War Veterans Seek Financial, Emotional Help

OAHU (KHNL) -- The fight is on for island troops to get much needed benefits when they return to Hawaii.

Vets say making the transition from a fighting soldier back to civilian life is one of the hardest things they have to do. During this difficult time, many miss out on services and support that can impact them for the rest of their lives.

Hawaii's soldiers and members of the military are honored on Memorial Day.

But by the time the flowers wilt and flags fade, many have forgotten about our island veterans.

That is also the case after some soldiers leave the service.

"There are so many of them that are falling through the cracks with the PTSD and challenge to get them to come forward," said Joe McCloskey, a Korean War veteran.

While we hear about many heroic challenges during battle, what some soldiers face as they return to civilian life is a fight through red tape, for financial, emotional and medical help.

At this gathering with lawmakers, island vets share their battle stories, not just of war but of getting needed services stateside.

"I've heard horror stories of people flying over from Lanai, and getting to Oahu and their doctor canceling the appointment cause something else came up," said Cindy Evans (D) Kona/Kohala.

The effects of 'not helping' vets is clearly seen in Hawaii's homeless population.

Which includes some veterans still struggling from combat service.

Dealing with that emotional burden also impacts thousands of island families as well.

So while these vets are remembered as heroes, other who have served, want to make sure no one is forgotten.

"There's a lot of veterans that gave up their lives, even if they come back, they've still given up their lives cause they're not the same person," said Vietnam War vet Clay Park.

Those who work with vets in need, say lawmakers have been supportive of available job and health benefits, and Wednesday's effort will help streamline the process.

But one of the biggest challenges remains reaching out to vets to get them the help they need.