Many of our Veterans saw, heard, and experienced horrors of war beyond our (and their) imaginations … and they pay for it daily. The happy part is that many organizations have arisen to help our Heroes successfully close that chapter of their lives. Sometimes, it requires medication. Sometimes, years of therapy. Sometimes, though, it is as simple as a good friend who has been there.

“The success of Make the Connection depends on support from everyone who interacts with Veterans: friends, family members, and people in communities nationwide as well as Veterans Service Organizations, community-based groups, and local health care providers that have direct contact with Veterans every day. We need your help to build greater awareness of and the numerous other resources that are available and improving the lives of our Nation’s Veterans.”

From an early age, Trista knew she wanted to be in the military, and she proudly served in three branches. For a long time, she didn’t acknowledge the effects that military sexual trauma was having on her life. After years of not recognizing the emotional effects of her experience, she told a VA counselor about it and changed her life for the better.

Aaron returned from Iraq and went straight into a civilian job, riding on a “get the job done” mentality. Then his wife began noticing how things didn’t seem quite right. He was angry and resentful. Aaron remembers having survivor’s guilt and vivid nightmares of being back in Iraq.

They called it a hard, hard landing…
A helicopter crash left John with chronic back pain and a traumatic brain injury. Swamped with painful memories, at first he turned to drinking to manage his depression. His commitment to taking care of his children gave him a reason to stop drinking and to reach out for help from VA.

Besides dealing with stressful combat situations, Tracey felt betrayed by people she thought were her friends and experienced military sexual trauma. With the help of VA, unique Veterans’ programs, and supportive family and friends, Tracey continues to move toward a more fulfilling life, every day.

Jack was wounded in Vietnam after landing in a hot LZ. He lost some of his Marines that day and after returning home, grieved their loss by turning to drugs and alcohol. After a friend helped him discover the help available at VA, Jack turned his life around, went on to become a successful entrepreneur, and today helps other Veterans as a mentor and advocate.