Posted at: 08/25/2012 10:56 PM
By: Brittany Lewis
FAVA Opens Headquarters in Forest City
(ABC 6 News) -- Veterans, legislators, and community members gathered in Forest City, Iowa today to celebrate the grand opening for FAVA's National Headquarters.
FAVA, which stands for Family Alliance for Veterans of America, provides information, education, and support to Veterans and their famlies. Whether it's problems with reintegration or help finding a service dog, FAVA can help.
Rhonda Jordal, a mother of Veterans, is Chairman of the organization.
"It's so needed, we need the services for our veternas as well as the family members, family members serve to," said Jordal.
One of the reasons FAVA is so beneficial for veterans and their families is that many of their staff members are veterans, or have family members that served. That shared experience creates a trusting bond, that veterans might not be able to find elsewhere.
Dave Younquist served in the Vietnam War and suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms for 35 years.
"I self treated myself through working hard, not thinking about the war and putting myself to sleep at night by having several shots of alcohol," he said.
And he's not alone. One in three returning soldiers have been diagnosed with serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms. And that leads to another staggering statistic, according to FAVA, 18 Veterans per day on average commit suicide.
"They've given up hope that someone will understand or that things can get better," said Dan Bernal, a United States Army Veteran.
Which is why a place, like FAVA is so valuable to returning soldiers.
"FAVA uses the term, you are not alone," said Bernal.
A simple motto that goes a long, long way.
FAVA currently serves 14 counties and around 17,000 veterans. Veterans and their family members are encouraged to visit FAVA.