affected countries in the world has shown community reintegration to be the key factor in those that overcome their traumatic experiences, and those that are consumed by them.


Click Here to read more about Operation Survivor

Donate Today to Help Our Returning Troops! Donate Now! Survivor Corps

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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