NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Helping young veterans in the Volunteer State adjust to life after the military is a mission Operation Stand Down Tennessee is working to achieve.
Retired Army Sgt. Kyle Steffan served his country. Now, he’s working to help other veterans with the shift to civilian life as director of outcomes and strategic initiatives for the Middle Tennessee nonprofit.
“It’s a big change. You go from you have a community, you have support, you have your brothers in arms,” Steffan said. “You come out and you come back home — I came home when I was 25, and still had great friends, but they hadn’t been through the same experiences.”
According to a Militarytimes.com article, one in six younger veterans call the transition back into civilian life difficult. Meanwhile, there are roughly 37,000 veterans in Davidson County alone.
“The community is very supportive of veterans. That’s one thing that I’ve always been very appreciative of,” Steffan said about the Nashville area. “It is not knowing as a civilian how to help a veteran. They’re very willing to help, but not quite sure where.”
After serving for 29 years, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Eden Murrie is now the CEO of Operation Stand Down Tennessee. She said helping younger veterans is a commitment that can start with helping them transition their military skills into a civilian career.
“From brigadier general to E-1, when you’re transitioning, it’s going to be different, and we need some assistance. Some people need a little bit more assistance, some people need less,” Murrie explained.
Operation Stand Down Tennessee’s mission is to engage, equip, and empower our nation’s heroes so they can succeed following their service. The nonprofit has veteran service centers located in Nashville, Clarksville, and Columbia.
To learn more about Operation Stand Down Tennessee and ways to support veterans, follow this link.