North Carolina is home to around 700,000 veterans — the eighth largest veteran population in the nation. And with the fourth largest active-duty military presence nationwide, it stands to reason that our state needs to pay special attention to issues impacting our service members. After active duty, veterans face wide-ranging challenges that can seem insurmountable. Imagine devoting formative years of your career to one, tireless pursuit and then everything you’ve known comes to a halt and you must invent a new path for yourself. This is the situation facing our veterans. From starting new careers to navigating a complex process to obtain earned benefits, shifting mindsets and establishing homes, it can be just too much for a person to bear… mental and physical health suffers… unemployment and even homelessness ensue.
Yet, hope and help are alive in our counties. Veterans service officers in our communities are devoted to doing what they can to make life after the military the best it can be for our veterans. As county residents, we all have a role in helping our valued service members. The question is, exactly how can we collectively turn the tide on the complicated issues facing veterans?