Am I a Veteran?
Jared Herstine served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard for six years, including a year-long tour in Iraq. However, after leaving the service in 2007 he struggled with unemployment, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He did not immediately seek help at VA; instead, he questioned himself – Am I even a Veteran?
“I’m a young Veteran and I felt really awkward coming to the VA at first because I wasn’t sure if I was a Veteran,” said Jared. “I questioned myself for the longest time.”
Have you recently returned from military service? You ARE a Veteran. A Veteran is defined by federal law, moral code and military service as any person who served for any length of time in any military service branch; and may be eligible for services at the VA. VA Butler’s Operation New Dawn (OND), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Team is here to welcome new Veterans home and to the VA.
After Jared realized he was a Veteran, and needed some help, he came to VA Butler Healthcare. “I’m sure glad I did. The VA is like a second family,” said Jared. “I don’t know where I’d be without the VA today; I’d probably be on the streets.”
Jared participates in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the VA’s Supported Housing (HUD-VASH) Program. The program works to maintain permanent housing in the local community for eligible homeless Veterans and their families. Veterans that are homeless or at-risk for homelessness may contact VA Butler’s Homeless Program Coordinator at 1-800-362-8262, ext. 2439 or call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-424-3838.
Jared is also currently undergoing treatment for PTSD and depression. VA Butler provides consultation, evaluation, and treatment for a variety of issues including depression and PTSD. For more information, Veterans may call 1-800-362-8262, ext 5039. Jared’s advice to other returning service members: “There is help available. Don’t be afraid to ask!”