Not all veterans struggle when they come home, new study shows

by Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, the Washington Post

The first-ever examination of civic involvement of veterans, released Thursday, shows results that debunk stereotypes of the wounded former service members struggling to adjust to civilian life. The study, which looked at recent census data, found that nearly 60 percent of veterans under 50 vote in local elections, compared to 48.7 percent of non-veterans under 50. It also found that veterans serve an average of 160 hours annually as volunteers, about four full workweeks. Non-veteran volunteers serve about 25 percent fewer hours annually. Over the past eight years, the report says, veterans have consistently earned more than their non-veteran counterparts and had slightly lower unemployment rates in 2014: 6.13 percent for non-veterans compared to 5.65 percent for veterans, according to Bureau of Labor statistics. The study Ð called the Veteran Civic Health Index Ð was initiated by the non-profit Got Your Six campaign, and conducted by and produced in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship. ÒItÕs important for all of us to provide counterpoints to the misconceptions we have been told for years and years,Ó said Army veteran Chris Marvin, who is managing director of Got Your Six, originally a fighter pilot term that means ÒIÕve got your back.Ó ÒWe want people to know that we are not a population that requires services. But a population that has services to offer.Ó New organizations like Team Rubicon, which dispatches veterans alongside first responders to rapidly deploy to emergencies, and The Student Veterans of America, which helps veterans get college degrees and training, are examples of ways the energy and skills of veterans are being tapped, said Marvin, who has an MBA from University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. ÒOne of the most interesting things is that this is the actual hard data for something we have known was true,Ó he said. ÒThat vets are civic assets and itÕs great to have real empirical evidence to back that.Ó ~1@BODYURL[id=114jbcurl1323]@