30 years of life is not a long time by standard, throughout my 30 years I have experienced more than most people will experience in the entirety of theirs. The reason the above statement is true, is because I am a Combat Veteran. A Combat Veteran is a person that wrote a check for everything they cherish, that also includes their life, to the United States of America in pursuit of Freedom and Happiness for the people he loves. There are many Veterans in the United States but not all are created equal. Some served on boats while others served behind a computer. Each in their own way served a common goal to end tyranny, but it is the Combat Veteran that stared death in the eye and said “Not today and not like this”. It is because of that statement a Combat Veteran will continue to fight demons for the rest of his days. The demons come in many shapes and sizes, from the inability to sleep to nightmares that leave him in a puddle of sweat when sleep does happen. Inserting the Combat Veteran into a school setting can be a daunting event if not for organizations like the Student Veterans Organization at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, also known as the SVO.
The SVO gives the Veteran a place where he can be with like-minded people that have had similar experiences and know what the Veteran is feeling without using words. Having a “shelter” from the civilian populace of a college setting can mean the difference between success and utter failure. For example, if some in the Veterans previous class made him upset because of statements against the military or statements like “PTSD doesn’t exist, it is all in their minds”. The Veteran, instead of giving said person a piece of his mind, can go to the SVO and talk to others about the incident and work out his anger before his next class of the day. This is why I feel the SVO is continuing wellness event for a person like myself.
I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a multitude of physical disabilities that I hide every day, so I can attempt to have a “normal” college experience. The SVO allows me to go behind closed doors and let all my feelings out, whether they are physical or mental. I can sit in a recliner because my left shoulder that needs to be replaced is comfortable there. I know that when I have knee surgery and will be wheelchair bound that I have people I can count on to aide me in getting from my vehicle to class and vice versa. This unsung understanding and love, is a constant medicine for what I go through each and every day. I am thankful for the SVO and cherish each day I am at school because I get to be with people that served are like me, broken but incredibly proud.
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