More vets to return home; local organization offers help
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As the nation honors its military veterans, we're taking a closer look at the community effort to help them readjust to life after the military.
Odds are you know someone, a family member or friend who has served our country.
Odds are, you've also heard about the hard times some veterans face when they come back home.
With the end of the war in Iraq and the drawdown in Afghanistan, an estimated 100,000 troops will be heading home in the coming years.
"There are a lot of issues veterans face coming back," Executive Director of Vets-Help Craig Northacker said.
As a vet, Northacker should know.
The issues are physical and mental - dealing with disabilities, homelessness, unemployment and post traumatic stress.
"Going back 50, 60 years this stuff has been going on..and longer than that. But now it's out..we're keeping it out ," Northacker said.
The statistics can be staggering. According to the Center for American Progress, 1 in 7 homeless adults is a veteran and 1.2 million vets used mental health services in 2010.
The Bureau of Labor reports 30.2 percent of veterans 18 to 24 were unemployed in 2011.
That's why Northacker says services are so needed.
He started a non-profit in Mooresville.
The Vets Help group has programs not only for a solider but for his/her family. The organization's mission is simple - "connect the dots for veterans and families before they are discharged from active service until there are reintegrated into society."
Vets-Help wants to create 200,000 jobs - businesses owned and operated by vets.
The non-profit works with national groups to bring help to locals. They plan to hold family appreciation festivals, provide counseling, job training and more.
"[We] give them hope…and tools they need to get on with life and be successful with life," Northacker said.
Northacker knows he has some ambitious goals for the organization but can't think of anyone who deserves their attention more.
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