Soldiers Get Help

We often hear of soldiers suited-up, trained and ready for deployment to war. But what happens when soldiers return home?

Texas National Guard Capt. Perfecto Facundo said the process of going from soldier to civilian is not always easy and that's why hundreds of Texas National Guard attended the Yellow Ribbon Program. The event was held Saturday at the McAllen Convention Center.

One soldier said the event is a reintegration of soldiers and their families."

Capt. Facundo said there were dozens of services available for the more than 400 soldiers returning from Iraq after about a year of deployment.

"We've got different counselors and different training for our soldiers letting them know there's services out there in case they're having problems from as far as financial, medical, or psychological, Capt. Facundo said.

The soldiers got to meet employers, filled out health evaluations and got to spend time with their families and other fellow troops going through the same struggles.

Sgt. Luis Villarreal along with he said it's great coming home but the readjustments can be a challenge.

"We all have our routines back in Iraq or wherever we were deployed, Villarreal said. Coming back here - it's a struggle with our family because they have their own routine now and we kind of bud heads when we come back to our civilian life - by being here it's a great tool for us and our families."

Behavior Health Specialist Raquel Lauretano agreed with Villarreal and said that's the goal of the yellow ribbon program - to help get troops to pick-up their lives where they left-off.

"It's a process of reconnecting with their family, Lauretano said. It's reconnecting with their children, with their jobs, employment issues - so it's a process - war time will change anyone."

Even after the Yellow Ribbon Program is over, the Texas National Guard continues to work with the soldiers to ensure a successful re-integration with their communities.