Op-Ed: Isn’t it time to help our Veterans
By Mark Demetropoulos
Last year, our nation’s leaders completely withdrew from military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. American forces had been there for nearly 20 years - after the 9-11 terror attacks were organized from Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban government.
In the 20 years since 9-11, over 30,177 active-duty personnel and veterans of American military service have died by suicide.
By comparison 7,057 military service members have been killed in combat during that same 20-year time span.
It’s time we as Americans do more to prevent veteran suicide. We owe it to our Veterans who have put their lives on the line to persevere our freedom and liberty.
Veterans make up roughly seven (7%) of the US Population. According to a recent news article, “Suicide rates among active-duty military members are currently at an all-time high since record-keeping began after 9/11 and have been increasing over the past five years at an alarmingly steady pace.”
The Veterans Administration (“VA”) was established to assist our Veterans, however, many of these Veterans desperately need more financial and emotional support.
Too many of these veterans are disabled and struggle to do the basic task of being able to freely maneuver in their own home. Therefore it is up to us private average citizens to do all we can to help them.
One person who has stood up and accepted the challenge of caring for Veterans is a young woman named Francesca DiPaola, who is the Chair and CEO of a group that supports and helps Veterans called “Homes for Veterans.”
Homes for Veterans was started by her late father, Doug DiPaola, and does wonders for Veterans, which includes installing fixtures in veteran’s homes, widening doorways, installing ramps, modifying kitchens and creating roll-in showers.
Homes for Veterans provides the funds for these necessary installations. These installations and fixtures makes the lives of the Veterans more pleasant and enjoyable.
In addition, Homes of Veterans, provides assistance to all Veterans young and old as well as veterans who did not service in combat zones. This is important because many veterans are in need of assistance and if they did not serve in a combat zone, many do not get financial assistance from the US Government.
Francesca’s father Doug DiPaola started this organization in 2009 when our nation was in a severe recession and he learned that a friend of his who was a Veteran became homeless. Mr. DiPaola, a construction manager, channeled his love of construction and ability to fix anything with his passion for veterans, thus creating the “Homes for Veterans” organization.
Today, Francesca is an experienced fundraiser and business sales woman, who uses her knowledge to continue helping our Veterans, by running this organization. The contact information to donate to her group can be found at: www.HomesForVeterans.us ; facebook.com/HomesForVeteransUS and at @Homes4Veterans. Francesca DiPaola can be contacted at: Francesca@homesforvetrans.us and (201) 660-8364.
It is up to us American public to spend our time and efforts to help private veteran support programs and veteran fundraisers. Also, it’s up to us the general American public to put pressure on our elected representatives both state and federal to help the lives of those veterans who sacrificed so much for all of us.