There is a consequence of war so huge and powerful that it can envelop a veteran’s entire life and dreams, upending his or her family’s lives as well. The internal anguish of post-traumatic stress and brain injury doesn’t always show on the outside. But it can be as difficult and frustrating – to both veterans and caregivers – as physical battle injuries, simmering relentlessly for decades and sometimes exploding at unexpected times.
Wendy Samples may have been the only Frontline Families AmeriCorps member in the entire state of Mississippi over the last year, but her friend and colleague, Heath Dearman, said she has been the perfect fit for this role.
When it comes to serving her community, Angela Collins speaks about the “magic” – or individual talents – of each person involved. One’s “magic,” she explained, is his or her natural talent, an ordinary thing that he or she does better than most. Angela believes that each person’s skills are magic to everyone else. “So when you figure out what people’s magic is and you put it to use in the community, to build community, to create community, to bring people together, that’s where the magic happens,” Angela said.
Volunteerism is proven to be a successful bridge that links veterans and military families with their community through civic engagement, improves their physical and emotional well-being, and provides meaningful connections with their civilian neighbors to create more vibrant and resilient communities.