Sometimes injuries to war veterans may not be seen on the outside, but the struggle and pain is real.
Support groups may make all the difference. The At Ease program came to Grand Island two years ago to help those who gave so much to serve the United States.
Recently veterans wanted to do more community outreach events, so they organized a blood-drive that took place on Wednesday.
Army veteran Ryan Kaufman joined the ‘At-Ease' program six months ago, and through the program he's now helping others, like by volunteering at Wednesday's blood drive.
Kaufman said, "One of the things I suffer from time to time is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and that isolates me and gets me to avoid certain things in my life; like driving in the community. There was a time I couldn't walk out the door, I had to have another veteran come and take me to get services."
Now Kaufman has reached out to 30 local vets in region three. It includes areas from Kearney to York and O'Neill to Fullerton. The group tries to help all war veterans with any therapeutic service.
Sharon Robino-West, a Marine Corp veteran and Lead Program Specialist for the At Ease Program, said, "Veterans don't ask for help, so for 30 people to have the courage to come in and say I need a hand is a big deal."
Robino-West said there are many veterans like Ryan out there, and that's why a support group means so much; and through the At-Ease program, veterans created the Vets 4 Vets support group.
Members of the Vets-4-Vets group decided to become more involved in the community. Their first outreach was a blood drive held at the Grand Island VA Medical Center and The Red Cross.
Robino-West said, "People go into the service for various reasons, but a lot of times what they don't think about is that they want to service. This is giving them a chance to continue to serve."
Giving back and continuing to serve may have made some veterans' day easier.
Kaufman said, "It wasn't hard to leave the house this morning; it wasn't hard to get on the road."
The program is offered through the Lutheran Family Services. It's free and open to all veterans, regardless of how they left the armed forces.
For more information, log on to http://www.lfsneb.org/.