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Volunteer Tom Harris, 71, a retired Vietnam veteran wanted to make a difference by helping make the transition from military life to civilian life easier by creating a Bible Study group at HVAF.
“We feel that veterans are spiritually disconnected which adds to the difficulty in transition,” says Tom. “My goal is to help veterans reconnect who are walking in spiritual darkness to walk in the light of God.”Tom worked at the U.S. Department of Veterans Administration Readjustment Counseling Program also known as the Vet Center and is an active member at Capitol City 7th Day Adventist Church.
“Starting a Bible Study group is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” says Tom. “Even though we didn’t have a lot of veterans in our church we had a lot of their family there. It was important to let those family members know that we care about their families.”
James Miller, an Airforce veteran and HVAF Peer Counselor, initially met with Tom.
“We wanted to make sure he was coming from scripture,” says James. “Turning to a higher power was necessary for me in my own personal drug addiction recovery and I was excited to be able to share this with our clients.”
Both James and Tom agree that spiritual stressors are subtle and generate far less attention than physical and mental stressors. However, spiritual stressors are significant and can cause permanent life changes for those who serve or served in combat.
Many veterans return home to face harsh realities of struggling families, unemployment and even homelessness. Battle wounds can be treated and even recognized with medals. But spiritual and emotional wounds, if left unaddressed, can linger for a lifetime.
Next month, Harris will begin holding Bible Study with HVAF’s recovery veterans.