Too often, we hear veterans express how they miss the camaraderie and support they had when they were in the military. They don’t identify with the civilian world, and often find themselves resenting the take-it-for-granted, poor-me mentality they encounter outside of the military service. Veterans have an entirely different sense of humor, a take-charge attitude, and an objective approach to life that places results above feelings; this makes them strange to their civilian counterparts. Most of all, in their loneliest of times, veterans wrestle with alligators that civilians will never see, much less, understand. Veterans need veterans.
The Desert Warriors are here to provide that missing camaraderie and support. While the Desert Warriors have an inward focus to support their fellow Desert Warriors, they are unique within the Red & Tan Nation in that they also have an outward focus to reach those veterans who struggle with adjusting to life off the battlefield. And, we have a plan: we believe there are four focus points and two tools to help our veterans..
As an organization, the Desert Warriors will focus on the following four issues:
Each Desert Warrior chapter will identify local, state, and federal resources for each of these issues, will maintain a list of providers and servicing organizations, and will link veterans with the assistance they need. However, the Desert Warriors won’t just give the veteran the contact information and be done with the veteran – we’ll work with the veteran to contact whatever service the veteran needs and continue working with that veteran until the service is provided. The goal of the Desert Warriors is to become the go-to organization for veterans’ needs.
The two main tools the Desert Warriors will utilize are:
Veterans Treatment Courts: The Desert Warriors will be involved in local veterans courts by providing mentors for participating veterans and assisting the courts any way we can. If there is no local veterans court, the Desert Warriors will work to establish one. Also, much of the veterans court funding is based upon drug treatment models, and while we recognize the importance of helping veterans work through substance abuse issues, we also recognize that many veterans find themselves in the court system because of PTSD/TBI-related behavior. Without addressing the underlying cause of veterans’ reactive behavior and some of the substance abuse related behavior, the current model of the veterans courts is treating a symptom rather than the cause.
In addition, the Desert Warriors believe the veterans courts should be staffed and managed by veterans. While it may not be possible in all locations, we believe that unless the presiding judge, the prosecuting attorney, the public defender, and the probation officer are veterans themselves, then they are unable to understand how to most effectively reach our veterans in need. In all cases, the Desert Warriors will work to advise and influence decision-makers in determining the most appropriate support to the veterans courts.
Desert Warriors as a Veteran Service Organization: The Desert Warriors are working to get established as a Veteran Administration-recognized Veteran Service Organization with as many Desert Warriors certified as Veteran Service Representatives (VSR) as can pass the certification exam. Our VSRs will not only help veterans through the difficult and confusing process of filing and appealing Veteran Administration claims, they will stay connected with the veteran through the entire process. Once a Desert Warrior has worked with a veteran, unless that veteran requests a new Veteran Service Representative, that veteran will remain linked with his assisting Desert Warrior. We plan on remaining connected with our veterans for the long haul.