A Veteran’s Viewpoint
“I have learned that I am still a valid, useful human being, and I can still contribute to my community.”
We honor veterans not only on Veterans Day, but each day of the year for their incredible service to our nation. Disability Network works with our military veterans to help them live more independent and fulfilling lives. Dave, a disabled veteran with PTSD, was connected to Disability Network through the Veteran’s Administration Rehabilitation and Independent Living Program. He served several years in our military protecting our rights, our freedom, and our country.
As a disabled veteran, Dave mentioned an important disability issue for him. He said, “One of the most important [issues] to me is the fact that many veterans are trained to do and be something that others will not or cannot. People believe that our job is done when we become ‘civilians’ again, and that just isn’t so. This is an important issue to Dave, and many veterans like Dave.
He continued to say, “Veterans come from a completely different viewpoint – and we deal with things on a daily basis that most people struggle to even begin to understand. Many times we struggle with it, too. Adding disability to that can ramp up the frustration and hardship many of us face.”
Dave has been deemed unemployable. However, his work with both the Sawaquat Interfaith Ministry and Veteran’s Administration guided him to Disability Network. Through his partnership with Jessie, our Veteran Independent Living Program Manager, it was discovered that his artistic talents really help him cope with his disabilities and life challenges.
Disability Network and Dave worked together to find the therapeutic and corrective devices that help Dave regain and maintain an independent life as a budding artist. Dave has found the support he needs through Disability Network. He continues to work on goals, as this is an ongoing process for him, but through the help of Disability Network he has become more comfortable in larger group situations, is learning more ways to express himself, understanding more about his limitations, and has become more comfortable with the changes his life has taken.
He has become more independent by finding positive outlets that help him deal with life challenges, and is learning the skills he needs to focus on happiness, personal growth, and the positive in life. He said, “I have learned that I am still a valid, useful human being, and I can still contribute to my community. I choose do so as an artist with a disability because it helps me express myself in a more positive and less self-destructive way. Plus, I love seeing the joy in someone’s eyes when they see beauty they did not see before!”
Dave gives back to the community by donating his artwork and woodworking skills to local projects that increase the positive outlook and independence of other disabled veterans. You can view and purchase Dave’s beautiful woodworking at BLK\MRKT coffee, Darling Botanical Co., and he’ll be featured at this year’s Warehouse Market Holiday Sale on December 10, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Visit our Veteran webpage to learn more about the services we offer to support our veterans.