A Veteran’s New Mission | Navy.com

Chris Vidaurre is the senior program supervisor for well being and well-being inside the Navy Service Initiative on the George W. Bush Institute.

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Caring for our personal is what Marines do, one thing which may have appeared like a platitude however gained private resonance after I left the Corps.

Shortly after departing the Marines, separated from the construction of service and left to grapple with my ideas and feelings, my world spiraled. I ended up dwelling on the streets of San Antonio and in a homeless shelter.

I used to be overcome by “the invisible wounds of conflict” and have become a statistic — one other homeless veteran battling psychological sickness. My relationships with family and friends had been wrecked, and my ex-fiancée reached her restrict and will not deal with my temper swings, constant anger, and hatred towards others. I did not know what to do and felt utterly misplaced.

A fellow Marine heard of my scenario and provided to assist. His household took me in and ensured I used to be protected and had individuals who cared for me.

As we head into this season of gratitude, I am grateful for individuals who helped me by way of this darkish chapter in my life. These experiences, and others I had whereas within the Marines, have led me to my true calling and lifelong mission: to deal with different veterans, navy service members and their households. As many put together for vacation celebrations, I name on my fellow veterans — and the general public — to not overlook our brothers and sisters in arms who’re struggling, or their households.

It took me 9 months to get again on my ft and be capable of reside alone as soon as once more. However I am one of many lucky ones. With out the help of my fellow veteran and his household — and their bigheartedness — I actually do not know the place I would be proper now.

If you be a part of the navy, you recognize kind of what you have got signed up for, and a part of that’s the potential of making the final word sacrifice. However most do not consider the next psychological well being challenges or the doable burden they impose on households.

I served in the US Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Battalion East (WWBn-E), the place I used to be a part of the Marine Corps Liaison that aided wounded, unwell and injured Marines and their relations on the San Antonio Navy Medical Middle (SAMMC) and Walter Reed Nationwide Navy Medical Middle (WRNMMC). This allowed me to see firsthand the massive influence navy service has on relations — and never in the way in which you’d anticipate.

Usually, relations communicate extremely of their family members’ service after they honorably served in fight and got here again unscathed. This wasn’t the case for the relations at SAMMC and WRNMMC. As a substitute, we noticed the ache, worry and powerful, unidentified feelings that ran by way of these relations each day.

It did not daybreak on me till many months later that it might have been my family members, seeing me in a hospital with an surprising sickness or a fight damage, or sitting there with fewer limbs than I had left with. For the 2 and a half years I served with this unit, I handled each household as in the event that they had been my very own and demanded my fellow Marines give the identical respect. We had by no means met these relations earlier than, however we had been keen to do no matter we might to make sure their service member was receiving the right therapy and that every one of their wants had been met throughout their time of misery.

After I grew to become a veteran, after my life went off the rails and after it received again on monitor, I noticed one thing: All veterans have a accountability to pay it ahead. And I’ll do all that I can to stop my service brothers and sisters and their households from going by way of the identical hardships that I endured.

After practically 12 years of service in each the energetic and reserve parts, 4 deployments and 5 responsibility stations, and after homelessness, anger administration lessons and court-ordered psychological well being care, my life won’t ever be the identical. I’ve a brand new mission and dedication to serve others that started on the Steven A. Cohen Navy Household Clinic at Endeavors, a faith-based group that works to revive dignity and enhance the standard of lifetime of weak populations, together with veterans and their relations.

Now, I’ve a brand new alternative: to proceed to satisfy my mission of serving veterans on the George W. Bush Institute, which I not too long ago joined as well being and well-being program supervisor for the Navy Service Initiative. This may enable me to work with like-minded people to form a future for veterans in areas corresponding to management growth, schooling, financial alternative, and well being and well-being.

I do know I’m part of one thing a lot higher than myself that has been guided and impressed by President and Mrs. Bush. I’m excited in regards to the mission that lies forward.

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