COLORADO SPRINGS – It’s a weekend to remember the thousands of brave men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Veterans Day is this Sunday.
The holiday is a good reminder for everyone that veterans can have a tough road to walk when they return home.
In light of the tragic shooting in Thousand Oaks, California earlier this week many are wondering if something could’ve been done to help the gunman who was a Marine Corps vet. News 5 learned that he had contacts with law enforcement and that a mental health crisis team was called to his house earlier this year.
Local organizations have said to prevent incidents like this from happening again it’s going to take a community-wide effort.
“Why aren’t there more resources or why we don’t have the services we have here in Colorado Springs in each state?”
They were the first questions Jerome Ford asked himself after learning of the horror that took place in Thousand Oaks.
“Heartbreaking, heartbreaking. My wife and I sat down and watched the news together and we just say why?”
Ford is the program director at The Crawford House-Colorado Veteran’s Resource Coalition. Wednesday’s shooting is a horrible reminder of the mental issues soldiers can sometimes struggle with after coming home.
Ford said, “It’s tough for these guys when they come back home so services need to be here and that’s why I’m very, very thankful to be here in Colorado Springs…the services here…awesome.”
The Crawford House provides housing for homeless vets as well as treatment and rehab services for veterans suffering from substance abuse and/or chronic mental illness.
Other organizations that provide mental health care are Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center and the Colorado Springs VA Clinic.
“If you know of a veteran who needs that support the best thing for you to do is reach out to them. We’ll give them a recommendation.”
That’s where Ford said it all starts-with the community getting involved and watching out for warning signs.
“What I’ve noticed is when veterans are being…just being very quiet, not talking and don’t want to talk.”
Alcohol abuse and using different drugs can be other red flags.
“If we’re not reaching out we’re going to have problems. If we see someone who needs help and we just look at them and move on we’re going to have problems.”
So from family members, to friends, to strangers on the street, supporting veterans is a mission for all of us.
If you’d like more information on local resources to help veterans CLICK HERE.