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Vet 2 Vet: there 4 U

By Wayne Woolley, NJDMAVA/PA

If you deployed to Iraq with the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, you will be the focus of a historic effort to help you ease back into the family, job and life you put on hold to serve.

Wait. You’ve heard that by now. Probably more than once. But retired Master Sgt. Chuck Arnold wants to make sure you have this anyway: 1-866-VETS-NJ-4.

It’s the phone number to the New Jersey Veterans Helpline and it is the place to call toll-free at any time if you find yourself having any of these problems or feelings:

- Avoiding crowded places
- Trouble sleeping.
- Nightmares or frightening thoughts.
- Unexplained difficulty breathing or chest pains.
- Using alcohol or drugs to feel better.
- Difficulty controlling your anger.
- Trouble feeling safe.
- Feeling left out of the family routine you left behind.
- Overwhelmed by noises and the confusion of home life.


These are natural responses to a stressful deployment to a dangerous place and a long separation from family. And if you’re in the 50th, you and your family will be given many tools to cope with the stress. But the hotline is the one resource that’s always there.

Arnold, a psychologist and licensed counselor who served a combat tour as a Marine in Vietnam and then more than 30 years in the New Jersey Army National Guard, wants you to know this as well:

“If you call, the people you are going to work through are veterans and a part of the Guard family,” Arnold said. “The most important thing for you to know is that help is available. We are always there.”

Besides Arnold, key Vet-to-Vet hotline staff members include:

- Rich Dvorin, an Air Force veteran, retired New Brunswick cop and Gold Star father. His son, Army Lt. Seth Dvorin, was killed by an IED in Iraq on Feb. 3, 2004.

- Heather Altman, licensed counselor who worked as a mental health counselor at Fort Bragg, N.C. and later led the Woodbury Armory Family Readiness Group. She was a first-responder to the Pentagon on Sept. 11.

The hotline launched in 2005 as a partnership between the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey.

It is the only hotline in the country staffed by veterans – and the only one that is also available for veterans’ families as well.

Table of Contents
Volume 34 Number 4 Staff / Information
(c) 2009 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs