Soldiers can see horrific things on the battlefield. But unfortunately, for many, the nightmares don’t end when they come home. For some, it’s a life-threatening situation, that nobody seemed to want to talk about. Until now.
Col. Bud Day, the most decorated living Air Force veteran and Sioux City native, has released a PSA in support of veterans’ services. “The tools and resources are there now. Please make use of them. Stay strong and don’t let the enemy defeat you at home,” an excerpt from the PSA.
The stigma behind veterans services has many origins. But one reason many choose not to seek help: fear it could cost them their career.
Lori Risdal is the manager of the Air Men & Families Program and says, “It’s always better to get the help and assistance that you need because if it’s going to affect your career, it’s going to be because you haven’t got the help that you need.”
Sioux City is home to numerous programs for veterans and their families. For example, Military One Source is a confidential free, 24-hour hotline. Sioux City has a military family life consultant who plans weekend retreats and couples counseling. And Wingman, a new peer-on-peer initiative with the air force that trains active members to support fellow soldiers when the duty gets to be too much.
Risdal says, “Sometimes we can get help through the families because they’re the ones who see everything and we’re not aware of it.” The veteran’s return is a family affair. Everyone needs to adjust.
And believe it or not, sometimes it’s just the new presence that takes some getting used to.
“That integration process when he gets home and kind of going back into the role of just the wife, instead of doing everything for the household, says Sarah Petersen, an army wife. Petersen’s husband, Shawn, is on a one year deployment to Afghanistan.
In addition to being a military wife, petersen doubles as one of the co-founders of Support Siouxland Soldiers, a group dedicated to veterans services on a local level.
Support Siouxland Soldiers is sponsoring a care package event on January 15th at the 113th National Guard Armory. Show up at 2pm for the public package-making or 1pm if you have a special soldier who you think deserves a care package.