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Jermaine Bourne
Professor Dudley
ENG112
1 May 2015
Veteran Culture
In todays society we are at war with terrorism. This war started when the United States was
attacked on September 11, 2001 and still ongoing. President Obama has ended the two wars that
we had going on in the Middle East. Once these wars were over, so were a lot of military careers.
It is hard for a lot of military personnel to transition into the civilian world. It is hard for most
veterans to get back on their feet, this contributes to a lot of them suffering post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD), homelessness and service-connected disability. In Charlotte, North Carolina the
percentage of these cases is one of the highest in the country.
The reason why I want to talk about the veteran culture is because it is a culture I am a
part of here in Charlotte, North Carolina. With different veteran group that are in the Charlotte
area, the one most veterans normally come to is the Bank of America Center for Military
Families and Veterans, located at Central Piedmont Community College. In the center they are
many amenities that the veterans can utilize. For example, they are counselor and interims that
the veterans can talk too, there is a computer lab for them to utilize, and a career counselor to
help them find jobs.
There is also the Student Veterans Association (SVA) club that you can join, this club is
just one chapter of Student Veterans of America. The Student Veterans of America was started in

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January 2008 to provide support and resources to the network of local student veterans
organization. This organization started off with one chapter but now have twelve hundred
chapters nationwide. The Student Veteran Association here at Central Piedmont Community
College has team up with Home for Hero and Eagle Rock Camp. This partnership help veterans
to reconnect with their families and friends.
For example, at Eagle Rock Camp they help the veterans reconnect with their family by
creating camping activity that build back trust with the kids and their spouses. These activities
consist of diversion therapy (interactive workshop and therapeutic recreation) and faith base. The
next program that help veterans when they come back home from war is Home for Heroes. In
Charlotte, North Carolina statistic shows that fifty percent of homeless people are veterans. The
Home for Hero program finds suitable and affordable living for veterans who are homeless. They
also work alongside Habitat for Humanity to build houses for the veterans who are homeless.
In addition, to being homeless, a lot of veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder,
many of whom cannot be around crowds or enclosed places. Post-traumatic stress disorder was
not recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs as a mental disease until the ending of the
first Gulf War. This is sad because veterans were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as
far back as World War one and two. It is 2015 and they are historic number of cases of veterans
reporting post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Bank of America Center for Military Families and Veterans help provide support to
veterans who are trying to put in a claims for they disability compensation. The center reach out
to places like Charlotte Bridge Home or the county veterans center uptown Charlotte, North
Carolina. The process is very time consuming because it can take up to, two years to process
your disability claims. This became a problem because a lot of veterans were dying before they

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got their benefits awarded to them. For me it took fifteen months to get awarded my disability
from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Even though I got one of my cases awarded, I have an
appeal in review for two year extra because the Department of Veterans Affairs are claiming that
their back log is so long and it would take whoever came first to get serve first.
Things are changing for the better in the veterans culture here at Bank of America Center
for Military Families and Veterans. I had the privilege to interview and shadow the Director of
Central Piedmont Community College for the Bank of America Center for Military Families and
Veterans, Nicholas Riggins, for a day. Mr. Riggins job is to ensure that the veterans transition
from military to taking classes at Central Piedmont Community College and finding work around
the city goes smoothly. A typical day at the center starts at 8am-5pm, once the center open in the
morning they is breakfast there that one of the veterans provide for other veterans.
This give the veterans who are homeless a meal to start their days off. It also give them
an opportunity to talk and inform each other on the different benefit that there can use. For
example, I walk-in to the center and I overheard James telling Sean about the new program that
President Obama sign that will provide enough voucher so that the veterans who are homeless
would get housing. Their conversation went like this, Hey man, you heard about that new
voucher program out there for us to use? Yeah, a motherfucker like me put in for it and I got
approved for seven hundred and fifty dollars a month. Seans reply was Who do I see to get a
voucher too because a motherfucker like tired of living in these shelter. Talk to Jim, replied
James.
A few weeks later Sean got his voucher too and he was excited it even give him the
courage to go out and find a job as well. Another conversation I heard was Mini, who everyone
in the center considers their mother, telling Sylvia about her husband Chris, who suffers from

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post-traumatic stress disorder. Mini stated, This crazy motherfucker going to wake me up in the
middle of the night screaming, Mini get down in coming and was in a shooting stands, she
spent the rest of the night trying to calm him down. Mini also stated, The next day I spent the
whole day looking for Chris and could not find him in the house, something told me to look
outside this motherfucker in the tree in his sniper gear, hiding and looking around I told him get
his ass out of the tree and if he did not stop this crazy shit I am going back to Puerto Rico.
This is why Mini decided it was best to get Chris out of the house and around other
people especially veterans who understand where he is coming from, and understand what he is
going through. Chris enrolled at Central Piedmont Community College in the psychology
program. Chris has been at the college for a year now and is doing much better. This is a great
accomplishment for him because Chris had a problem with standing in places with a lot of
people, he overcame that fear and now can stand in a room full of people. He is also about to
take over as the president of the Student Veterans Association here at Central Piedmont
Community College. Chris go to counseling at least three times a week at the center to help him
with his post-traumatic stress disorder.
The counselors and their interim really help the veterans overcome their fear and face
society the way they use too. The next veterans I would like to talk about is Sylvia, she is a
retired Air force veteran. Sylvia retired from the Air force last year after serving sixteen years of
service to our country. Sylvia started coming to the Bank of America Center for Military
Families and Veterans for support and counseling at the ending of spring semester last year. In
the fall semester Sylvia decided to go back to college here at Central Piedmont Community
College for a degree in psychology. Sylvia already have her bachelor degree in Business
Administration and two Associate degree. But she said her heart is in helping other veterans who

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are transitioning out of the service to adjust to civilian life. Sylvia only did one semester at
Central Piedmont Community college because her mind was not there she had not transition to
civilian life and had a hard time adjusting.
Sylvia like most veterans who retired early because of a service-connection disability had
a hard time adjusting to civilian life style. To help Sylvia out Nicholas Riggins became her
mentor, he is also an Air Force veteran as well. They say it takes a family to help you overcome
your trails and tribulation and that what each veterans do for one another. Sylvia started to
volunteer at the center where she help defuse a lot of situation that could have gotten out of
control, especially with the veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Once a
position became open for Academic Advisor at the center, Sylvia put in for the position and got
it. In this position Sylvia would be helping the college to decide what military experience can be
transfer into college credit.
Overall, the Bank of America Center for Military Families and Veterans is a place where
a veteran can come for help in education, career, and personal counseling. We are a family here
at the center and it is a place where we can go and not be judge and be ourselves.