Rockville, MD. – They’ve weathered war and devastation and seen the face of death. But many veterans face yet another battle when they return home from active duty to civilian life: finding employment. While struggling to join the workforce, veterans often must deal with other issues, including emotional stress and family financial obligations. Sometimes these stresses lead to depression and substance abuse.
This Veterans Day and every day, Goodwill plays a vital role in helping veterans learn the skills they need to find meaningful employment and find the support they need to access healthcare, tax assistance, housing or housing referrals, and other rehabilitation services.
“For more than 100 years, Goodwill has been committed to providing services for veterans,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “The transition to civilian life can be difficult, and through Goodwill’s job training programs and partnerships with social service agencies, veterans groups and faith-based organizations, we help veterans put their lives back on track and re-enter the workforce.”
Goodwill is helping veterans like Harvey Brown, a Gulf War veteran who was awarded the National Defense Service Medal; Kuwait Liberation Medal; Southwest Asia Service Medal with two Bronze Stars; Navy Unit Commendation; Army Service Ribbon, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Upon returning home, however, Brown battled health issues, depression and substance abuse.
Through Goodwill’s “Operation Independence”, a program funded through the Department of Labor that provides job skills and supportive services to veterans, Brown completed a substance abuse program and enrolled in Southern Wesleyan University, where he is majoring in Business Science and will graduate in May 2010. In addition to going to school, he continues to stay connected to Operation Independence and advocates for those in need of assistance. He also volunteers as a cook at Vet Villa, an organization for vets who are homeless, where Brown also found support in his time of need.
“So often people come into the program and give up and go back to their old habits, but if they had someone willing to lend a helping hand, they would stay,” said Harvey.
“Goodwill helps our nation’s veterans by training them to earn good jobs and by providing them access to resources that stabilize their lives and their families,” said Gibbons. “By donating and shopping at Goodwill, you are playing a role in fulfilling our mission of helping veterans and others who face challenges to finding employment —- so that they can go to work, support themselves and their families, and contribute to the economic health of our country.”