JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The 1039th EngineerCompany of the Arkansas Army National Guard's 875th EngineerBattalion may be back on American soil now, but returning home can be adifficult transition.
There are luckily a number of resources available locally tohelp the soldiers adjust to civilian life again.
One group trying to make the return home easier on veteransis the Beck PRIDE Center.
The Beck PRIDE Center is located on the Arkansas StateUniversity campus in Jonesboro, but its services are extended to more than juststudent veterans.
"[The soldiers] can't go over there and do the work thatthey do and not be affected," Sandra Worlow said. "We're here for whateverneeds they have."
Worlow welcomes back the nearly 100 guardsmen returning fromAfghanistan 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 Centeris it typically takes a returning service member a year-and-a-half to two yearsto start seeking services following a deployment," she said.
Worlow says that gap exists because the veterans do notusually recognize changes within themselves.
"Probably at least half the Beck PRIDE participants that weserve, looking at them you wouldn't think anything was wrong with them," Worlowsaid. "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 personalexperience with military issues.
"[The therapist's] husband is a wounded veteran from Vietnamand the Gulf War, so she has a unique understanding of the veterans and theirfamily members," Worlow said.
The center can also assist veterans and their families witheverything from filing disability, to help returning to school and even findinga job.
"They've put their lives on the line for us, and the least Ican do is try to take care of a few worries that they have," Worlow said.
The center has served more than 500 veterans and theirfamilies since it opened in 2007. Worlow hopes she and her staff can help evenmore.
"When they come in and they're really down and when theyleave your office, they have a smile on their face," she said. "It's just sorewarding. I can't imagine doing anything else."
The Beck PRIDE Center offers its services to anycombat-wounded veterans from a present-day conflict.
If people would like to learn more information, they'reasked to call 870-972-2624.