NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (WJLA) - Returning home from deployment can be difficult for soldiers and their families. Over 7 percent of post-9/11 veterans are unemployed.
“What we learned after about three or four years in Afghanistan and Iraq was that returning reservists were having some real challenges and difficulties with re-integrating back into the community,” says Maj. Gen. Razz Waff.
The Yellow Ribbon Fund hosted an event at National Harbor Saturday aiming to close that gap. The Congress-mandated program began in 2008 and works to help soldiers cope with returning home and also find them job opportunities.
“That’s kind of why we are here at these events, to make sure we’re catching the people that need help or need access to different support systems,” says Lt. Jeffrey Wells.
The program is not just for soldiers returning from deployment, but for their families as well to get to know what resources they have available to them.
“My husband is currently deployed over in Afghanistan,” says one woman. “We are here to learn about the resources that are there for the families.”
Saturday’s program was sentimental as well. Gen. Maj. Waff has been hosting yellow ribbon events for nearly four years and this was his last.
“There’s absolutely always a tinge of sadness and [I] wish I could have done a little bit more,” he says. “However, I’ll be able to certainly be a resource.”
Maj. Gen. Waff will become the Deputy G-1 of the U.S. Army at the Pentagon.