Veteran Support Network
The time of year is here when we take a moment to honor veterans and their loved ones for the service they gave to make this the land of the free. Whether you agree with many of the events going on in our country or not, we all have the right to speak our minds and pursue the life that we choose. The only downside to that is that not everyone will necessarily agree with our views.
Something that tends to get lost in this, I believe, is that those who go through some gosh awful experiences while serving this great country, continue to have a difficult time dealing with what the memories of what they saw and heard, or and in some cases, physical injuries they suffered. Their loved ones also feel that pain and have a hard time trying to help the veteran cope.
A lot of different groups, some good, some not so good, are trying to address the needs of veterans and their families. Other community groups would like to help but just are not sure of where to turn. Unfortunately, there is an ever increasing need for support, and the services available are overloaded. We are truly blessed to have the Veterans Home and the Veterans Service Office here in the Cameron area but as I mentioned, they are very busy. They serve a wide area (9 counties) of Northwest Missouri. There has got to be some alternatives. If you believe the government will fix this- well, I disagree. Maybe eventually, but until that happens, our veterans and their families need better support. In many cases, the services are already available, but again, they are overloaded.
For someone who is having an URGENT need for attention, waiting a couple of days to be seen by caregivers can seem like an eternity. Some problems just won’t wait. The results are found in domestic problems in the home, unacceptable Anger outburst at work, shoplifting, drug and alcohol use and, in some cases, they take their own lives. If it was normal to just wait a matter of a couple of days, that would be one thing. Unfortunately the norm is more likely to be weeks or months.
I am working to develop a “Veteran Support Network” in this area of Northwest Missouri that will be accessible 24/7. The mission is to make sure that the veteran, and their family, knows that someone does care and we will help them get the help they need and help them find resources to help them until the proper service is available. I have found it challenging trying to sort thru what is available and to find reliable sources of information. I am definitely not quite there yet. Another aspect of this is to identify the most urgent needs of our veterans who are struggling. What are some of the alternatives we can help provide for the veterans and their families? It is not right for the rest of us to just shake our heads and say “wow- that’s awful” and then go on with our lives while they struggle. I welcome input from any and all groups who would be interested in helping with this project. Our Veterans and their families shouldn’t have to wait for the government to get its act together. We need to help. If you have suggestions or would like to help, please contact me (Pat O’Connor) at 816-575-2568.