What is next for soldiers of the 1039th? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

What is next for soldiers of the 1039th?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The 1039th Engineer Company of the Arkansas Army National Guard's 875th Engineer Battalion may be back on American soil now, but returning home can be a difficult transition.

There are luckily a number of resources available locally to help the soldiers adjust to civilian life again.

One group trying to make the return home easier on veterans is the Beck PRIDE Center.

The Beck PRIDE Center is located on the Arkansas State University campus in Jonesboro, but its services are extended to more than just student veterans.

"[The soldiers] can't go over there and do the work that they do and not be affected," Sandra Worlow said. "We're here for whatever needs they have."

Worlow welcomes back the nearly 100 guardsmen returning from Afghanistan this week. She hopes to see some of them at the Beck PRIDE Center, where she serves as director, but she says it will likely take some time.

"One problem that we've seen here at the Beck PRIDE Center is it typically takes a returning service member a year-and-a-half to two years to start seeking services following a deployment," she said.

Worlow says that gap exists because the veterans do not usually recognize changes within themselves.

"Probably at least half the Beck PRIDE participants that we serve, looking at them you wouldn't think anything was wrong with them," Worlow said. "Physically, they look fine, but emotionally they have issues."

That's why the PRIDE Center offers mental health services, including counseling with a local therapist that has her own personal experience with military issues.

"[The therapist's] husband is a wounded veteran from Vietnam and the Gulf War, so she has a unique understanding of the veterans and their family members," Worlow said.

The center can also assist veterans and their families with everything from filing disability, to help returning to school and even finding a job.

"They've put their lives on the line for us, and the least I can do is try to take care of a few worries that they have," Worlow said.

The center has served more than 500 veterans and their families since it opened in 2007. Worlow hopes she and her staff can help even more.

"When they come in and they're really down and when they leave your office, they have a smile on their face," she said. "It's just so rewarding. I can't imagine doing anything else."

The Beck PRIDE Center offers its services to any combat-wounded veterans from a present-day conflict.

If people would like to learn more information, they're asked to call 870-972-2624.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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