Thursday, June 7, 2012

OEF and OIF veterans have information overload

This is really the first generation of veterans coming home with the availability of the Internet.

Internet The origins of the Internet reach back to research of the 1960s, commissioned by the United States government in collaboration with private commercial interests to build robust, fault-tolerant, and distributed computer networks. The funding of a new U.S. backbone by the National Science Foundation in the 1980s, as well as private funding for other commercial backbones, led to worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies, and the merger of many networks. The commercialization of what was by the 1990s an international network resulted in its popularization and incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life. As of 2011, more than 2.2 billion people – nearly a third of Earth's population — use the services of the Internet.[1]

Even when Gulf War veterans came home, most of them did not have computers and did not have the ability to connect to other veterans around the country. When Vietnam veterans came home, there was nothing for them or their families. So much for a good thing.

What is happening right now is there is information overload for OEF and OIF veterans. They don't know where to go, who to trust or where to get the answers they need.

This is one of the reasons this blog is here. I track news reports across the country so veterans can find out the truth easily. I film events in the Orlando area because the media usually doesn't show up and when they do they only manage to get a few seconds on the news.

Finding information for Combat PTSD is vital for them, so I post about all the groups doing something for them. This is an enormous undertaking because there are way too many groups trying to fill the gaps but in the process trying to reinvent what has been done for 40 years!

You name it and they are doing it from researchers pretending to do new studies to the latest charity popping up looking for dollars to support what they are doing and in the process taking away funds from established groups. Confused? So are they!

Here are a few of the best groups out there.

DAV, Disabled American Veterans for help filing claims with the VA.
Point Man International Ministries for help with Combat PTSD, they help veterans and their families.
Homes For Our Troops, building homes for disabled veterans and handing over the keys free and clear.
These are just a few of the groups helping veterans across the country.

What you should look for is what they offer and who is doing the offering. If they say they are there to help veterans with Combat PTSD, check the background of the person to make sure they know what they are talking about. When I started I always made sure I was reading reports from psychologists or psychiatrist or someone that was living with PTSD.

Check Charity Navigator to make sure they are on the up and up. There are times when they get it wrong too but it gives you a basis to work off of. Then Google them. If they are doing good things, you'll find plenty of sites linking to them instead of bad reports piling up.

Look to see how long they have been in operation. Just to give you an idea, this is about the DAV.
The story of compassion & service for our nation's disabled veterans, detailed in the history of the Disabled American Veterans.

Wars and scars—those are the hard facts of history that brought about the creation of the Disabled American Veterans. Compassion and service—those are the tools with which the DAV responds to our Nation’s disabled veterans and their families.

This great organization was formed as our country struggled to deal with the painful effects of World War I. At this moment our Nation is struggling once again with the impact of war—as American men and women face combat in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other nations.

A great deal has changed in the 85 years since the DAV was founded, but this much has remained the same: those who come home from war wounded and sick need the care and attention of a grateful nation. And our Nation’s citizens have an organization they can trust to serve as their vehicle of compassion for their wartime disabled veterans. Through the DAV, they can fully express their appreciation and their concerns for those whose bodies and minds have been forever scarred by war.

But the story on the pages that follow—the history of the Disabled American Veterans—is not a story of able-bodied people taking care of handicapped veterans. While it is certainly true that the American people have been invaluable partners in the DAV’s mission, the work of our organization has been a self-help proposition since the beginning. The DAV—disabled veterans helping disabled veterans—continues working cohesively to build better lives for all disabled veterans and their families!

I started with the groups I listed above because I am associated with these groups in one way or another. Point Man has been around since 1984. I know what they do and how hard they work for all veterans. Homes For Our Troops is a group I have been supporting for the last couple of years. They are a newer group but have a fantastic program as well as great reputation.

Whatever you do, don't give up finding what you need to help you with the next part of your life. You will be a veteran everyday but there are plenty of people who remember you always instead of once a year. Don't get frustrated finding them.