CARPINTERIA, Calif. - A new effort is underway to help returning veterans, their families and others close to the soldiers such as co-workers.
A petition was passed around for signatures at the Memorial Day event by the group Purple Star Families.
Organizer and former Marine John Henry Parker said , "We want nationally standardized preparedness resources for the families so they are readily accessible, so they understand what to do prior to homecoming and when it happens. For the veterans, so they can better anticipate what's going on and have been access to care."
Lorenzo Martinez, a Carpinteria vet said, he appreciates the organizers approach which includes those who are near the returning soldiers. "It's hard for the family members too. They are going through this process and still can't get any help."
He says not being able to help a returning vet, whether you are a family member or a co-worker, "it's pretty hard. We still have a lot of work to do for these veterans. The suicide percentage is terrible."
A decorated veteran from both the Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom combat missions, William Rodriguez said, "families serve as the safety net for returning veterans and many don't have the education to understand what the service members are going through when they return home."
He has committed his efforts towards this cause to help other vets avoid what he went through. "I've suffered from post traumatic stress. I've had a lot of sleepless nights because of this," said Rodriguez. "If I can help other veterans to overcome the obstacles that I have faced then that would be an honor."
For more information log on to www.purplestarfamilies.org