By Amanda Mineer
I wish my job wasn’t necessary. I wish our veterans didn’t need my help, but as long as they do, I’ll be there for them. This is personal for me. From Vietnam to Afghanistan, our veterans continue to struggle with PTSD, as well as receiving their benefits from the Veterans Administration. Approximately 20% of vets suffer from PTSD.
Some are able to live relatively normal lives. They work. They have families. They function. Many others crave a normal life, but they just can’t get there. That’s where I step in. My passion is working hand-in-hand with veterans to navigate the VA’s red tape and get the help they need and have earned with their service.
My uncles served in Vietnam and my brother joined the Air Force, so I’ve been around the military life as long as I’ve been alive. My family was full of flag-waving patriots. Holidays like Memorial Day always meant so much for us, but as I’ve gotten to know our veterans, I’ve come to realize Memorial Day means so much more than beer and barbeque.
It’s about not only remembering those who have fallen, but also recognizing that many who survived are still reliving the horrors they experienced. In fact, we shouldn’t need a holiday for people to appreciate and respect our vets.
PTSD doesn’t just affect the person who has it. It takes a terrible toll on spouses, children, and extended families. I’ve seen it first-hand. Many soldiers who received care packages from me returned home and I got to know them, but there was one in particular I grew very close to. In Iraq, he served in the Army.
When he came home, I could see he had changed dramatically. He just wasn’t the same person. I opened my home to him and let him stay with me until he felt independent enough to leave. Now, I can recognize PTSD before the person who has it lets me know.
The VA has done some good things on behalf of our veterans, but clearly things need to get better. Our vets shouldn’t have to deal with government bureaucracy. They shouldn’t receive hard to understand replies from the VA. The bottom line is I will stop at nothing to make the process less overwhelming for our vets.
I’ll fight for them to ensure they feel cared for and not neglected. While in combat, many soldiers feel a sense of comradery with those around them. Often, they lose that when they return home, and for those with PTSD, a feeling of isolation sets in. That’s unacceptable.
As I said, I wish my job wasn’t necessary, but this is why I became an attorney. My message to our vets is this. You’re not on your own. There are plenty of people like me who dedicate their lives to helping those Americans who need our help the most.
There’s nothing wrong with beer and barbecue. Just remember who Memorial Day is about.