Nonprofit Helps Female Veterans Back From War

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Grace After Fire is a non-profit aimed at helping women veterans finding balance and normalcy after returning from duty. (Published Monday, Nov 12, 2012)

    A nonprofit group is helping female veterans adjust back to civilian life.

    Grace After Fire outreach coordinator Michelle Rosales-Kneubuhl, a Marine, said the group helps veterans "know that there's someone else out there that they can call and talk to and, in confidence, be able to share what it is that they're going through and realize they're not alone."

    According to the program, eight out of 10 female veterans report needing support for post-traumatic stress disorder, injuries or military sexual assault.

    Kelly Marie Kelly, who spent years in the military, served at Al Asad Airbase in Iraq as a medic. She said that being worlds away from home -- not the fighting -- is what bothered her the most.

    "You feel so alone -- at least I did when I was there," she said.

    Kelly said that while military members have the company and people to help them when they're in the service, being away from their families and seeing all the struggles is difficult.

    She said she dreamed of getting home and getting back to a normal life. But after years away from home, normalcy didn't exist anymore.

    "You know, you come from Iraq, and you're just let go, pretty much," she said. "You're just released -- 'Hey, you can do what you want now.' You know, you freeze up. 'OK, what do I do? And where do I go and how do I act?'"

    Kelly said one of the toughest parts of reacclimating was not having the military discipline. In the military, 10 minutes early is on time -- but not in civilian life, she said.

    Groups such as Grace After Fire blend the military approach with reality.

    "It's a mission -- you're going to have to go through some stuff, and you're going to have to get to a certain point where it's going to be OK," Rosales-Kneubuhl said.

    More: Grace After Fire