1999 saw the rise of the Veteran Transition Network (VTN) through the sponsorship of BC/Yukon Legion Branches and the University of British Columbia.
Its mission is to help Canadian Veterans across the nation re-integrate into society, local communities, and with family. To date Veteran Transition Programs have helped close to 400 Veterans rebuild relationships with partners, spouses, and children, while supporting the creation of meaningful career paths. And it’s totally free due to generous partners and donors, such as you!
Doctors Marv Westwood, David Kuhl, and Timothy Black are the founding members of the VTN who are accompanied by a number of top-shelf clinicians and staff. The website is impressive and encourages Canadian Veterans to contact them via phone, email, Facebook, or Twitter.
The programs have been refined over 15 years of research to help Canadian Veterans with:
- Adjusting to living back at home
- Trying to make sense of their military experiences
- Getting a job and finding careers
- Exploring who they are now
- The desire to tell their story
- Rebuilding relationships with family and friends
- Wanting to find themselves again
- Moving on and getting back to “living”
Admittedly, I wish there was a program like this when I left the British Army.
I was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and completely clueless as to where to turn. I was lucky in having a decent trade that landed me a job in no time – although it didn’t take much negotiating. I was confused by the varying benefit packages, private pensions, healthcare, dental, and generally why everything was so bloody expensive. I was missing the PX. Who didn’t love those stores! Cigarettes were a few dollars a pack and being on NATO missions meant I had access to so many of them. I’d get Dom Perignon from the French PX (I still have a bottle), backpacks and fleeces from the Norwegian PX, Swarovski crystal (for the folks back home) from the German PX, and pretty much everything else from the American PX (Bowling Balls to Pickled Pigs Feet). I’d come home on leave feeling like Santa. I was filled with pride at what I was doing, how my family and friends viewed me, how everyone back home viewed me.
You’re one day flying high with a regiment of friends, friends willing to fight and die for you, with everything taken care of, and more perks than you can wish for, to the next standing in the street, resume in hand, staring up at the towering buildings around you, and feeling the warm embrace of the army slowly dissipate. You’re alone and have nobody to turn to. It’s hard for family and friends to understand. Your buddies understood, but they’re not around anymore to sympathize and offer support. Like I said, I wish there was a program like this when I left. It would have helped ease the transition and show that there are others in the same boat, like me, trying to make things work and lead a happy and fulfilling life.
The good news is that this program exists now and has helped close to 400 Veterans transition from the Canadian Forces to a life worth living. They didn’t do it alone and couldn’t have without the support of generous donors, such as you, which we are hugely grateful for!
Here’s how you can contact the Veterans Transition Network:
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