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  • Translator: Joseph Geni Reviewer: Morton Bast

  • Two years ago, after having served four years

  • in the United States Marine Corps

  • and deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan,

  • I found myself in Port-au-Prince, leading a team

  • of veterans and medical professionals

  • in some of the hardest-hit areas of that city,

  • three days after the earthquake.

  • We were going to the places that nobody else wanted to go,

  • the places nobody else could go, and after three weeks,

  • we realized something. Military veterans

  • are very, very good at disaster response.

  • And coming home, my cofounder and I,

  • we looked at it, and we said, there are two problems.

  • The first problem is there's inadequate disaster response.

  • It's slow. It's antiquated. It's not using the best technology,

  • and it's not using the best people.

  • The second problem that we became aware of

  • was a very inadequate veteran reintegration,

  • and this is a topic that is front page news right now

  • as veterans are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan,

  • and they're struggling to reintegrate into civilian life.

  • And we sat here and we looked at these two problems,

  • and finally we came to a realization. These aren't problems.

  • These are actually solutions. And what do I mean by that?

  • Well, we can use disaster response as an opportunity

  • for service for the veterans coming home.

  • Recent surveys show that 92 percent of veterans want

  • to continue their service when they take off their uniform.

  • And we can use veterans to improve disaster response.

  • Now on the surface, this makes a lot of sense, and in 2010,

  • we responded to the tsunami in Chile,

  • the floods in Pakistan, we sent training teams to the Thai-Burma border.

  • But it was earlier this year, when one of our

  • original members caused us to shift focus in the organization.

  • This is Clay Hunt. Clay was a Marine with me.

  • We served together in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Clay was with us in Port-au-Prince. He was also with us in Chile.

  • Earlier this year, in March, Clay took his own life.

  • This was a tragedy, but it really forced us

  • to refocus what it is that we were doing.

  • You know, Clay didn't kill himself because of what happened

  • in Iraq and Afghanistan. Clay killed himself

  • because of what he lost when he came home.

  • He lost purpose. He lost his community.

  • And perhaps most tragically, he lost his self-worth.

  • And so, as we evaluated, and as the dust settled

  • from this tragedy, we realized that, of those two problems --

  • in the initial iteration of our organization,

  • we were a disaster response organization that was using

  • veteran service. We had a lot of success,

  • and we really felt like we were changing the disaster response paradigm.

  • But after Clay, we shifted that focus, and suddenly,

  • now moving forward, we see ourselves

  • as a veteran service organization that's using disaster response.

  • Because we think that we can give that purpose

  • and that community and that self-worth back to the veteran.

  • And tornadoes in Tuscaloosa and Joplin, and then later

  • Hurricane Irene, gave us an opportunity to look at that.

  • Now I want you to imagine for a second an 18-year-old boy

  • who graduates from high school in Kansas City, Missouri.

  • He joins the Army. The Army gives him a rifle.

  • They send him to Iraq.

  • Every day he leaves the wire with a mission.

  • That mission is to defend the freedom of the family that he left at home.

  • It's to keep the men around him alive.

  • It's to pacify the village that he works in.

  • He's got a purpose. But he comes home [to] Kansas City, Missouri,

  • maybe he goes to college, maybe he's got a job,

  • but he doesn't have that same sense of purpose.

  • You give him a chainsaw. You send him to Joplin, Missouri

  • after a tornado, he regains that.

  • Going back, that same 18-year-old boy graduates from high school

  • in Kansas City, Missouri, joins the Army,

  • the Army gives him a rifle, they send him to Iraq.

  • Every day he looks into the same sets of eyes around him.

  • He leaves the wire. He knows that those people have his back.

  • He's slept in the same sand. They've lived together.

  • They've eaten together. They've bled together.

  • He goes home to Kansas City, Missouri.

  • He gets out of the military. He takes his uniform off.

  • He doesn't have that community anymore.

  • But you drop 25 of those veterans in Joplin, Missouri,

  • they get that sense of community back.

  • Again, you have an 18-year-old boy who graduates

  • high school in Kansas City.

  • He joins the Army. The Army gives him a rifle.

  • They send him to Iraq.

  • They pin a medal on his chest. He goes home to a ticker tape parade.

  • He takes the uniform off. He's no longer Sergeant Jones

  • in his community. He's now Dave from Kansas City.

  • He doesn't have that same self-worth.

  • But you send him to Joplin after a tornado,

  • and somebody once again is walking up to him

  • and shaking their hand and thanking them for their service,

  • now they have self-worth again.

  • I think it's very important, because right now

  • somebody needs to step up,

  • and this generation of veterans has the opportunity

  • to do that if they are given the chance.

  • Thank you very much. (Applause)

Translator: Joseph Geni Reviewer: Morton Bast

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B1 US TED clay missouri disaster iraq army

【TED】Jake Wood: A new mission for veterans -- disaster relief (Jake Wood: A new mission for veterans -- disaster relief)

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    Zenn posted on 2017/03/09
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