“Veterans go through transition when leaving the military to become a civilian,” says new VFW National Home Executive Director, Mike Wilson. “Some do it right away; some take years to transition; some never do and struggle their whole lives. The VFW National Home is here to be a part of that transition for those who are experiencing difficulty.”
Wilson, a retired Army Command Sergeant Major, created a Military and Veteran Cultural Competency Workshop for the National Home staff to ensure all staff members possess the necessary training to assist struggling veterans and their families who are living at the Home.
Over 30 staff members attended the three-hour workshop which began with refresher information that included the different military branches, rank structure, and military skills. Following that, participants reviewed national veteran agencies available to veterans including VA hospitals.
“Some of our staff are not veterans so I thought they should all have a basic understanding of what it means to be a veteran starting with basic training all the way to utilizing veteran services,” explained Wilson whose military service spanned 27 years.
The final portion of the workshop focused on key topics like the invisible wounds suffered by veterans including PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Military Sexual Trauma.
“Veterans live with these issues the rest of their lives and we can be a resource to support those veterans who experience this,” said Wilson.
He concluded the workshop by covering triggers that might negatively impact a veteran at the Home.
“It might be as simple as a lawn crew going up to someone’s house without telling them they are there, fireworks on the fourth of July, or a certain type of vehicle. These could all be a trigger for a veteran and the average person wouldn’t know this,” he explained.
Wilson plans on holding the workshop yearly while at the same time hiring more veterans to serve on staff at the VFW National Home.