JOHNSTON, RI (WPRI) – Twice a week, U.S. Army veteran Kristen Piatt and a group of local veterans meet at Johnston Memorial Park.
It’s all part of what Piatt dubbed a “March of Combat,” which she organized to provide a safe space for veterans to discuss their experiences.
“It brings people together and gives them a sense of community,” Piatt explained. “Anyone who needs to go out and talk to someone, or doesn’t even want to talk to someone and wants to sit on a bench and watch us go by, just know that there is someone there. if you need the resources. We are here for you.
Piatt made two tours, one to Afghanistan and the other to Iraq, and described his experiences as eye-opening.
“I was young. It was my first time away from home,” Piatt recalls. “I’m not going to lie, I was scared. But I grew up really fast and my fight buddies became my family. . I would literally trust every person I was deployed with with my life. “
She stressed the importance of having a strong support system.
“Just knowing that there is a time and a place you can go where someone will be there who knows what you’ve been through, just knowing that you have this resource is huge for me,” Piatt said.
Bobby Abbruzzee, a veteran of the US Army, said that everyone fights something, even if some fight more than others.
“Life, work, Afghanistan, school, goals, dreams,” he said. “It has never been more important to never leave a friend behind. Everyone gave something, some gave their all. It is important.”
Elexious DaSilva said that taking care of yourself mentally is just as important as taking care of yourself physically.
“I think it’s good,” she said of the bi-weekly rallies. “It’s good to talk to other people who understand what you’re going through and you can relate to them on a different level that civilians wouldn’t understand. “
The March of Battles takes place rain or shine on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join the rally, including family members of veterans.
More resources for veterans and their families
If anyone is in immediate danger or has a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.
RIServes gives military, veterans and loved ones access to a variety of programs, “from high quality housing and emergency services to employment, recreation and fitness, financial and more “. You can reach them at (401) 921-2119 or by filling out this form online.
If you are in a crisis, please call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.
Operation Stand Down RI
The mission of this non-profit organization is to “strengthen the veterans community by providing comprehensive essential services” to homeless and at-risk veterans. These include employment and training programs, housing, legal services and basic needs such as food.
For more information, contact OSDRI at (401) 383-4730, [email protected] or by filling out this online form.
American Red Cross
The Red Cross and its locals also connect ex-combatants and their families with vital resources ranging from emergency needs such as food, clothing and shelter, as well as available counseling and benefits.
If you need to speak to someone, call the Red Cross at 833-492-0094 or request a call online. RI Red Cross: Virtual Family Assistance Center
United Way of Rotary: 211
Centraide’s 24/7 hotline is a free, confidential service where trained professionals connect you with the resources you need in your community.
Call 211 for assistance or to chat with a representative on their website.
RI Veterans Services Office
This agency aims to “ensure that every veteran has the opportunity to succeed in Rhode Island” by ensuring that they and serving members receive proper medical care and reduce unemployment, poverty and unemployment. roaming among those who have served our country.
The office is located at 560 Jefferson Blvd. in Warwick and can be reached at (401) 921-2119.