Like many others, Robyn Pontious would like to see Americans thank and support their veterans more than once a year.
And, she would like to see them ready to provide ongoing support when men and women leave the military and return home.
“Coming home from the military, although a happy event, can also be a very difficult task,” said Pontious, the quartermaster at VFW Post 9770 in Brownstown.
Pontious, who ended a six-year stint in the Navy in 2008, was the keynote speaker at the Veterans Day program on Tuesday at Northside Christian Church in Vandalia.
“When we arrive home, we leave a big part of ourselves behind,” she said.
No longer an officer in the armed services, those returning home face some big adjustments … and challenges.
“Sometimes, we don’t even feel like we tbelong in our home. Our relationships with friends and family may begin to suffer because what we have experienced has changed us in many ways, and it makes it feel difficult to relate to others,” Pontious said.
“Please be patient with them, just love them, just give them time, and let them know that they are appreciated,” she said.
“Our pursuit to find our own way after the military can be very disheartening and often discouraging. This feeling of being lost can be overwhelming.
“We struggle to find jobs. With our training and expertise, we are overqualified for many jobs, and that same training and expertise causes us to be under-qualified for many others,” Pontious said.
Upon returning home, she said, one of the difficulties is that “the structure we are used to is no longer present. We are trained not to fail.
“Please encourage a veteran to persevere, to not give up,” she said.
“Pray for those in the military, and I ask that you do not forget to pray for those who have returned and are struggling to find their place in the world,” Pontious said.
“Reach out and offer assistance – what seems like such a small gesture to you and I can make a huge impact on a veteran struggling to make their way.
“Never underestimate an act of kindness,” she said.