Military members return to America and often times that is where the real struggle begins. Our Veterans spend months and sometimes years in mission-focused, tight-knit groups with a common goal and common struggle. Essentially, while in uniform, they have community and purpose among their team, possibly for the first time in their lives, and it is an amazing feeling. When they return, our modern society does not seem to be structured in a way to allow these thriving warriors to assimilate and continue to thrive once they return. Often, it is the exact opposite. Sebastian Junger’s, “Tribe”, does an excellent job explaining this phenomenon and it’s a quick read. I highly recommend it.

The key takeaway I got from Junger is thanking a veteran, allowing her to board a flight before general boarding, displaying an “I Support the Troops” bumper sticker, and highlighting their sacrifices at football games are great gestures; however, they may further ostracize Veterans who should instead be welcomed back to a productive society as equals, not as celebrities or targets of pity. By minimizing our interactions with Veterans in such a manner, while we are trying to show appreciation, we are at the same time telling them they are part of a different circle than our own, but we find their circle impressive nevertheless. Ask a wartime Veteran who has been home for a while what she or he misses most about the military or deployments, and you might hear camaraderie, a common goal and brotherhood as key terms in the conversation. Our Veterans often say they did not serve the country, but they served each other. Why? As Junger puts it, “It makes absolutely no sense to make sacrifices for a group that, itself, isn’t willing to make sacrifices for you.” So, they served for each other and that is what complicates coming home so greatly. Veterans needs are not met by coming home to a society that embraces singletons rather than tribe.

What do Veterans need most? Jobs and community, which instills purpose. Thanking a Veteran is not going to help them prove to America they are more than just a Veteran. Jobs and community provide Veterans an open invitation to continue service as contributing members of society and, in many cases, provide society a massive benefit in the incredible leaders we find in our communities’ Veterans. As a society, it is our responsibility to not only open the door for them, but to invite them in. Modern society today is not set up to easily allow this, thus we have to get out of our comfort zones and make a conscious effort to create an inclusive community.

If you really want to thank a Veteran, find a way to incorporate them into a growing society. Help their future rather than thanking them for yesterday. How do you do that? Meaningful, productive and impactful jobs.

If you don’t have the capacity to hire Veterans, maybe you are not a hiring manager at your company or you don’t own your own business, seek out Veteran-owned businesses or businesses that hire Veterans when shopping for services you would be seeking anyway. There are thousands of Veteran-owned businesses. Consider your landscapers, lawn service, Realtors, cleaning services, child care providers, general contractors, local ice cream shop, anything. . . Make an effort to seek out a Veteran-owned business and provide an actual opportunity to one of our most deserving societal contributors.

Realtors are a great example, and it is not because I am a Veteran and a Realtor. There are thousands of Veteran Realtors across the nation who have the core military values instilled in they psyche, which they bring to bear in their real estate dealings. As such, their clients benefit greatly through a Veteran’s drive for service and success.

Everyone needs a roof over their heads. When it is time for you to buy or sell a house, seek out a Veteran Realtor. You’re going to hire one regardless, so hire one who has proven they are committed to service, as they once did in the military. Allow them to continue serving your needs by facilitating your home sale. You will be amazed at the difference a mission-focused, excellence driven Veteran makes when it comes to complicated real estate transactions and your goals.

As a Realtor, I can tell you first-hand the gratification one feels knowing they did the best they could do in making sure someone else either bought or sold the highest priced anything they will likely ever deal with in life, their home. As a Veteran, integrity is extremely important to me. Every Veteran on my team operates within our core values’ construct, Excellence, Loyalty and Integrity. They are priceless values, and we did not adopt those values by going to real estate school. Those were ingrained in our psyche over many years starting when they shaved our heads and handed us our combat boots. These are the values you end up hiring when you hire a Veteran Realtor.

If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran who is seeking their purpose in a community, please get in touch with us or put us in touch with the Veteran you know. If they are interested in a real estate career or even just want to talk with someone about transitioning to a purposeful civilian life, I would be honored to have a cup of coffee with them.

If you are ready to discuss the sale or purchase of your home, seriously consider a Veteran Realtor. If you don’t know one, again, reach out to us, we will connect you.