I usually do a weekend wrap up on Monday’s, but it’s a special Monday today.
Today is the start of Storm the Hill, a yearly push by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America on Capitol Hill for veterans’s issues.
This year, I’m lucky enough to be part of their Digital Stormer team. While I may not be physically on the Hill, I’m working Twitter, Facebook and my other social media connections to bring attention to our Ground Stormers. All us Digital Stormers have been working hard for the past two weeks to prepare for this one.
Storm the Hill is important in so many ways to me.
First, there’s the obvious. IAVA’s concern this year is veteran unemployment, which currently stands at 17%, much higher than official government reports. I’m one of the 17%. I have a college degree with two majors, past job experience, and leadership experience through the Army and a deployment. But I still am struggling to find a job. It feels as though employers look right past my military leadership experience, like all my time has been worth nothing. It’s a disheartening feeling. IAVA was the force behind the only jobs bill to be passed last year, the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act (VOW Act). And they’re looking to do more.
But this week is important to me for a less obvious reason. I absolutely, positively LOVE helping my fellow veterans (as corny as that sounds). Maybe it’s the sergeant in me, but I love helping troops (regardless of the branch). While in school, I worked at my campus’s Veterans Support Services center, helping veterans figure out the complicated mess of education benefits. I felt good every time I could answer a question and make the complicated process easier. Even now, I’m a member of Project Healing Waters, a fly fishing organization that helps veterans work through their injuries, apparent or not. I love the camaraderie that comes along with being with other veterans. Being a part of Storm the Hill is just a continuation of that need I have to help my fellow vets.
If you’re not a vet, you can still be a part of our fight. After being at war for 10+ years, you are more than likely to know a veteran. Thank them. Let them know they are appreciated. And help us fight for all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans through Storm the Hill.