Local man volunteers to help fellow veterans

Daily Journal

When a support group that helps veterans open up after being in war zones overseas was in danger of ending, a Greenwood man stepped forward. David Ballard volunteered to lead Vet 2 Vet Indiana after the president and vice president stepped down in January and no one was left to fill in.

Vet 2 Vet Indiana gives veterans a chance to meet and interact with other soldiers from World War II through modern military conflicts. Under the guidance of trained facilitators, local groups give veterans a safe space to discuss their war experiences and how to transition back into everyday life.

Since he became president, Ballard has worked toward getting nonprofit status for the organization and organizing more support groups across the state. He served in two tours in Vietnam and one in the Gulf War, retiring in 2000 after serving in the Navy for 33 years.

The support groups meet weekly and usually draw four to 15 people. Ballard said that if five people attend the support group one week, at least three of those veterans will come back the next week.

Veterans struggling with being emotionally unavailable or with substance abuse or other conditions can start getting help by going to support groups. The hourlong meetings typically begin with reading from a self-help book or an article and the group talking about how the book made them feel or if they connected to the passage. Veterans can share what they’ve experienced overseas, but the goal of the meeting is not to share war stories.

The group is geared toward veterans who may be closed off from family members and friends or who cannot get out of the military mindset, where most actions are done immediately without pausing to think about consequences.

Vet 2 Vet is supported and trained by the Department of Veterans Affairs but is not a part of the VA. If a veteran has an issue with disability, care or benefits, the facilitator can connect the person with programs or services offered by the VA.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Ballard for stepping up and keeping this service running. Just as he volunteered to serve his country, Ballard has volunteered to help fellow veterans. Many will get help and support because of his efforts.

At issue

A veterans support organization was in danger of folding because of a lack of leadership.

Our point

Because a Greenwood man stepped forward to lead the organization, many veterans will receive the support they need.

On the Web

To contact Vet 2 Vet Indiana, go to vet2vetindiana.org/.