My sense is that it’s more important when you’re out of the military. Because when you’re in the military, you are provided a community. It’s called your unit. Everyone in the unit collectively works towards accomplishing their jobs together. And the chain of command ultimately takes care of the people in their charge. Once you’re out of the military, it’s important to be involved in other communities. Reason being, you no longer have that structure a chain-of-command provides. From my experience, networking is one of the challenges service members have after service. It’s going to take some work to get connected, but it’s worth the effort.
III. What types of resources are out there for the military community to get involved with?
One of the first organizations that comes to mind is Student Veterans of America. They have more than 1,000 chapters all across the country. They are doing really good things for veterans. USO is another organization. They have expanded part of their program to transitioning from military life to civilian life.
IV. Who are the people that make your community?
I would say my family. And some of the senior folks I worked with in the military make up my community.
I would say to that person: you are not alone. There are people out there all across the country ready to connect with you. I worked really hard when I was on active duty to connect with my soldiers during the holidays. I would get with the Cops Commander in Iraq and we would hit as many different bases as we could (We each hit at least 5). My last Christmas in the Army, I spent Christmas with some troops in Bagdad. Even got to bring my wife. It was probably the most special Christmas we had.
VI. What are you doing this Christmas?
I will be with my family for the holidays, since that wasn’t always the case while I was serving. From a 90 year old mother to my 2 year old Grandson, we are going to exchange gifts with everyone. Should be a really nice time.