For NH Vets, Battle Continues at Home: NH Group Helps
MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Iraq war may be officially over, but troops are still being deployed in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and for hundreds of New Hampshire service members, some of the toughest battles are being fought here at home.
For many veterans who return to the Granite State, the battle is far from over and, from physical injuries and physiological issues, to finding jobs, support is needed.
Peter Collins, clinical director for the Deployment Cycle Program, New Hampshire, says his group consists of more than 70 care coordinators around the state to help vets with a variety of issues.
"The psychological and physical injuries associated with war, and also the unique stressors of the deployment cycle itself - whether it's relationship stuff, child stuff, financial assistance - we link service members and family members up with job-finders."
The program is funded in part by the Department of Defense and a private effort called "Veterans Count," which is part of the Easter Seals of New Hampshire. So far, it has assisted more than 1800 New Hampshire service members and families, and Collins says there are between 500 and 600 active cases.
He says many people don't realize that between 45 and 50 percent of the boots on the ground are National Guard members and reservists, many of whom have been deployed more than once. The strain on families can be tremendous.
"We're also working on strengthening marriages, on making sure that schools are aware of the deployment cycle and more aware of what children they have in schools who have family members who are deployed, so that they can better interpret perhaps some changes, some adjustment problems that kids are having."
Collins says the Deployment Cycle Program, which began in 2005, is the first of its kind in the U.S., and he hopes other states will follow with similar programs. New Hampshire service members and families who are in the deployment cycle are eligible for services.
More information is at nh.easterseals.com