As an Iraq War veteran, I am honored to work at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). We are home to more than 70,000 AmeriCorps members, whom we are celebrating as part of AmeriCorps Week.
As a national service organization, our thoughts and efforts are never far from our troops. If there's one group of Americans that not only demonstrates but embodies the ethos of coming together for others, it is our men and women in uniform. With good reason, we call them our service members.
On the National Service blog, the past few weeks have been dedicated to veterans. We've shared stories of WWII and Gulf War vets, of vets inspiring and helping young people, and of vets serving their country on the battlefield, and off.
One month ago, a deadly F5 tornado ripped through Joplin, MO. This fierce tornado was the 7th most deadly in U.S. history and the deadliest since modern record keeping began in 1953.
AmeriCorps members come from all walks of life. They could be fresh out of high school or college or perhaps they are returning veterans, stay-at-home moms, or retired individuals. The members of AmeriCorps Hoopa Tribal Civilian Community Corps (Hoopa TCCC) have their own unique perspective – they are all from Native American communities.
Many Americans struggle with poverty issues. According to the Census Bureau, 1 out of 6 Americans are living in poverty. In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro Area, more than 14.6% of individuals live below the poverty line and statewide, 4.6 million Texans live in poverty, putting Texas 3% higher than the national average.
When our armed forces return from combat, the impact it has on their lives is lasting, though not always evident. For many, they are returning with invisible wounds, that left untreated, can turn into scars.
As servicemen and women return home from deployments, the urge to continue serving one's country doesn't go away. Many returning veterans are turning to AmeriCorps programs to continue their service, using their leadership, logistical, and analytical skills gained from their military service and applying it to their terms of service in AmeriCorps. To date, more than 16,000 veterans have served in AmeriCorps.
Supporting our nation's troops, veterans, and military families is critical to our national security and to strengthening our communities. It is also a top priority for of Corporation for National and Community Service, stemming from the bipartisan Serve America Act. On Thursday, CNCS joined forces with the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and the National Guard Bureau (NGR) to further reinforce this commitment with the launch of VetCorps.
Veterans Day should remind us that our veterans deserve much more than our thoughts and kind words. The transition from the battlefield back to civilian life is never easy, but long and multiple deployments and a weak job market make this one of the most difficult times ever to be a veteran.
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