Many veterans come home from combat with serious physical and mental scars, and those are issues that need to be addressed on an ongoing basis. As such, many groups have cropped up in the last several years to help ease that transition back to civilian life, including an unconventional one in Indiana.
Operation Combat Bikesaver helps connect with veterans by giving them something very practical to do: rebuilding beat-up, old motorcycles, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune. The organization has only been open for about a year, and was started by a veteran who found that rebuilding a bike of his own relieved his stress and gave him something to focus on.
"I know it helped me," Jason Zaideman, an Army vet and president of Operation Combat Bikesaver, told the newspaper. "It lit a fire. This helped me, it could help someone else. We would like to be a resort or retreat where people battling PTSD, [traumatic brain injury] or depression can come out when they need to."
The group crowdfunds its efforts to buy and restore old motorcycles, and has already drawn significant interest from donors and veterans, the report said. Right now, there are 15 people on the waiting list to rebuild a bike, but there is not enough space for the organization to accommodate them. Because of the demand, it is hoping to expand in the near future, into a garage space that can house more than one project at a time. Right now, the space the organization uses is the garage at Zaideman's house.
The more that can be done to help veterans deal with the effects of combat after they leave the service, the better off they will be as their lives move forward.