Working with veterans to promote non-violent peace building

Non-violent peace builders may shy away from forming relationships with veterans or those who serve in the military. Presumably, one would have little in common with those who believe in the use of military force - a point of view so directly opposite.

But associate editor Anna Groff of The Mennonite points out that this need not be so. Her story offers vignettes of numerous individuals who provide care to war veterans through the USA's Veteran Health Administration (VA) hospitals.She writes that "Each day about 18 veterans commit suicide. About one-quarter of returning veterans meet criteria for a mental health disorder. Many face unemployment, divorce, substance abuse and more."

Groff quotes Andrea Wetherald, 24, who works at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and attends Pittsburgh Mennonite Church. Wetherald says, “The best thing Mennonites can do is look through the stereotypes and see an individual — as cliché as it may sound,” she says.

See the full story [on page 44 of this PDF] for vignettes of others who find their VA work rewarding.