World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. But fighting actually stopped seven months earlier – on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
For that reason, November 11 became Veteran’s Day.
Veteran’s Day is a time to honor the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces. They have earned our respect and admiration. But not only do their contributions deserve to be honored, the barriers to work and independence faced by members of our military community need to be understood and addressed as well.
Thankfully, the barriers they face have started to receive more attention. From data that shows that incidents of suicide were 50% higher among veterans than for civilians, to news that from 2007-2011 Minnesota had more reported incidents of suicide for National Guard members than any other state, the need to ensure our military community has the support they deserve is clear.
At Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota we’re proud of the support we have been able to offer our military community. We have worked to find new ways to reach out and offer assistance. Some remarkable efforts have been made to provide the support needed by our veterans, military members and their families. These efforts deserve to be recognized.
The HomeFront Resource Center is a great example. When the National Guard’s Family Assistance Center in St. Cloud was closed due to budget cuts, the large military community in the area lost some much-needed support. Maureen Gaedy, Goodwill-Easter Seals’ Director of Greater Minnesota & Equipment Loan Services, was instrumental in organizing the efforts to turn St. Cloud’s HomeFront Resource Center into a reality. The Resource Center, which is expected to open in 2017, will help to restore services to St. Cloud’s veterans, military personnel and their families. The story of how the Resource Center came to be can be read here.
Goodwill-Easter Seals’ Lisa Jensen is the Clinical Supervisor of St. Cloud’s Working Well Mental Health Clinic. She has also been involved with the Military Mental Health Initiative Committee (MMHIC). A coalition of over a dozen organizations, they have taken an innovative approach by working to connect the mental health community with the military community. By doing so, they have succeeded in helping the two cultures work together more effectively. Last April they brought together over 100 mental health professionals to Camp Ripley in Little Falls and held their inaugural conference.
The support we are able to offer is the direct result of our dedicated network of donors, staff, volunteers, shoppers and business partners. It is because of you that we are able to help members of our military community overcome the barriers to work and independence that they face.
Thank you for helping us prepare members of our military community for work.