There are currently 17.42 million veterans living in America today. These heroes dedicated their services in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Gulf War, leaving home and giving up the comforts of stability, family, and guaranteed safety to ensure that America remains a stable and safe place for individuals and families to call home, yet upon returning home themselves, our nation’s veterans have had to face immense hardships. About 40,000 veterans are without shelter in the U.S. on any given night; some of the leading causes of veteran homelessness include PTSD, social isolation, unemployment, and substance abuse. This is why programs such as the Porter County Veteran’s Treatment Court (PVTC), Folds of Honor, Southshore Friends of Veterans, and Disabled American Veterans designed to support our nation’s veterans are so important for our community. This reflection details my research into each one of these Northwest Indiana organizations. In this account, I illustrate the impact of dozens of one-on-one interviews with the heroes running these programs, and veterans a part of these programs themselves. A special focus is placed on the results of the Purdue University Service-Learning grant received on behalf of the PVTC within that treatment community. During interviews, veteran Bob Carnegy stated: “People don’t understand the meaning of the word veteran. Each one is special, yet connected. No matter what branch they serve, each veteran had to raise their right hand and pledge their life to this country. That pledge is what connects us all.” Going off of his words, this reflection marks an overall goal of increasing awareness for the great acts of service our veterans perform, not just overseas, but also when they return home to the community.
"Heroes at Home: Honoring our Nation's Veterans,"
Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement: Vol. 8
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/pjsl/vol8/iss1/4