Veterans Day at Bastion holds a special place in our community, a community of veterans and families who have experienced firsthand the sacrifices required to protect our nation’s freedom. As we honor those sacrifices, it’s important to recognize that every veteran’s experience is entirely unique, despite common threads that may bond them.
Here at Bastion, we serve a diverse range of veterans across all military branches. Whether our veterans served at home or abroad, whether their injuries are physical or mental, whether they obtained those injuries in battle or off-duty: they are veterans who deserve our respect and a safe place to call home. For the many veterans and families who call Bastion their home, our goal is to build a supportive environment where they can heal, grow, and thrive.
“It means so much to me to live alongside other veterans because we all have that commonality with being a part of a very important part of our lives,” Army and Air Force veteran Glenda Diagne said. “We learn from each other, bond with each other, and this is why I have been here since 2018.”
This Veterans Day, civilians can honor the sacrifices of our nation’s veteran population by educating themselves about the incredibly diverse range of veteran experiences, and work to challenge assumptions about the veteran community. Not all veterans come home with life-altering injuries, and many are entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders in their fields thanks to the unique skill sets they obtained during their service. Their passions and strengths, however, may not align with the work they did as a service member.
“I wish that non-veterans understood that just because you served in the military and had to do different things and shoot weapons, being timely, being super organized and neat, that isn't always something that you will do or are good at even though you had to do it in the military,” Diagne said.
For those who do live with various disabilities or medical conditions upon returning home, it’s important to understand that no two conditions look exactly alike: PTSD, for example, presents itself in many ways and its symptoms can be completely different from one veteran to another.
Veteran Susan Lutz wishes civilians would understand that military service truly impacts all areas of a service member’s life, both during and after service. While enlisted, service members gain a sense of belonging from being around others with similar assignments who are utilizing the same chow hall, living at the same bases, and going through many of the same trainings.
“When you leave the military, all of that changes,” Lutz said. “Suddenly you have to rely on yourself to juggle a job while navigating food, health insurance, and housing. It becomes more difficult to form social ties.”
Lutz said she believes Bastion has saved her life thanks to the strides she has made in her mental and overall health since joining the community.
“With Bastion, I have developed friendships and plans for the future,” Lutz said. “I am grateful every day that I wake up at Bastion.”
Our person-centered approach at Bastion connects each veteran with the resources and programming that are most relevant to their specific challenges and lived experiences. Through programs like our Bastion Ambassadors vocational training, we also work to connect our veterans with the learning opportunities that best fit their interests and skill sets.
“Living at Bastion has been both a staple and hallmark of my life. Second only to when I joined the United States Marine Corps,” veteran resident Anthony Mitchell said. Mitchell is a Bastion Ambassador himself, working as a Residential Assistant serving his fellow neighbors in the community.
Mitchell asks that civilians educate themselves on what it means to be a veteran, and how it can impact mental health. Even for those who have veteran family members, Mitchell believes you must walk a mile in a veteran’s shoes to really understand that particular veteran’s experience. Being a Bastion veteran, Mitchell is surrounded by veterans who have walked their own path of service.
“Bastion is everything to me and the people that live here are not only friends, but family and I love each and every one of them,” Mitchell said. “Always."