What would you say to the statement ”Veterans in America feel like they are outsiders and are disrespected”? Our guess is you would say “No Way”. Well that is exactly what many Veterans tell Venus Azevedo-Laboda, Executive Director and Founder of Boots On Ground, the non-profit Veterans Outreach program.

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This program was developed in order to support and help Veterans and their family members coping and struggling with PTSD and Military suicide. PTSD is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a disorder that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or assault. PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. It affects your life and the people around you.

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The pain of losing her brother led Venus to what is now her life’s mission, helping Military Veterans and their families work together to avoid the suffering and stress caused by PTSD and Military suicide. It’s a heart wrenching story.

 

Venus shared when her younger brother Phillip A. Azevedo, a U.S. Navy Combat Corpsman and Bronze Star recipient, returned home from his deployment in Afghanistan she was so proud of him and his service and accomplishments that she told everyone!

In her efforts to help Phillip, she was saying all the wrong things, unaware that her words were actually triggering his PTSD.

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She shared how she had interrupted an attempt Phillip made to take his own life, but tragically a few days later he made another attempt and she was unable to get to him because he had barricaded the door with furniture.

 

Out of her family’s grief, Venus educated herself in every way possible taking course after course to become as knowledgeable as she could on PTSD and Military Suicide.

 

It was then that she decided to start the nonprofit Boots On Ground (BOG) to help other Veterans and their families in hopes that no one else would have to suffer the loss of a family member like she did.

 

Boots On Ground is the only Veteran driven outreach program in our area. It links Veterans and their family members who are struggling and coping with PTSD and Military suicide to services, education, training in suicide prevention and provides peer to peer support. Visit them on Facebook @bootsongroundbethevoice.

Boots On Ground also does community outreach in schools, businesses, and prisons with an awareness and education approach. It runs on the idea of Veterans helping Veterans and families helping families.

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22 Veterans commit suicide every day and that figure comes from the states that keep track, not all of them do. Pennsylvania is one that does not.

Be the one to Thank a Veteran for their service, and be understanding of what they face returning to civilian life. Through this month’s Awareness Campaign we hope to share the resource of what Boots On Ground is doing so that when you hear of a Veteran and family in need the connection to help can be made.

The Bauer family of companies will be making a donation to Boots On Ground this month as part of our monthly Awareness Campaign.  We ask for your help to pass this post along with shares, likes and reviews so more people will learn what BOG is doing to help Veterans and their families. Greater awareness and connections made by your sharing help promote their honorable mission so please pass along.  Thank you!

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