Veterans Day: Serving those who serve our country

Veterans Day is a time to honor the patriotism, service and sacrifice of the men and women of the U.S. military – past and present.

At Joseph House, a veteran-led organization that provides support and treatment for veterans suffering from addiction, Veterans Day allows clients to reflect on their years of service, share stories and honor their brothers and sisters in arms.

“Joseph House clients served our country well, and deserve to be honored,” said Nate Pelletier, executive director at Joseph House. “Serving those who have served us is one of the most meaningful ways to give back to the greatest nation on earth.”

Programming at the agency features long-term engagement that treats addiction, the clinical root cause of homelessness. On average, 45 clients are served at any given time and stay in Joseph House traditional housing for a period of eight to 12 months, rather than traditional programs’ 30, 60 or 90 days. The agency intakes and exits more than 100 new clients each year. Of those, 70 percent of clients successfully complete the progressive treatment program and sustain permanent housing and income.

“Our clients share the unselfish commitment to serve others just as they did when they were enlisted,” said Alicia Harter, associate director at Joseph House. “The challenges of addiction are in many ways greater than the challenges they faced while in service. They need our support to overcome these challenges and create a new life.”

In 2011, veterans were twice as likely to die from accidental opioid overdoses as non-veterans. Between 70 and 90 percent of current clients at Joseph House are addicted to heroin, compared to just five percent three years ago. According to Newsweek, opioids now account for approximately 63 percent of all drug deaths in the U.S., with fatalities climbing an estimated 20 percent each year. The estimated number of total drug deaths in 2016 topped the total number of soldiers killed in the Iraq and Vietnam wars.

“The battle to control and defeat addiction is a long road. With the support of fellow veterans and our surrounding communities, our clients are empowered to face the journey head-on,” Pelletier added.

Looking for a way to assist veterans? Be an example of the Joseph House mission: we don’t leave our wounded behind. When you make a donation to Joseph House, you make a difference in the life of a veteran suffering from addiction who wants to take the first step in finding a lifetime of recovery.

If you’re a veteran or know a veteran struggling with addiction, please contact Joseph House at [email protected] or 513-241-2965.