Hope and Healing for Military Families During the Holidays

During the holiday season, it's crucial to recognize the unique challenges faced by service members and their families. Valerie Melroy, the CEO of Voice and Vision, joins us in this week's episode. As a former military spouse and mother of a Marine, she shares some first-hand insights into the difficulties of managing family life when loved ones are deployed. 

Reverend Ben then reflects on his own experiences during deployments and highlights the importance of mental health awareness and community support, especially during the holidays.

If you find this time of year difficult, know that you're not alone. Listen in as we share some resources to help veterans and their families navigate the complexities of military life. 

Here’s some of what we discuss in this episode:

1:30 – Valerie’s family + their military background
3:55 – The hardships of the holiday season for service members and their families
9:17 – An increase in suicide rates this time of year + reaching out for help
15:38 – Powerful resources for veterans and their families

Valerie Melroy:

Valerie, Co-founder (1997) and CEO of Voice and Vision, Inc., is driven by the call of God, love for people, and a passion for justice and freedom. Armed with a Bachelor of Ministry and a Master of Human Service degree from Lincoln University, she operates the non-profit with a heart for serving others. Beyond her work, Valerie finds joy in gardening, travel, and quality time with her family, including 17 grandchildren.

Reverend Ben:

Benjamin, a southwest Philadelphia native and Navy veteran, served as a Hospital Corpsman during Desert Storm. He was deployed to Diego Garcia and Okinawa, and was attached to Fox Company in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Post-military, Ben worked in a men’s shelter, gaining diverse experiences in mental health and addiction recovery. While battling cancer, he earned an associate degree in biblical science from Lancaster Bible College. In 2019, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in human services and is pursuing a master’s in counseling, set to graduate in 2024.

Now Assistant Pastor and Outreach Coordinator at Philadelphia Baptist Church, he runs a food cupboard aiding 150-200 families weekly. With his wife, Marcia, they serve with the love of Christ, helping alleviate suffering in West Philly.

EPISODE LINKS

Military OneSource: https://bit.ly/473on5A

Steven Cohen Military Family Clinic: https://www.med.upenn.edu/mfc/

The VA: https://www.va.gov/


RESOURCES

Need immediate help? Contact the Veterans Crisis Line via phone, text or online chat. Dial 988 then Press 1 or text 838255 or use the online chat at https://bit.ly/3OunXzg

Voice & Vision: https://bit.ly/3miwFoy

CompeerCORPS: https://bit.ly/3GgKryU

Information on how to apply for VA Healthcare Benefits from anywhere in the USA: https://bit.ly/40PtrrN or call 877-222-8387 (M-F 8am-8pm EST)

To apply for veteran’s benefits and find resources in Pennsylvania veterans need to contact their County Office of Veterans Affairs as listed in this document: https://bit.ly/3m8PBWS

View more about PA’s resources for veterans: https://bit.ly/416cf0Q

Financial support for Untold Valor is provided by a Veterans’ Trust Fund grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

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