Hanging Out with Another Veteran Can be the Best Therapy

veteran buddies

By Debbie Gregory.

It’s long been referred to as a band of brothers, and more recently, a band of brothers and sisters. While not related by blood, the same concept remains: watch out for each other. It’s a kinship that’s often forged under the worst of circumstances.

For that reason, veteran organizations are encouraging veterans to build trusting relationships and support each other. That’s why the VA offers employment to veterans as peer specialists.

A Peer Specialist is a person with a mental health and/or co-occurring condition, who has been trained and certified to help others with these conditions, identify and achieve specific life and recovery goals.

A Peer Specialist is a person who is actively engaged in his/her own recovery, and who volunteers or is hired to provide peer support services to others engaged in mental health treatment.

Veterans are a natural resource when it comes to supporting fellow veterans in need. That’s not to say that civilian care for veterans isn’t valuable as well. But there’s something to be said for walking in another’s shoes. Understanding the unique culture shared by military members and their families can be a daunting task for Americans who have not experienced the military lifestyle.

Post-traumatic stress disease (PTSD) is a major concern, as it can lead to a host of other issues, including alcohol abuse, drug abuse, homelessness, unemployment, violence, and even suicide.

Veteran peer support shows promise in addressing mental health issues.

Given the large numbers of veterans returning from multiple deployments, the value of incorporating veteran peers into health care teams makes perfect sense, especially when you consider other factors such as  a shortage of trained behavioral health providers, long wait times for treatment,  and stigma felt by veterans regarding seeking help.

Although civilians can never truly understand what war is like, we can honor all veterans by ensuring that we as a society do what we can to help them achieve the American Dream.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Band of Brothers Veteran Dies


Edward Tipper, one of the last remaining members of the famous “Band of Brothers” paratroopers, has died at the age of 95.

Tipper leaves behind a legacy as both a famous soldier and career teacher. He received a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service during World War II and D-Day. In 2011, the French government bestowed on him the French Legion of Honor medal, the country’s highest honor.

Tipper and his fellow brothers-in-arms were made famous by the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” which told the story of the 101st Airborne Division’s Easy Company during World War II, from their first jump into German-occupied France on D-Day all the way to the end of the fight in the European theater.

Tipper was born in a working class Detroit neighborhood in 1921 and volunteered as a paratrooper shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He participated in the combat jump on Normandy on June 6, 1944, and the subsequent fight for the French town of Carentan. Tipper was hit by a mortar shell while clearing a house in the town, which cost him two broken legs and his right eye.

His daughter, Kerry Tipper, recalled that her father never gave in to his injuries, defying doctor’s warnings on what he could and could not do. Doctors gave him a list of activities he couldn’t do, such as driving and sports requiring depth perception. But for Edward Tipper, that became a checklist.

Tipper began his teaching career in Iowa, eventually returning to Colorado to teach English and literature. He also ran drama programs in Jefferson County, west of Denver.

After retirement in 1979, Edward Tipper began traveling and three years later he met and married his wife, Rosalina, in Costa Rica.

“We didn’t talk about the war,” Kerry wrote on Facebook. “His greatest sense of pride and accomplishment came from being a loving son to his mother. It came from his near 30 years of teaching. From his years traveling the world. And finally, from the 34 years he gave to his small, but adoring family.”

“So much of what people talk about with him is what he did in the war. That was two years and really six days starting on D-Day,” said Kerry. “Teaching was 30 years.”

The family will have a private burial this month at Fort Logan with full military honors. A public ceremony will be held June 1 in Lakewood. Those interested in attending are asked to send an e-mail [email protected].

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.