For most Americans, the idea of coming home after being away for a long period is one that is filled with excitement and ease. However, for those members of the military who have been deployed overseas and spent significant time in battle, the idea of coming home can be both strange and stressful.
The physical and psychological effects of war are well-documented. And transitioning from the highly regulated military life to the free life of a civilian can be more than some people can handle. That’s why the region’s Services to the Armed Forces program has been actively securing grants and donations. Since July, the program has secured more than $10,000 in grants and gifts that are aimed at assisting veterans transition back to life in the States.
“These programs are appropriate for any veteran,” says Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces Regional Director Cory Paul. “Some of the people have recently returned, and some have been a veteran for 60-plus years. It doesn’t matter. Some of these men and women went right back to work the day after they got home.”
The program secured five separate Veteran and Military Hospital Outreach Grants from the Red Cross totaling $5,400. Those grants are designed to supplement services provided by the Veterans Administration. The money has gone to purchase a number of items, including two large drum kits—each with about a dozen different drums—that are used to create drum circles. Members of the Cincinnati Arts Association partnered with the Red Cross to teach the musical aspect of the circles. Music therapy is a proven technique for stress reduction among veterans. The goal is to have the drums travel to Community-Based Outpatient Clinics as well.
The grants have also gone to purchase hats, gloves and socks that were handed out at a Homeless Veteran Stand Down to help about 240 homeless veterans make it through the winter season; dental hygiene kits for veterans at the Cincinnati and Dayton VAs; and various craft kits and snap-together model cars, airplanes and boats for stress reduction at the Cincinnati and Dayton VAs. The crafts and models also help with assessing cognitive functioning, motor control, sensory and perceptual stimulation, diversional therapy among other areas.
The SAF program also received $5,400 in donated “Welcome Home Kits” from Procter and Gamble and the United Way. P&G employees packed the kits with items such as soap, paper towels, scrubbing sponges and other items that someone might need while moving into a home. The kits were distributed at the Cincinnati and Dayton VA Hospitals, as well as at a Homeless Veteran Stand Down in Dayton for veterans who were transitioning into temporary housing.