The numbers speak for themselves, because not every warrior can:
- 480,000 - the number of servicemen and women physically injured in recent military conflicts
- 400,000 - the number of service members living with invisible wounds, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder
- 320,000 - the number of service members experiencing debilitating brain trauma
- +500,000 - the number of Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- ~150,000 - the number of homeless Veterans (or nearly a quarter of the homeless population)
- ~1.5 million - the number of additional Veterans who live ‘at risk’ of homelessness
- 185,269 - the number of California Women Veterans
- 22 - the average number of Veteran suicides committed daily, accounting for ~20% of all suicides annually in the U.S.
- 33% - the percentage of service members who live with PTSD and feel they don’t get the mental health care they need
I grew up in a military family and have been committed to fighting for Veteran Rights for over 35y. My stepfather, brothers, in-laws, cousins and many family members & friends are current service members or Veterans. I know firsthand that sometimes the most painful injuries aren’t physical or readily visible. So, I have been dedicated to speaking up and advocating for those veterans who have lost their “voice” through targeted advocacy, compliance administration, policy making, Hill testimony, legislature visits, recommendations, self-advocacy training, research, outreach, reintegration resources and support, counseling, debt management and reduction, facilitation of PTSD/TBI/Combat Stress evaluations, peer-to-peer support, suicide prevention, case management services, and coordinating service administration with federal and state agencies. As with all cases of equity and justice, this fight is to ensure all Veterans have access to and receive equal treatment and their earned benefits, rehabilitative and professional services, education, training, healthcare, home loans and financial assistance without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disAbility, or sexual orientation.
The number of homeless Veterans, unemployed Veterans, and Veterans committing suicide are staggering. No Military Personnel or Veteran should ever have to face homelessness or joblessness and none should ever face discrimination due to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, sexual identity or political affiliation. Many Veterans experience significant frustration trying to access benefits - usually due to the conditions and circumstances surrounding their service and their discharge. Many Veterans have more immediate concerns like keeping their job or how to pay the rent while they try to figure out the specifics of their disAbility and try to link it to what happened to them during their service. Some face additional hindrances related to trauma associated with combat that leaves them afraid to use cars or public transit (reminders of landmines or improvised explosive devices) - real consequences of the PTSD, TBI, combat stress that these warriors need help to emotionally recover.
Working with the Wounded Warrior Project and the VA, I have been a staunch supporter of helping empower these warriors and giving them the voice to seek the support they need to begin their journey to recovery and to build the resilience they will need to thrive again.