There are more than 20 U.S. veteran suicides every day. Every day. This statistic disproportionally affects older veterans, such as those who served in the Vietnam War, who found they weren’t welcome back home.
“We were spit on, yelled at, cursed… most of us took off our uniforms and never spoke of our service again,” said Mike Jambor, a U.S. Army veteran and husband to America’s Preferred Home Warranty (APHW) Area Sales Manager Team Leader Kathy Jambor. Veterans like Mike came home before there was help for people with PTSD. “It was very clear to me that Mike was majorly impacted by his service when he returned,” Kathy said. “Returning to civilian life was really challenging for him.”
Times Have Changed
Fast forward 20 years, and these two have found their place together—not just as part of society but as members of Band of Runners, a non-profit organization which helps veterans and their surviving family members heal through trail running.
“When we got the opportunity to enhance the lives of our returning veterans through physical and social activity, we jumped in with both feet,” Mike said.
Veteran’s Day Weekend
Kathy and Mike signed up as volunteers for the Band of Runners Annual Veterans Day Weekend Trail Running Camp, with high hopes of making a difference.
“Think of how isolating it would have been for those who came home with combat-related stress or injuries, plus the impact that had on their families,” Mike said. “The purpose of the trail camp is to introduce veterans—and surviving family members who have suffered the loss of a soldier—to the therapeutic benefits of trail running and the trail running community. It’s so welcoming and supportive, and if we save one person by connecting them to their community, those positive ripples go out forever.”
Both Mike and Kathy have gained immeasurably from these experiences in volunteering. “Veterans are such a valuable asset to our communities and, by extension, our country,” Mike said. “These people understand service, loyalty, integrity, teamwork… we owe them an assist back into the larger community after their service.”
Veterans Crisis Line
If you or someone you know is a Veteran in crisis, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1.800.273.8255 or text 838255. Volunteers are available 24/7 for a confidential conversation by phone or text.
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