Resource fair improves lives of local veterans - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Resource fair improves lives of local veterans

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

These veterans' stories are all different.

"I'm an ex-submariner. I was a helmsman during the Cold War," said Robert Cole.  

"I've deployed to Afghanistan...I've deployed to Iraq...I spent all my time as a military police officer," said Matthew Nay, who served in the Army National Guard.

However, their struggles are the same.

Many veterans face their toughest battle when they return home from combat, including 47-year-old Robert McRobbie from West Springfield.

He battled PTSD and an alcohol addiction after returning home, which sent his life into a downward spiral.

"I ended up homeless on the streets of Philadelphia...so just having spinal surgery, and sleeping on the ground with eight inches of snow, it's not a great place to be," said McRobbie, who served in the Marines.

Although veterans like McRobbie struggle, they are still reluctant to ask for help.

"There has been a stigma among soldiers and other branches that getting help isn't necessarily a good thing," said Nay.

Wednesday's resource fair at Holyoke Community College gave many local veterans a chance to ask for help in a non-threatening atmosphere.

Many veterans learned about many important programs that could help them.

"There are programs to help pay for school, there are programs to help people who are homeless, there are programs like soldiers home to get dental care," Nay said.

McRobbie has turned his life around because of these programs.

"I reached out, I got into a program, and I got help. I turned everything around...I'm coming up on five months, of being clean," McRobbie said.

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