~by Lynn Matthews
According to United States Census Bureau, there are approximately 304,000 veterans living in Louisiana. The majority are 65 years and older. Despite the amazing benefits provided to our veterans, there is a large gap between the veterans and benefits the US government provides for them. This gap is being bridged by Veterans United For Justice.
RHM has had the distinct pleasure of being granted an interview from its founder, Douglas Ducote Sr. Sr. Staff Sergeant, Ducote, served in the Baton Rouge, La. Civil Air Patrol as both a cadet and as a Senior Member, active duty US Army, Army National Guard, and the Air National Guard. Sr. Staff Sergeant Ducote served his country for 18 years, Operation Golden Pheasant, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and then was medically retired in 2004.
Veterans United for Justice is a Louisiana non-profit, whose primary goals is to Help veterans get through the broken VA system. Veterans trying to get into the VA system can be challenging. Often there is up to a six-month wait just to get through the paperwork. A tremendous problem for our vets, due to incompetence from external hiring practices of the Veterans administration. Veterans United for Justice helps our Vets expedite the paperwork.
Other services they provide is to assist veterans in the system of appeals when dealing with disability claims. They are an advocate through congress and have been successful in getting the attention of Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana to help our veterans gain attention in congress.
One of their more incredible programs, Music Therapy Program, based on the principle that everyone has music to which they can relate, takes veterans and their families to concerts, where they can go back stage and meet the performers. An incredibly successful program, where veterans have met performers such as Ted Nugent, Kiss, Mark Chesnutt, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, as well as others.
They offer free PTSD counseling, which is an invaluable service to our veterans. Even those whom have not experienced combat, the change of coming to a new environment after serving in the armed service for a period of time is traumatic by itself. The move and the transition from receiving orders to having to acquire basic things can itself be extremely stressful.
Our veterans are America’s most treasured resource. Both at home and abroad. They deserve to be heard, and have a happy productive life. Integrating them back into society in a healthy manner is the goal of Veterans United for Justice. For more information on this incredible program or to donate to this worthy cause Click this link