Since 1980 and my meeting with Charles B. MacDonald in the heart of the Krinkelterwald in Belgium and the hours of discussions that followed, we had come to the decision to create a meeting point for WWII veterans who returned to visit their old battlefields. This was the starting point of a small organization called USVCPIC (US Veterans Contact Point and Information Center in Jalhay and Malmedy, Belgium. Form 1980 to 1986 we received, oriented, informed something like 6200 WW-2, Korea, Vietnam Veterans. In 1986, after a perfectly organized bankruptcy by the Belgian Authorities (Finances), our organization being a non-profit activity which caused a lot of shortfall for some people who usually made a lot of money with ‘transport’ and ‘accommodation’ of those Vet buses, I wasn’t strong enough to cope with them, I had to drop the guns. But I didn’t stop and continued privately the activity because these returning Veterans deserved that so much.
Alas, in the early 1990s I realized that more and more Veterans were making their final transfer and again, we lost many friends. In 1995, with the advent of the Internet, I therefore decided to switch to virtual mode for the history part of the activity. The new activity, the European Center of Military History, also a non-profit activity requesting this time much more resources than the guided walks in the forests of the Ardennes. However, and I was not the only one to notice that, among the current Veterans (Middle East) a new evil had appeared and generated much more damages and suicides than all the other wars of the past.
To get to the point that I always move forward with the goal of helping Veterans. Obviously, in this WWII website, I cannot mix the two things, the story that fascinates me and the difficulties that today’s Veterans face.
Obviously, I know I’m not going to buzz the Internet with my humble website and this page particularly, but what I do know is that if I manage, even only once, to help a Veteran to move his face from the barrel of his pistol, I will consider that mission accomplished.
Article Submitted by Jason Lewis, USA
6 Steps Entrepreneurs Should Take Before Hiring Veterans
There’s a lot that goes into building a successful new business. For instance, you may be thinking about bringing veterans into your new business to help them and to help your new venture grow. In that case, you can use the following information and suggestions from EUCMH to recruit and hire veterans, as well as making sure your business gets off to the right start.
Consider Setting Up an LLC
Have you looked into the requirements and benefits of establishing an LLC in your state? If not, you may want to take this step before you begin recruiting veterans to join your team. Not only will an LLC protect your assets and reduce your tax burden, but having those three letters behind your business name can also help lend legitimacy. When you’re ready to form an LLC, know that you can save yourself quite a bit of expense and time by hiring a formation service like ZenBusiness instead of using a lawyer.
Know the Perks of Hiring Veterans
An LLC can provide tax savings, but so can hiring veterans. According to Military.com, small business owners who hire veterans can qualify for tax credits of up to $5,600 per employee. That’s because veterans are one of the many groups of people covered by the WOTC, or Work Opportunity Tax Credit. There are also unemployment tax credits that can save you money. Apart from tax savings, veterans also learn valuable soft and technical skills while serving.
Connect with Veteran Hiring Groups
If you’re ready to start looking for the right veterans, it helps to know where to start. There are several programs and organizations that are dedicated to connecting business owners and employers with veteran candidates. Check first with the VA and with your local chamber of commerce to see if either offers networking opportunities that will help connect you with veterans. You can also partner with dedicated nonprofit organizations, like Hiring Our Heroes.
Research Interview Etiquette
This tip may sound odd, especially if you’ve conducted interviews before. However, these days many interviews are conducted online, so it helps to go over some basic rules and best practices for this sort of virtual setup. You never want to waste a candidate’s time trying to figure out technical glitches in the moment, so test all of your equipment and features beforehand.
Know What to Say and Not Say
If you will be interviewing and interacting with veterans, there are other points to keep in mind. These include knowing which questions and topics are offensive and off-limits for veterans. For example, it should go without saying that asking a veteran about past combat experience is never a good idea, especially in a professional setting. These experiences are highly personal for veterans. In fact, it’s best to leave any and all personal questions out of the equation.
Understand ADA Laws and PTSD
Another reason potential employers should never bring up combat is that many veterans suffer from some degree of PTSD after exiting the service. If you plan on hiring veterans, it is vital that you try to understand the challenges faced by those with PTSD, so that you can support them in the workplace. You should also educate yourself around ADA laws that include veterans living with PTSD, as well as those who may be living with other service-connected disabilities.
Even though they spend years serving their country, it can be difficult for men and women who have separated from active duty to find a new career. By opening your new business up to veterans, you are making this stressful transition easier and helping to repay so many of their sacrifices. You just need to do your homework to keep your business, recruitment, and hiring practices legal, and you also need to understand how to support veteran employees.
Tips on Identifying and Coping with PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a common concern among veterans. However, you don’t have to have experienced combat to suffer from the disorder; many forms of trauma can cause PTSD. Unfortunately, identifying the condition and receiving help isn’t always easy. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of the disorder, you should know that there are things you can do to get better–and it all starts with understanding PTSD. Read on for some tips from EUCMH.
What Is It?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is an unfortunately common mental health condition. In veterans, it’s often triggered by wartime events. Men and women with PTSD may experience realistic flashbacks, anxiety, and even nightmares. According to the Mayo Clinic, coping with PTSD is difficult, but self-care, time, and treatment can help.
Many people suffering from PTSD find they feel less anxious when they are active. Exercise, especially exercising outdoors, is an excellent way to increase your brain’s levels of feel-good hormones. Further, having a constructive outlet, such as hiking or running, can keep the mind focused. A 2017 article published on Medical News Today also suggests mindfulness and meditation, which can help you relax and reduce depressive symptoms.
If you suffer from co-occurring depression, you may be concerned that you will have to take antidepressant medication to help you cope. There are, however, some over-the-counter remedies that can help regulate your mood without negative side effects, which, depending on the medicine, may include constipation, hypertension, abnormal heart rhythm, and weight fluctuations. CBD oil, for example, has garnered a great deal of attention lately as people begin to realize that this hemp-derived compound has anti-anxiety properties. Keep in mind, however, that you should discuss the possibility of taking this or any other OTC supplements with your doctor. You should also take the time to research the different brands.
When you have PTSD, sleep may become challenging. However, sleep is a vital function and is something you should prioritize if you want to give yourself the energy to overcome this debilitating psychiatric disorder. One thing that can help you get to sleep is accepting that insomnia is normal for people with PTSD. You can also increase the comfort of your nighttime hours by making your bedroom a safe zone and practicing proper sleep hygiene. This might include getting to bed at the same time each night, using a white noise machine to help you relax, and reading before turning out the lights. Keeping your room organized and can also help you relax by removing triggers for anxiety and stress.
While self-care can help, it’s not always enough to help you manage the symptoms of PTSD. Many people find that a combination of prescription medications and psychotherapy put them on a faster path to recovery. There are many types of therapy that can help quell anxiety and improve well-being, such as art therapy and drama therapy. Further, medications such as Prozac and Zoloft or mood stabilizers such as Depakote can help.
Family support will also be an important part of your recovery, and having someone to talk to when you feel the need can help you come to terms with your personal trauma. If you have family members suffering from PTSD, don’t try and push them into talking about what happened, as it is often difficult to put into words. Instead, wait for them to come to you and just listen without judgment. Knowing they are not alone is an invaluable form of support for these sufferers.
Treating PTSD is not the same for everyone. You may respond more favorably to self-care, while other patients may require more intensive therapy. The important thing is that you address the underlying issues and take steps to avoid triggers. Over time, you may find that you control your PTSD and not the other way around.
The European Center of Military History (EUCMH) is your information portal for military arts, memorials, news, and history. contact Doc Snafu for more info!