Mark Hedman: Helpful Resources for Veterans and Their Families

Many of America‭’‬s veterans risked their lives for our country and sacrificed time with family to guarantee our freedom and live a better life.‭ ‬They often return home or retire broken and in need of help and support from the very people they fought to protect freedom for.‭

It‭’‬s not just the veterans.‭ ‬Their families are significantly impacted as well.‭ ‬Military life isn‭’‬t easy.‭ ‬Vets and their families often need help and support,‭ ‬but it can be difficult to find available resources.‭ ‬So,‭ ‬here are some places for veterans and their families to get support to make life a little easier.‭

Education and Career

Here are career and education resources for vets.

Able Flight Program at Purdue University

Able Flight offers aviation and flight career training to veterans with disabilities.‭ ‬This program helps vets develop more self-reliance and self-confidence as they take this training,‭ ‬which means a lot.‭

It‭’‬s a non-profit supported by sponsorships and donations from corporations,‭ ‬foundations and individuals.‭ ‬Training like‭ ‬this is invaluable‭–‬not just for career training,‭ ‬but it makes great strides in helping vets overcome some of their greatest obstacles.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits

One of the most difficult things for veterans after they retire is getting back into the workforce and used to civilian life.‭ ‬There are many jobs that seem like a natural fit for‭ ‬military service members.‭ ‬Putting on a‭ ‬security guard uniform or law enforcement duty belt is similar to the duties and jobs military vets worked in the service.

The‭ ‬Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense

The Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense offers education and career counseling and has a Vocational Rehabilitation and an Employment Program.‭ ‬This program helps vets with service-connected disabilities‭ ‬find sustainable careers that veterans and their families can be proud of.‭

Their education and career counseling offer benefits coaching and customized support.‭ ‬They also evaluate your past service experience and help you find career options based on your capabilities and interests.‭

Dog Tag Bakery

This unique resource trains veterans with disabilities at Georgetown University and offers them real-life work experience in a small business.‭ ‬Dog Tag Bakery’s mission is to empower service-disabled veterans,‭ ‬their caregivers and spouses to find a community and purpose through their entrepreneurship and business fellowship program.

They receive education and on-the-job training while experiencing how a real-world business operates.‭


Military Family Resources

These are a couple of resources for military families to make life a little easier.

Military Child Care

The Department of Defense has‭ ‬programs for military child care.‭ ‬They know that DoD and military-affiliated families need quality and affordable child care.‭ ‬It has a direct impact on the morale,‭ ‬retention and mission-readiness of personnel all over the world.

There are a variety of programs available,‭ ‬from school-aged child care to infants and preschool-aged children.‭ ‬It‭’‬s even more difficult when one parent deploys out of the country or gets stationed far away and their families go with them to a new place.

National Military Family Association

National Military Family Association‭ (‬NMFA‭) ‬is the go-to place for key decision-makers so they can understand the problems military families face.‭ ‬It has a variety of resources,‭ ‬like military spouse scholarships and Operation Purple Program,‭ ‬that brings military kids together for unique summer camp experiences.‭

The Operation Purple Program also has family retreats and Buddy Camp that builds resiliency and one-on-one bonding with children five to‭ ‬12‭ ‬years of age and an adult.‭ ‬They also offer healing adventures for family fun to help families adjust after a service member is injured.‭ ‬Wellness is also a critical component of the program.

Veterans Families United

Vets return home with both mental and physical scars,‭ ‬and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder‭ (‬PTSD‭) ‬is a common issue that families must‭ ‬face.‭ ‬Veterans Families United has resources that help vets and their families deal with PTSD and also have a list of therapies,‭ ‬as well as other related issues and support.‭ ‬This resource is a centralized location for veterans and families to find critical immediate and ongoing help in dealing with PTSD.

Veterans Coming Home

Veterans Coming Home is a go-to source for many solutions that focus on the challenges that families deal with when their veteran returns home.‭ ‬There are many resources available,‭ ‬and the relationship with these vets goes both ways.‭ ‬Communities gain invaluable benefits from‭ ‬the veteran‭’‬s commitment and skills.

They have high standards for resources‭–‬meaning they are credible‭–‬and are free to vets and their families.‭ ‬Resources must be easy for people to access,‭ ‬and the creators of the programs must be nonpartisan.‭ ‬Examples of programs include:

      • A guide to veterans‭’‬ benefits
      • A guide to veterans‭’‬ educational benefits
      • Online career pathway tool
      • Tips for adjusting to student life
      • Alamo Call-A-Ride‭ ‬4‭ ‬Vets
      • American Red Cross Veteran Services

The list goes on.

General Resources for Veterans

The National Veterans Foundation ensures no one is left behind with crisis management,‭ ‬referral needs and general information for veterans.‭ ‬They operate and manage the first vet-to-vet toll-free help hotline for veterans and their families.‭ ‬Lifeline for Vets offers public awareness programs that show the desperate needs of American veterans.‭

Founder of the National Veterans Foundation Floyd‭ “‬Shad‭”‬ Meshad has worked with vets since‭ ‬1970.‭ ‬He started as a Medical Service Officer counseling soldiers in the field during the Vietnam War.‭ ‬Meshad continued to counsel veterans through his work with the Los Angeles Veterans Administration and co-founded the VA‭’‬s Vet Center program.

Veterans from the wars in Vietnam,‭ ‬Cold War,‭ ‬Afghanistan and Iraq staff the hotline and have special training to help vets with referral services and crisis information.‭ ‬Here are some of the crisis management hotline numbers for veterans:

      • NVF Lifeline for Vets‭ ‬– 1-888-777-4443
      • VA Suicide Hotline‭ ‬– 1-800-273-8255
      • National Suicide Hotline‭ ‬– 1-800-273-8255
      • Stop Soldier Suicide‭ ‬– 1-800-273-8255,‭ ‬Option‭ ‬#1

Veterans and their families should receive the critical information and services they need,‭ ‬so share these resources.‭ ‬Many gave their lives or come back changed forever for the freedom America enjoys today.‭

The country needs to stand behind active and retired military service members who face many challenges that most people will never know.‭ ‬These resources are great for families and soldiers‭ ‬transitioning to civilian life or to help active members get the services their family needs.


Mark Hedman serves as the CEO for LA Police Gear. Mark oversees a little bit of everything, from product development to walking the dogs from our Valencia, CA headquarters. Before joining LA Police Gear, Mark was just a kid that was very interested in programming and e-commerce. Starting from the bottom, he worked his way up through all stages of the company. Mark loves animals and the outdoors. He tries to spend as much time at the range as possible or hanging out with the pups.

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