Battle Buddies- Vets Mentoring Vets.
(Article by Bruce Bremer, 11 NOV 2013. Source.)
Battle Buddy is a [military] term that refers to a pair of soldiers assigned to each other for mutual support and protection… on and off duty… on or off the battlefield. At the same time, many of our returning service men and women are suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and other mind/behavior modifying disorders. This is reflected in the increasing number of veterans who find themselves incarcerated.
Currently, two states (Oklahoma and New Jersey) have formalized programs that pair veterans nearing release from prison with veterans who can assist them. In Oklahoma, Veterans Affairs Secretary Rita Aragon created that state’s program last year. Secretary Aragon previously served in the Oklahoma Air National Guard as a Major General.
Volunteer veterans help their buddies in apply for benefits, find housing, and land a job. More than 1,200 inmate veterans stand to benefit from the 200-plus volunteers who provide encouragement, hope, and a focus on the future.
Similarly, Hackensack, New Jersey lawyer Benjamin Lavine announced the creation of that state’s Battle Buddy program. However, New Jersey’s program identifies veterans who qualify on the beginning of the process… once the person has been arrested. The New Jersey judiciary stresses that this is not an alternative to incarceration, but an adjunct to rehabilitation. New Jersey Battle Buddies was formed as a joint effort of that state’s judiciary, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Department of Human Services.
I hope that this is just the beginning. On this Veterans’ Day, let’s all leave the platitudes behind us. It’s easier to give speeches about the fallen soldier, sailor, marine, or airman than to deal with the messy life of a comrade in arms who can’t leave Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan behind… the carnage continues in the battlefield of the mind. Some still fighting these ghosts do so valiantly… all the while wearing a police officer’s shield.
Bruce Bremer, MBA is Law Enforcement Today’s technology contributor. Bruce retired from the Submarine Service after 21 years of in-depth experience with complex electronic technology. Since then, he has been involved in fleet modernization and military research analysis. He teaches electronics and alternative energy at a Virginia college. Besides his MBA, Bruce earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer networking. He has been volunteering in public safety for many years.
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