SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - “Anyone who has been in a combat area, if not even in direct combat… you can be a cook in the back, you’re affected. I can’t believe that you’re not affected at some level,” Peter Michael Rogine, a Vietnam Veteran, expressed.
Many veterans say coming home from service is the most challenging part. They don’t know how to go back to a normal life and find the tools that they need to do it.
“You might feel like you don’t have a lot of services or resources in the town, but the Senior Center provides a lot of resources and also a social engagement that can really benefit and help with loneliness,” April Moschini, the Senior Center Manager, explained.
In Sarasota County, where we have a large elderly population, many seniors use The Friendship Center as a place to socialize. This can be beneficial for senior veterans as well, but it’s also a place where they can get help with any issue they may face – and do it in a fun and judge-free environment.
“Find proactive care, reaching out to legitimate veterans, who may or may not be struggling,” said Rogine.
They have a program in connection with the Veteran Affairs, but also have a medical center on site where veterans can get treatment for illnesses including post-traumatic stress disorder.
“People often use the phrase ‘This saved our lives,’” said Paula Falk, the Director of Caregiving Services, told us.
These veterans say they hope the outreach programs continue to ensure that all those who served are getting the help they need.
“A healthier family unit, a healthier community, a healthier state, a healthier country,” Rogine added, “So we wouldn’t have this shame of not talking about it like what’s going on? Why are these men and women having all these problems?”
Officials want veterans to know that they do not have to suffer in silence. That there is care available to them.
“We are fortunate to know that we’ve got places where people can sit and speak with someone to really get the direction and the support that they need. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is available,” expressed Falk.
To find out more about the resources available for veterans at The Senior Friendship Center, click here.