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There is no shortage of military benefits out there, but do most veterans know they are there?


There is no shortage of accolades expressed by Americans for the troops here and abroad that are fighting for our right to argue, debate, kill each other and generally do whatever we want in a democracy.


Soon another 50,000 troops will stream home from Iraq and Afghanistan over the next two years.  Many concerned citizens  ask how can we serve our  veterans with the same sacrifice that they have shown us?


 And there is no shortage of problems  facing these warriors as they land on safe shores here at home.   Some of these problems include permanent supportive housing and comprehensive counseling.   This is needed to prevent chronic homelessness.


Add to these complex issues such as substance abuse, mental health, and family isolation. There are programs that provide real-world counseling to fast-track veterans to jobs, internships, and education where they can regain their confidence and get back on their feet.


In this connection we at home should remember that most of these veterans  through their service have experienced leadership, demonstrated courage and discipline.  How many of us in our day to day toil dealing with making a living and taking care of our families in a broken down economy  have had the opportunity to experience the same qualities?


Think how difficult it is and has been for those at home to find affordable housing, attainable jobs,  and remain relatively free from the anxiety of crowds and noise.  Imagine coming home from the real battle field to a chaotic society already trying to cope with joblessness, addictions and inadequate education.


Recognizing  these monumental problems is a great first step and the Department of Defense is revamping its exit process to better connect returning veterans to services and resources they need. In  this respect, we can also do a better job of  helping them  to know about resources and services available to them.


The Department of Veterans Affairs has called for zero homeless veterans by 2015. With 75,000 veterans still on the streets on any one night, it is a tall order, but together with the strategic support of the government, businesses, social services and private citizens,  it can be done.


Employers have programs in place to give priority to veterans seeking employment.


Many organizations are mounting programs and events  that equally many are not aware of.    On 12 February 2012, the Kaleidoscope Center in Mission Viejo, CA held a special event to benefit wounded veterans and their families through Freedom Is Not Free.


The Kaleidoscope Center generously offered to raise funds to support veterans in several ways. For every 'like' their Facebook received between 1 and 12 February, they donated $1 to Freedom Is Not Free! They also generously donated a portion of sales from the day.


Many veterans and many of us are not aware of the many resources that exist that offer assistance and help on many levels.  We , as well as the veterans, need to spread the word of these resources as it would be shameful to have solutions  to problems that are not used.


American military families may be eligible for certain benefits  they haven't been informed of. Such benefits include home, education, life insurance, legal matters, and health care. Knowing your family's options is just the beginning.


There are many free services that provide veterans with the necessary tools that may assist them  in all these areas. Help veterans discover them.


















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