(WXYZ) — For men and women in the military, coming home doesn't mean the battle is over.
There are many adjustments to make trying to re-integrate into the community. Some veterans deal with physical and emotional pain from what they experienced.
Some statistics say there are 10 times the amount of veterans lost to suicide than to combat operations, others are struggling physically or financially or finding a job.
Some veterans say the biggest challenges the public doesn’t often fully understand is that when service members return home, they have a tough time relating to family and friends, a difficult time connecting to the community and figuring out where they fit in.
"We can give them a sense of community, we can warmly accept them back into the community like we did not get,” says veteran Doug Howell.
Howell fought in Vietnam, with the India 3-5 marine company. They were ambushed and, at the end of a 48-hour battle, out of 185 soldiers, only 50 escaped with their lives.
“We all thought it was the end for us, but somehow, we managed to fight our way out,” says Howell.
Returning home to the US was a different kind of battle, one many veterans are still fighting ... to belong ... to find purpose ... sometimes, just to survive.
Associations like Vietnam Veterans Association in Detroit want to help.
"We’ve helped with burying a veteran's wife, we’ve helped with houses that have been burnt helping him restore his house,” says Paul Palazzolo, president of chapter 9 in Detroit.
The state of Michigan has a Veterans Trust Fund to help veterans overcome unexpected expenses and get back on their feet as well.
Michigan Works helps veterans prepare for and find jobs.
If it’s some fun you need, Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors ensures injured and physically challenged veterans can still participate in a variety of outdoor activities.
“Veterans today have unique perspectives, unique abilities, aside from warfare that we can help our communities grow,” says Howell.
Local VFW halls, the Red Cross and The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency can help veterans navigate through and connect to a variety of resources.
But often the connection veterans most need, is community.
"Veterans need to know that they are wanted! They lose identity, they lose community, they lose a sense of purpose when the leave the service. And they don’t know how to get that in the community,” says Howell.
Which is why groups like the Vietnam Vets Association want veterans to know, they are here.
“We take 40 guys to a basketball game, 40 guys to a hockey game and you see the camaraderie come back, bringing back their personalities,” says Palazzolo.
A number of resources in metro Detroit are dedicated to helping veterans. View the full list below:
American Red Cross of Southeastern Michigan: The Red Cross assists veterans and their families in preparing, developing and obtaining sufficient evidence to support applicants' claims for veterans' benefits. For more information, click here.
Detroit Training: A VA-Certified training facility that trains veterans to have transferable skills in successful trades. Click here for more information.
Habitat for Humanity: A housing program is available specifically for veterans. For information on how to apply, click here.
Hire a MI Vet: Helps veterans with resumes, interviews, and connects them with job fairs, as well as employers looking to hire veterans. For more information, click here.
Inforum: Next4Vets, developed by Inforum, is a custom leadership program for women veterans to navigate transition and grow their careers. View more info here.
Michigan Department of Military and Veteran Affairs: The department can help you access state and federal benefits. Many community-based organizations can help veterans and their families to apply for various services.
American Legion, 313-964-6640
American Veterans, 313-471-3982
Disabled American Veterans, 313-964-6595
Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs, 313-471-3983
Military Order of Purple Heart, 313-964-6888
Paralyzed Veterans of America, 313-471-3996
Veterans of Foreign Wars, 313-964-6510
Vietnam Veterans of America, 313-961-9568
Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors: Provides outdoor recreation opportunities for wounded veterans and individuals with health challenges. More info can be found here.
Michigan Veterans Foundation: Keeps veterans in a safe, structured environment designed to lead them back to society through professional guidance. View more info here.
Michigan Works: Can help veterans with resumes, interviews and connect them with job fairs. Click here to find out more.
Volunteers of America: Offers help on housing, employment and supportive services for veterans. Veterans can contact Volunteers of America toll-free statewide by calling 877-509-VETS.
Veterans Coming Home: Provides housing, clothing and food for veterans who are struggling. Click here for more information.
Wounded Warrior Project: Dedicated to help find free programs and services for veterans, as well as supportive communities. View more information on the website.