On this Veterans Day, we recognize all Vets for their service to protecting our country in peacetime and in conflict. I want to especially recognize those Veterans — such as those who work or volunteer as part of our agency’s staff and board — who have extended themselves beyond their service experiences to help others and our communities.
At the Statewide Dwyer Project conference last month, the keynoter was young Army Veteran, Andrew O’Brien, of Texas, who shared that his volunteering for service was not about patriotism but about finding a sense of purpose for himself following a childhood of horrid abuse and neglect. However, after a challenging combat experience in Iraq, while still in the service, his journey included an attempt to take his own life.
After returning to, and completing, a distinguished service career, Andrew later founded the Wysh Project (www.wyshproject.org) not only to help end Veterans suicide, but building on his own experiences, to help everyone who has past experience from trauma from any source move “from trauma to triumph.”
Responding to Andrew’s talk, one recovering Dwyer Vet asserted: “We are not broken. We are strong. We saw and participated in stuff we expected but weren’t fully prepared for. We are injured, but because of our strength we can take ownership of a helping role in helping others overcome injuries and help build community.”
As we thank our Vets today for their service in uniform, let’s also thank so many who have gone the extra mile to help enrich our communities as places of caring, hope, and opportunity for all people who face adversities.