Paula DeDoncker

President Susan’s theme, “Peace for all Veterans” hits very close to home for me.

I’m Paula DeDoncker, a US Navy veteran, who knows first hand the value and importance of the Veterans and Family Support program.

During my enlistment I experienced great joy while training, learning, and teaching. I experienced cultures I would have never dreamed of and made friends to last a lifetime.

Over those same years, however, I also experienced a TBI, military sexual trauma, and profound loss.

To make a long story short, upon my discharge I was broken. A civilian Dr. diagnosed me and medicated me with what I call a psychotropic band-aid.

Unfortunately, the band-aid eventually fell off so to speak, and I found myself broken again. Shattered. By the grace of God, a VFW Service Officer stepped in and got me the help I needed. I was enrolled in the VA healthcare system and was finally given the help I needed, not just a band-aid.

That VFW Service Officer, Mr. Len Laws saved my life.

My mission this year will be to share my story with the hope that we can all get a better understanding of the roles of our Service Officers, and the importance and impact of our involvement with the Military and Family Support aspects of our program.

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