Service men and women of the United States Armed Forces often face overwhelming challenges and as they return to their homes, families, and communities. Other veterans never make it home, making the ultimate sacrifice – and leaving behind loved ones in crisis who will never fill the empty space no longer filled by their beloved service member. Mr. Tony Pinto, CEO of S.T.A.T.O.S. Sales Solutions and former VP of SnapOn Tools, is one of those brave servicemen. We fondly call him our “Bionic Tony”, as his tour of duty in Vietnam left him with two artificial shoulders. Because of his personal experience as a veteran, and his commitment to helping others who served our country, Mr. Pinto is hosting a Charity Gala Dinner, Dancing & Casino event on November 10, 2018 at Andretti’s in Marietta, Georgia to raise funds to benefit Wounded Warrior Project as well as Orchard Human Services.
Wounded Warrior Project does fine work to bring support, equipment, and services to veterans who were wounded during their service to our country. Sometimes the wounds are obvious, as with the loss of limb. Other times, the wounds are deep and hidden, as with depression, anxiety, and suicidality. The Wounded Warrior Project does a fine job of informing the public of the serious and dire circumstances of our nation’s veterans. Wounded warriors are one of the largest groups impacted by the nation’s raging Opioid Crisis.
Some of the hidden wounds suffered by veterans are not as quick to heal as those created by bullets and shrapnel. Veterans may experience panic attacks, Opioid addiction, and even PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These veterans suffer on the inside in ways that the typical person cannot even imagine. For this reason, the suicide rate of veterans of the United States Armed Forces is catastrophically high. Less publicized,but equally serious, are the wounds suffered by the families and children of the service members. These are the spaces in which Orchard Human Services seeks to provide support.
Veterans of combat service may return with altered awareness and reactions to every day life. In addition to potential pain and Opioid addiction related to combat wounds, these veterans may also suffer from intense anxiety, explosive rage, and a trigger reaction to otherwise common family situations. Veterans affected by PTSD, anxiety, depression, suicidality, physical pain, disability, and/or Opioid addiction are more likely to respond to family members with a short fuse.
These veterans fall victim to the unseen wounds of war, that cause them to engage in domestic and intimate partner violence. They may engage in addictive behaviors, using alcohol and illegal drugs, to try to drown out the emotional and/or physical pain. The spouses and children of these affected veterans typically suffer deep emotional wounds, and children may suffer from a disruption of healthy development.
Even before service members are discharged from the Armed Forces, their children may suffer disruptions in attachment development while their parents are deployed. A mother or father who is sent to serve for long periods of time is absent and unable to attend to typical parental duties. In some military families, both parents are deployed, leaving children to live with relatives, family friends, and other service families. Every day these children are away from their parents who are serving abroad, the children wonder if this is the day they will learn that a beloved parent has been killed or lost in battle.
Orchard Human Services works to support these families, promoting re-connection and renewal of family ties. Parents and children may engage in dyadic attachment-based interventions to help reconnect parent and child. Spouses may require counseling and support to learn how to deal with a depressed, disabled, or raging spouse who just returned from a combat zone. The veterans, themselves, reach out for support to learn how to re-connect as father, mother, sister, brother, uncle, or aunt to the children who had been left behind.
Now that you know, please join us in extending a loving and supportive hand to our fellow service members. People who fought battles so the rest of us could remain safely at home in a country that is ever watched, ever protected, ever guarded by brave and fine Armed Forces. Welcome them as they come home – no matter what your religious or political affiliation – reach out your hand in friendship, share your time, and help them regain the lives they sometimes lose as part of their vigorous service to our nation.