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We must become the change we want to see.
- Mahatma Gandhi
This Plan is about gratitude, compassion, reality, and responsible re-entry into mainstream society for our servicemen and women.
This Plan is not about ending war, or even debating it. It simply seeks to provide a responsible transition period prior to discharge all military personnel that will assess & address their physical, and mental, psychological, social and career status . . . and provide them with an opportunity to vent, decompress, and re-orient with the tools, training, resources and support necessary for successful re-entry into society.
On the one hand, the men & women put in harms way to protect our freedom simply deserve our gratitude in a meaningful way. On the other hand, the lack of meaningful Transition and Tracking programs has resulted in difficult re-entry and grossly higher situations for the veteran population vs. societal norms relative to: drug & alcohol abuse, un-employment, suicide, dysfunctional household, homeless, domestic violence, broken homes, foreclosures, bankruptcy divorce, increased dependency on welfare, and social service.
The cost of dealing with these conditions far outweighs the cost of a re-entry program, not just in dollars, but in human terms.
The cause, justification, and need for war is an endless debate. The toll on its combatants is much more discernable. The fact is that those who serve in times of war often benefit less (if at all) than those they protect.
Sound military strategy seeks to give our troops a fighting chance to win on the battlefield. This Plan seeks to give them a chance to win as they return home to the freedoms they fought to preserve.
We ask them to do the unspeakable and then, when they return home, we don’t speak about it. Collateral damage is a Term of War that describes damage that we did not intend, but was unavoidable to achieve certain targets. Our returning men and women must not be treated as collateral damage. Their re-entry must be fortified with the same armament and strategy for success that they entered the battle with.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a relatively new terminology for the after-effects of war. However, its symptoms and affects date back to the American Civil War (“irritable heart”), through WWI (“shell shock”) and WWII (“battle fatigue”), to what is now known as PTSD. For more than a century of documented war, too many soldiers and their families and friends have suffered in silence, shame, and isolation.
We must break the bonds and damaging effects of quilt, fear and isolation. For far too long, we have known better . . . Now we must do better.
PTSD has taken too far a greater toll on these men and women, their families and society. Men & women who fight for our freedom must be given a fighting chance to enjoy the benefits of that freedom upon their return home.
This Plan was conceived by Ron Zaleski as a tribute to fallen buddies from the Vietnam War effort. In order to call attention to the need for effective debriefing and counseling program for Vets, Ron has gone shoeless since 1972, and is committed to finishing a shoeless walk of the Appalachian Trail.
This is no mere publicity stunt. This is a one man’s acknowledgement that if he does nothing, he is part of the problem. It is a serious attempt to call attention to the need for a serious response to a serious issue related to our returning servicemen and women.
This Plan seeks to gain the support and resources to mandate a two week program of debriefing, counseling, and training to prepare our returning troops for successful re-entry into the society that they fought to defend.
This is a Business Plan to address an important american business issue, PTSD, that for too long has either been ignored or dealt with in a fragmented manner . . . an issue that affects the very fabric of our society in both human and economic terms.
Our Mission and Vision set the stage for everything we do.
- Ron Zaleski
The Long Walk Home
The Long Walk Home is a metaphor for the difficult and often ignored re-entry process for our servicemen and women, especially those who served in combat.
The Long Walk Home is dedicated to enhancing the dignity, honor and quality of life of our service men and women by providing a comprehensive program of re-entry services related to medical and mental health, re-socialization, personal finance and career development.
To demonstrate appreciation and gratitude in a meaningful way to those who protect our freedom, which is to have in place a two week program for all military personnel prior to discharge, as well as, making it available to all veterans. To open gyms free to Veterans and active military personnel to help reach those that have fallen through the cracks.