Local organization working to help veterans transition into civilian life after serving

(Courtesy: Justin Higgins)
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Kathy Lowrey Gallowitz is a co-founder of the Veteran Interfaith Bridge. Veteran Interfaith Bridge offers two military ministry trainings. The trainings include a two and a half hour long introduction course along with a four to six hour more in depth one.

The training equips volunteer faith community leaders to create military ministries in partnership with clergy. This training will focus on providing practical support for Veterans who are transitioning into life after service.

Lieutenant Colonel Gallowitz said the training will help connect non-profits, the Ohio National Guard's robust family readiness program and services provided by the Veteran Affairs.

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She is a veteran herself and comes from a military family. She said post military service, veterans can experience isolation, challenges in social settings such as making non-military friends, finding and keeping a career, challenges in the change in lifestyle and also identity confusion.

"When we take off our uniforms we really feel a loss of identity," Kathy Lowrey Gallowitz said.

For Ted Oravecz, he said this topic is a conversation that is had many times but he would like to continue seeing more efforts being made to help veterans. He served as a special agent with the U.S. Army Intelligence and served in Vietnam as an advisor.

"We ask people to serve and then after they serve it's like thank you very much welcome home hero, now go live your life but there isn't always the support for them," Oravecz said.

He said when he made the transition he was lucky to have the support from his family and friends as well as having a job lined up. However, he knows many people who serve don't have the support they need or a job opportunity ready for them.

"They've been in one world so much so long so that when they get out it's sometimes hard for them to find the right way to communicate with the civilian world," Don Ross said.

Don Ross is the president of Ross Wealth Advisors where he helps families with retirement planning. Ross also has 35 years of experience serving and currently is in the reserve.

He help many families but said 15 to 20 percent of them are veterans who have served in some way. He said he sees the challenges veterans face when it comes to getting back on their feet after serving.

"The beauty of the military is a phenomenal structure but when you're coming back to the civilian world when you need assistance it can be difficult," Ross said.

Ross is heavily involved at Trinity United Methodist Church and feels training programs like the Veteran Interfaith Bridge can help change lives in many ways. He said one of the ways it can help is by providing support and by welcoming Veterans back into their community.