Life in the military revolves around your unit. If you’re married, then that tight circle expands a slight bit.
But when you transition out of the military, you’re all of the sudden alone. That’s what happened to me here in Orlando many years back.
One week, you’re surrounded by your “battle buddies” and thousands of other soldiers on an installation who are drilled into functioning as a team, and moving towards victory together.
The next week you’re solo. Yes, you may transition out to your family and friends, but it’s not the same. They’ve been civilians all along. They have a different schedule and lifestyle and they’re not always ready to hang out, when you’re ready to.
It makes no sense that you’re immersed immediately in a team environment when in-processing into the system, and then you’re completely alone during that equally important time when you’re transitioning out.
It makes for a very lonely life for our veterans. And loneliness leads to a whole list of bad things. These are factors that have made Florida one of the worst states in the country for veterans suicides (story HERE).
Orlando, and really, all of the major communities around the state, need locations where veterans can be around other veterans when they’re getting readjusted to civilian life.
Yes. I know about the VFW and The American Legion. I’ve been members at both. There are good people at both. But funding is often strained at those organizations, limiting their outreach.
We need a hub that will propel veterans during the transition process and will allow them, as a team, to succeed in that process together.
You’ll find that if we can do this, you’ll see many problems tied to veterans affairs reduced. Less homelessness. Less suicides. More veterans finishing their degree programs.
We just have to allow them access to the same environment that we trained them to succeed in.