For years after serving our country, many veterans still find themselves dealing with service-related issues ranging from effects of war to family and finances. Sometimes, veterans may feel like they just can't seem to get it together.
The Emmet County VA office is offering "Veterans Roundtables" every other Wednesday evening; the next is set for 7 p.m. today, Oct. 3. Veterans are welcome to just show up and talk about old times, new times or anything on their mind. These sessions are completely confidential.
Wilwin Lodge, an oasis
Wilwin Lodge, a retreat center run by the American Legion of Michigan, gives returning veterans an opportunity for recuperation and relaxation deep in the woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Built in 1914, the center's historic lodge and sprawling woods surrounding it were donated to the Legion two years ago by Bob Considine, a Legionnaire and Korean War veteran. Caretakers from the department maintain the lodge and they are actively seeking funding to ensure the property fulfills Considines's vision of becoming an open-sky oasis for veterans dealing with PTSD and other problems relating to their service time, or who simply need a break from the demands of life. Currently, Wilwin depends on funding from the Legion, but staff is soliciting donations from veteran supporters and other organizations so that the lodge can become self-sustaining within three years.
They are looking to build more guest houses and cabins. If you or you know of someone or an organization that is interested, go to wilwin.org, contact the American Legion of Michigan or call my office.
Veterans and health
We have a large population of veterans that are getting older (tell me about it!) and I find that many are living a less-than-healthy lifestyle.
It is important that we evaluate our health and what to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family.
There are at least seven goals that should be incorporated: 1. Nutrition. 2. Exercise. 3. Rest. 4. Work (at something). 5. Relatilonships. 6. Mental Fitness. 7. Spiritual Health.
There are a lot of things you can do to improve and maintain your health. If you need some help, ideas, etc., stop by and see me and let's discuss something that might work for you.
Comfort Crew for military kids
The Comfort Crew for Military Kids was founded in 2007 to support and comfort children managing the challenges of today's military life of deployment, re-integration, moving, visible and invisible injuries and grief. The staff works directly with military children and families, recognizing their unique challenges. You can check them out at www.ComfortCrew.org or call my office for more information.
The USO: " Until Every Song is sung and Every Battle Won"
As an old Marine, I experienced the USO (United Service Organization, formed in 1941) and I am sure you all remember the great Bob Hope and the USO tours! I would just like to reprint their material and give some thought to the men and women who have served and now serving this great nation:
"Freedom is our birthright. Peace is our passion. These two ideals, so treasured by this nation, hang in a delicate balance.
"More of one demands less of the other. To hold the balance, it requires one person. A soldier, sailor, Marine, Airman or Coast Guardsman. They are our sons, daughters, wives or husbands. They are our best and our brightest.
"They are sworn to protect and defend this most cherished nation of ours. They will stand lonely vigil in foreign lands. They will walk in harm's way. They will stare down any threat. They will conquer any foe. This is their duty, which they hold sacred and for which they will give their own lives.
"And burning in their hearts, the heart of every man and woman who has so proudly served this country, is a singular, undeniable desire: To go home. To return to the embrace of everything they hold dear. To realize their dreams to be free, and at peace.
"But for now, their dreams, their families and their futures have been set aside.
For now, they have put our dreams, our families, our futures above their own. In light of this noble sacrifice, the USO was born."
I would ask that you might read and re-read the above and remember where our freedom comes from and who is making the sacrifice for this country and who has always made the sacrifice. It is not this county, or state and not Washington DC. Remember the troops!
Jim Alton is the Director of the Veterans Affairs Department within Emmet County. Alton served in the United States Marine Corps (1955-62) and is retired from the Michigan State Police. Reach him or his assistant, Rick Wiertalla, at (231) 348-1780 or email@example.com. www.emmetcounty.org/VA/