By BEN WEATHERSThe Capital of Annapolis
FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — For Army Sgt. Theodore Jones, the aggressive is like a biologic – one that’s adamantine to kick.
Jones, 34, has been in the aggressive for all of his developed life. But afterwards a deployment to Iraq in 2007, Jones alternate with wounds harder to ascertain than scars or missing limbs.
After Jones was diagnosed with astringent post-traumatic accent disorder, the Army absitively that he was no best fit for service. Now, afterwards 16 years, his aggressive career is advancing to an end and Jones is about to activate a new life.
“I’m boring aggravating to wean myself off of aggressive service,” Jones said. “I anticipate it’s time for me to get out. It’s adamantine for me to accord that up.”
For those like Jones, abrogation the aggressive can be a alarming thought. But there is help.
The Soldier and Ancestors Abetment Centermost at Fort George G. Meade helps soldiers like Jones acquisition jobs and added their educations. The center’s agents consists of four ex-service associates who advice soldiers address resumes, adapt for interviews and acquisition scholarships.
Last month, agents associates helped adapt their aboriginal job fair accurately for blood-soaked veterans. About 80 administration participated.
Nationwide, unemployment amid veterans is 8.3 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. In Maryland, that allotment is estimated at 5.3.
There are countless opportunities for soldiers acquisitive to blooper aback into the noncombatant assignment force, but award them can be an cutting task, said Mark Stoessel, administrator of the abetment center.
For Stoessel, the center’s mission is simple – giving soldiers the accoutrement they charge to anticipate unemployment, homelessness or worse. The accompaniment estimates there are some 4,000 abandoned veterans inMaryland.
“There’s so abounding things out there for them, but it’s so adamantine to amount them all out,” Stoessel said. “That’s what we’re aggravating to do – to advice them alteration aback into noncombatant life.”——Life in transition
Next month, the abetment centermost will bless its one-year ceremony at its own building.
The affairs launched in February 2008 in the Army Association Casework architecture at Fort Meade. But added amplitude was bare for the casework the centermost provides, Stoessel said.
“Before the architecture opened aftermost year, we were allurement for allowance all over the base,” Stoessel said.
The cardinal of soldiers accepting abetment at the centermost averages amid 175 to 185 at any accustomed time, Stoessel said.
The soldiers who appear to the centermost for advice are in the Warrior in Alteration Unit, a command for soldiers cat-and-mouse for the Army Medical Evaluation Board to adjudge whether they’re still fit toserve.
For some of those soldiers, the wounds are physical. For others, they are not.
Many, like Jones, ache from post-traumatic stress.
Jones had become decumbent to violence. He said that anon afore advancing to Fort Meade, he captivated a knife to the throat of a adolescent soldier afterwards the man affective his arm.
It wasn’t until afterwards Jones accustomed that he accomplished he bare help. The ability came, he said, aback he followed a motorist home one day off the column afterwards the man cut him off in traffic.
“That’s aback I knew I had a problem,” Jones said.
He said the anticipation of abrogation the aggressive was difficult to appear to agreement with.
“When I got actuality . I didn’t appetite to allocution to anybody,” Jones said. “The alone affair I cared about was accepting aback to the fight.”
Through the center, Jones eventually landed an internship with software developer Praxis Engineering. The affiliated ancestor of three hopes to accept in an developed abstraction affairs at Wilmington University, a his ancestors home in Delaware.
He hopes to abide alive for the software developer while demography classes in psychology, eventually alms advice to soldiers like himself.
“I apperceive from actuality here, I can advice a lot of soldiers,” he said.——
Like Jones, Agents Sgt. Jessie White additionally is advancing for a activity afterwards the Army.
The affiliated ancestor of three campaign 50 afar from his abode in Bel Air to the abetment centermost every day.
“This is my home abroad from home. I’m actuality at atomic already a day,” White said.
White’s 17-year-old son sometimes accompanies him. The centermost additionally provides casework to ancestors members, including allowance spouses acquisition jobs.
“Everything we do is accessible to the family,” Stoessel said. “It’s a healing action and the ancestors is allotment of that healing.”
In accession to allowance soldiers acquisition application and scholarships, the centermost does the aforementioned for spouses.
White came to the centermost aftermost June afterwards spending a year and a bisected at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
In Iraq, an improvised atomic accessory burst White’s appropriate ankle, consistent in assorted operations. He additionally suffered a alarming academician abrasion that afflicted his memory.
Like Jones, the account that he was no best fit for account was adamantine to swallow.
White said that aback a advisor at the centermost asked him what he would appetite to do afterwards he larboard the Army, he drew a blank.
“I said, `I’ve been in the Army 17 years. I don’t apperceive annihilation else,’ “White said.
That was aback the advisor aboriginal aloft the achievability of White activity to college.
White wasn’t abiding at aboriginal what he capital to study, but the centermost helped breeding his constant absorption in sports. It offers a cardinal of classes and recreational programs.
White, a self-described “sports nut,” began accommodating in amateur such as wheelchair basketball and sled hockey. An ardent bow hunter, he additionally took up archery.
Last year, he was asked to participate in the Army’s Warrior Games, at which he won two gold medals and one silver.
He additionally enrolled in a association college, area he is now in his third semester.
White hopes to alteration to Towson University and become a concrete apprenticeship teacher. He teaches an archery chic on the column every Tuesday and Thursday.
White believes he wouldn’t accept enrolled in academy after the center.
“I never accepted to go to college. . I never went to academy – that’s the aftermost affair I anytime anticipation of,” he said. “I couldn’t accept done it after them.”
Jones goes further.
If it wasn’t for the center, Jones said, he acceptable would accept taken his own life.
“I’d apparently be dead,” he said.
Information from: The Capital of Annapolis, Md., http://www.hometownannapolis.com/
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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