Fulfilling the Promise of Veterans Day Demands a Year-Round Commitment With the election season behind us, politicians of all stripes will now turn toward Veterans Day — a time when everyone is quick to agree that there’s nothing more important than supporting our men and women who have served in the military. But America’s veterans — and the families who support them — deserve more than a day of recognition. It’s time for politicians, policymakers, organizations, and Americans alike to join forces and support a comprehensive, year-round commitment to ensure that the contributions of service members and their families are valued long after their military service ends. In 2010, more than 20 million men and women in the United States were veterans. As the United States works to withdraw from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) — two conflicts that represent the longest-running military engagements in U.S. history — that number is growing every day. With 500 military veterans returning to civilian life each day, the need for a continuum of coordinated services for veterans and their families is at an all-time high. As we know, these individuals face significant difficulties transitioning back into civilian life. A stubbornly bleak job market translates to high unemployment for veterans, and this population is particularly vulnerable to a variety of challenges that keep them from fully participating in the workforce and providing for themselves and their families. Many face physical disabilities such as traumatic brain injury, psychological disabilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as substance abuse, homelessness and long waits for benefits, among others. In addition, military spouses and families face challenges of their own. Managing their households and caring for their children are major stressors, and because military families tend to move more frequently than non-military families, they may find it difficult to pursue long-term employment and career-advancing opportunities. With all that veterans and military families face, they deserve much more than just a day of recognition. Goodwill® calls for a full-year commitment to helping every veteran and military family find employment and secure economic self-sufficiency. Goodwill Industries of Greater Cincinnati is proud to be playing our part in helping many veterans and their families right here at home. In the past four years, Goodwill doubled the number of veterans it served. More than 2600 veterans have been served by Ohio Valley Goodwill over that time period providing them will skill training, job placement and assistance with permanent housing. Since July 2011, nationally, Goodwill employed 1,400 veterans and military family members across the United States and provided supports to more than 50,000 military families, including financial education and counseling. This Veterans Day, Ohio Valley Goodwill calls on policymakers, local organizations, and individuals alike to join us and declare that Veterans Day is not just a day of recognition. It’s an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to veterans and military families — and to ensure we work together and do everything possible to help them succeed.