5 Reasons Why Public Events Bring Together The Military Community

DoD photo

When I joined the Veteran Tickets Foundation in 2016, I became part of an organization run by veterans to serve veterans. VetTix is a national nonprofit that provides discounted event tickets to the military community, ranging from major sporting events to concerts, in the hopes of encouraging positive reintegration and strengthening family bonds.

With over 166,000 “VetTixer” testimonials sent into our website, I’ve been lucky enough to observe firsthand the impact that these opportunities for community engagement have had on transitioning service members, military spouses and their families.

Recently, more than 44,000 active-duty military personnel and veterans completed our recent national annual survey on veteran reintegration, and the results reminded us just how important resources like ours can be for the military community. According to our results, the hardest aspects of reintegration are readjusting to civilian life, continuing relationships and mentally re-adjusting.

Here are five key takeaways from our survey, which is available in full online:

Community support

Twenty-four percent of respondents reported that they did not perceive their community to be supportive of veterans. Even if one’s surrounding community does in fact support the military community, it is crucial for veterans to feel welcome and not alienated when transitioning back to civilian life. More than 93% reported that attending public events offered through VetTix positively improved their perception of community support.

Diversified experiences

By providing event tickets at a low-cost, military families have easier access to the camaraderie with their peers like they experienced in the military along with an enriched sense of community. This is invaluable not just for transitioning service members, but military spouses who are PCSing or a military families looking to try something new. But while these are important aspects of reintegration, they are difficult for the DoD or VA to mandate for veterans. Hence, private nonprofits like VetTix.

Making fun affordable

The VA strongly recommends social activities, planned family time and date nights for successful civilian reintegration. But our survey showed that an eye-popping 91% percent of veterans said they couldn’t afford to attend community events without financial help, while 63% said they only had $100 or less each month for social activities (the estimated cost for a family of four to attend a sporting event or concert is more than $500.).

With the help of military-focused organizations, providing financial help for community reintegration allows a military family to attend an event and be fully present with their loved ones, without the financial burden they would otherwise face.

DoD photo

Strengthened family and community relationships

Providing access to events that strengthen and promote quality time with friends and family members is key to positive veteran reintegration. Ninety-five percent of respondents who have had opportunity to attend community events report that they are more engaged and communicate more with the people they take to events. Attending an event gives service members and veterans a chance to decompress from everyday life and spend time with loved ones.

Improved well-being and physical health

Some 44% of survey respondents have had an official mental health diagnosis, and 65% feel they have experienced depression or anxiety relating to their military service. It is crucial for military and non-military community organizations to understand the importance of mental and physical well-being for service members, veterans and their families, but it’s also essential to realize how critical community and family support is to that well being.

Transitioning service members and veterans oftentimes experience difficulties while reintegrating into civilian life. Positive community resources provide a means for spending quality time with family and friends, and in turn, rebuild and strengthen social networks.

(Air Force photo / Tech Sgt. Oneika Banks)

Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.

Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.

"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.

Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."

Read More
(National Archives / Marine Corps Photo / WO Obie Newcomb, Jr., November 1943)

The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.

The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.

Read More
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Daniel Snider)

Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.

During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.

Read More

MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.

Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.

State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.

North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.

Read More
Screenshot of a propaganda video featuring former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.

Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.

The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."

Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.

Read More