Veterans Service Organizations in the 21st Century

04/22/2015 05:35 pm ET | Updated Jun 22, 2015
Shelly Perry via Getty Images

Veterans Service Organizations in the 21st century are a force to be reckoned with from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) to Wounded Warriors Project (WWP). These organizations are doing phenomenal work to meet the needs of today's warriors by filling the leadership vacuum that the VA and elected officials leave. Forcefully, through advocating and presenting compelling alternatives to the status quo of yesteryears our veterans are seeing a truly powerful awakening in the years ahead.

IAVA recently launched " Sometimes Even Heroes Need Help" campaign outside the Rockefeller Plaza that directs people to in order to learn more about resources for returning veterans, and to educate the public on mental health issues including PTSD. Highlighting the fact that 9,800 military personnel will stay in Afghanistan through the end of 2015 underscores the necessity of reaching out to these veterans in their times of need.

Transitioning from military life to civilian life is a point where many veterans fall through the cracks. That transition is more difficult than many realize, and often it is deluded to think that there will be no issues when doing so. This is the critical time when a veteran must know the applicability of resources to their needs and their family.

The IAVA understands the needs of veterans in this critical time span. Paul Rieckhoff has relentlessly pursued creating programs that address the multifaceted and multidimensional needs of veterans in the 21st century. No longer is a veteran relegated to telling his story over a couple of beers at a pool hall, and reinforcing the stereotype of the drunkard veteran. Veterans helping veterans is what the 21st century veterans organizations are about.

Wounded Warrior Project has a number of innovative programs. Warriors to Work will enable 10,000 Warriors to be employed this year. Over 100,000 Warriors and their families will be served along with over $96 million secured in entitlements for these Warriors through the WWP. WWP has branches across the United States that cares for injured veterans.

These organizations are equipping veterans with the skills needed to overcome, challenge, and rectify the vacuum created by inefficient elected leaders and the VA. IAVA and WWP has been at the forefront of issues concerning veterans for a long time, and has overcome many challenges. Most recently IAVA achieved passing the Clay Hunt Act that had been challenged by a lone Senator in late 2014, but nonetheless was passed in 2015. It's that kind of never-give-up mentality that makes these VSOs (Veteran Service Organizations) a new brand of VSO that meets the needs of the modern veteran.