Veteran Shares Joys, Struggles Of Reconnecting With Family After Service

06/19/2015 02:57 pm ET | Updated Jun 22, 2015

For Adam Renteria, a veteran of the U.S. military, there is no job more important than being a father. And after being away for the first five years of his son's life, he says mending his family's emotional wounds was his utmost priority.

"Coming back, [I focused on] being able to put forth the effort in making it a priority to reconnect [with my son], making it a priority to heal myself so that I can heal our relationship and build on our relationship and really believe that my continued service to this country is to duplicate my efforts and to raise the best possible young man that I could possibly raise," Renteria told host HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont Hill during a conversation about veterans and Father's Day.

Renteria is just one example of the millions of servicemen and women who return home from deployment hoping to reconnect with their children. But that can be hard work, and it often requires the support of larger communities, according to Paul Rieckhoff, the founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

With Father's Day coming up on Sunday, Rieckhoff explained to HuffPost Live why both that celebration and Mother's Day hold such significance for military families.

"Think about being away from your kids for a year," he said. "Really occasionally you can Skype, maybe you can get on the phone, but you're missing a lot of birthdays, a lot of holidays, and you're missing them grow up. So I think we have a real appreciation for family and an appreciation for Father's Day."

We need more support for men, women and families who have served this country, Rieckhoff explained, and he encouraged people to participate in their local communities to welcome service members home at either church groups or the YMCA.

"[Servicemen] get parades and they get put in commercials, but their families are left behind," he said. "We sign up, [families] are drafted, and our husbands and wives and families have been experiencing war for a decade so there's a cost to that. And they need to be supported in their educational pursuits, in their mental health, in their employment challenges."

Watch the full segment on remembering our veterans this Father's Day here.

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