The Military Experience: Current and graduated seniors

Veterans are important to Liberty North, as you’ll be able to see through these stories and videos that highlight our alumni, our current students, and their families.

Video by Grace Johnson

Photos+from+North+Nation+by+Design

Photos from North Nation by Design

Ava Henry, Editorial Board

 Despite often laying their lives on the line for their country, many veterans can live with some very difficult struggles. According to The National Coalition for Veterans, seventy percent of all veterans experience substance abuse and fifty percent live with mental disorders, such as post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. 

   “I was inspired to help veterans because I did a project with psychology and I researched how different veterans were really impacted by their experiences. Both my grandpas served in the military, and my dad also knows a lot of officers who struggle with PTSD, so having that experience really made me want to learn more about veterans and also help them,” sophomore Kate Vulje said. 

   Thankfully, there are many veteran assistance programs available, with the greater Kansas City area having more than 203 military and veteran organizations alone. One such organization is Warriors Best Friend, a foundation whose mission is to provide service dogs to veterans in need. Liberty North’s own Kate Vulje took the opportunity this year and last to help raise money for the cause. 

   “I really wanted to raise more money than I did last year, which was about 600 dollars. The goal for this year was a thousand, but we really went way above that and we were able to raise over two thousand, which will go to Warriors Best Friend. We also had items that people brought in that will all go to veterans. We were also able to work with a lot of different companies around the Kansas City area with things like raffles, and we even worked with the Royals. We just had a lot more help and support from the community this year which was a great thing to experience,” Vulje said. 

  Service dogs are proven to be beneficial for veterans, as a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente Research shows that when paired with a service dog, veterans report less severe symptoms of PTSD, less substance abuse, less psychiatric symptoms, and better interpersonal relationships.

   “A lot of the veterans that the dogs get sent to either have PTSD or a traumatic brain injury, and the dogs are trained to help deal with that. It could be simple as just staying with them through a nightmare or helping them and monitoring them through daily activities. I’m happy with what I have been able to accomplish so far, and I would absolutely love to continue to do this my junior and senior year,” Vulje said. 

   Though not yet an actual veteran, active duty army officer Chris Henry has been employed by the army for 21, with two of them spent stationed in Iraq during the Iraqi war. 

   “I really do think that veterans are blessed in this country. I believe that they are a lot of programs and organizations that are available to them that do a good job of helping veterans get back on their feet. But besides that, I think it’s great that students are taking interest in helping out the people that put their lives on the line for our country,” Henry said.  

 

For more on the military experience, check out Maia Gaddis’ story here.

For another video about a 2020 Liberty North grad, check out Aly Klug’s video here. 

 

Photos from Vulje’s Fundraiser Night: