San Antonio groups help soldiers return to civilian life

Local support groups help service men, women adjust back to civilian life


In a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine, since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 2 million service men and woman have taken part in the conflicts.

When nearly have of those personnel return home, they have a hard time adjusting to civilian life. According to the study, their problems range from physical to mental to things, like economics and jobs.

There are several organizations in San Antonio lending a hand helping these service men and women adjust. One of those organizations is Operation Homefront.

"It's our duty to help our returning veterans," said Tim Ferrell, an Air Force veteran of 23 years and CEO.

Operation Homefront helps returning soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines who are recovering from injuries with a rent-free apartment. They help personnel with financial assistance and help them adjust back to civilian life.

"Transition can sneak up on you pretty quick and before you know it you are out on your own," said Hank Loutzenhiser, an army veteran who was injured when the Humvee he was riding in flipped over on him.

Loutzenhiser has been living in an Operation Homefront apartment while he has been rehabbing.

"That's one of the biggest things besides financially supporting us is having people around here to talk to and ask questions that have been here before," said Loutzenhiser.

Loutzenhiser will be heading to Tennessee in May, ready to attack civilian life thanks to the help he received.

Another organization, Grace After Fire, was started in 2008 to strictly help service woman reconnect with civilian life.

"Sometimes, we just have to relearn to do some of those things when we come back in," said Christine Eberle.

Eberle was in the Army for 20 years and now helps council women returning home.

"They just need more time to process and talk through what they have gone through and experienced," said Eberle.

For a list of recent stories David Sears has done, click here.

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