By James Lint
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Military University
Senior Editor for In Cyber Defense and Contributor, In Homeland Security
The VFW and The American Legion Brief Congress on policies and laws affecting veterans. They have successfully lobbied for the GI Bills that have helped veterans’ education, for improvements to the Department of Veterans Affairs and for other veteran benefits. It is beneficial to have these advocates in Washington, D.C.
On a more personal level, veterans have experiences that few civilians understand. Those experiences form a common bond among veterans. They can discuss their shared experiences without having to explain military terms.
These organizations operate in the spirit of veterans helping veterans. All local posts and chapters have service officers who assist veterans with VA application processes. They often visit military and VA hospitals to provide comfort and conversation to their fellow veterans recovering from illnesses or battlefield injuries.
Newly transferred veterans can find assistance in locating housing, schools and colleges for family members from fellow veterans who live in the area. Additionally, servicemembers transitioning out of the military need a network of contacts to search for employment. Older veterans who run companies and need employees can often refer or hire younger veterans.
Veteran Organizations Are a Supportive Community
Veterans’ organizations support various veterans’ situations in life, from getting a job to hospital convalescence to elder care. APUS does its part in supporting veterans as well through the APUS Veterans Center and a large Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter. The benefits of SVA membership include:
- Peer-to-peer networks for fellow veterans
- Campus activities
- Networking opportunities
- Connections to off-campus resources
Many civilians think veterans’ organizations are simply a place where former members of the military can gather to tell war stories and reminisce about the past. However, they also exist to take care of the current challenges in any veteran’s life.
It seems to make sense to build a support community of veterans helping veterans. That community can survive only if new veterans join the ranks of their elders.