It’s no secret that veterans often face a multitude of challenges when they come home, from physical or mental injury, to difficulty receiving benefits from the Veterans Administration. There are over 21 million military veterans living in the United States today, but who is looking out for them now that they’ve returned from active duty abroad?
1. Wounded Warrior Project
Many soldiers who come home are faced with challenges like physical or mental injury and illness — in addition to adjusting to society. The Wounded Warrior Project is on a mission to honor and empower American wounded soldiers by understanding that each recovery process is different.
Founded in 2003, following the events of September 11, 2001, the Jacksonville-based organization has served 100,000 veterans and provided $96 million in benefit entitlements. They offer a range of unique programs directed at providing the services they need for their minds, bodies, economic empowerment, and engagement.
2. K9s for Warriors
For many veterans, the wounds they received in battle are not visible. They can include post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injury, and even sexual trauma. One of the largest problems facing veterans as a result of military service post-9/11 has been the ability to return to a civilian life with dignity and independence.
The K9s for Warriors program helps pair these veterans with a service animal that can provide them with constant care and support. What’s more, 95 percent of the program’s dogs are rescue and shelter dogs, so the support goes both ways.
3. The Bob Woodruff Foundation
Each veteran who returns home is starting a new chapter in his or her life, and setting and achieving new goals on the home front. For the 2.8 million troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recovery process is not just about overcoming physical trauma, it’s also enabling them to achieve their dreams.
The Bob Woodruff Foundation helps service men and women thrive at home by overcoming whatever unique obstacles are preventing them from fulfilling their potential. They network with over 46,000 other nonprofits to help find, fund, and influence potential solutions for quality of life, rehabilitation and recovery, education, and employment.
4. Catch a Lift
Coming home to a sedentary life after serving on the ground is often a big adjustment for veterans, regardless of whether or not they have injuries. Catch a Lift provides veterans with gym memberships, home gym equipment, and tailored support and fitness tracking so they can recover and stay healthy, every day.
They’ve now helped over 1,600 veterans work towards their wellness goals, whether it’s recovering from an injury, losing weight, or just increasing their overall feelings of wellness.
5. Blinded Veterans Association
Regardless of how or when they lost their sight, the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) makes life better for visually impaired veterans. They were founded in the 1940s, with a focus on medical rehabilitation, because blind veterans were often unable to access the Veteran Administration resources they had available to them. Today, the BVA is the first place many blind veterans turn to for information on VA benefits, services, and other local resources that will help them stay active in their community.
What’s more, the organization advocates for blind veteran needs before the legislative and executive branches of government.