Founded to help local veterans
A small group of young local veterans recently founded an organization called “Victor Echo Tango” in hopes of helping veterans of all ages.
Victor Echo Tango founder Blake Lyons said the organization wants to be able provide veterans with information, supplies or even just a friend to talk to. The group’s mission statement is “Veterans and supporters helping veterans and their families through problems unique to the warrior.” Lyons said they used the NATO phonetic alphabet because it is familiar for those who have served.
“The military uses it a ton, so someone will look at that and think, ‘VET – that’s a place that could possibly help me,’” Lyons said. “We want to eventually be able to provide veterans with whatever help they need. We want to be an organization that veterans can come to and if we can’t help them specifically, we can point them in the right direction for assistance.”
Organization member and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Austin Priest wants to give veterans the skills and tools necessary to be successful once they return home. Priest said that after deploying, the transition to civilian was difficult and he didn’t feel fully prepared.
“Once you leave active duty from the military, you go through a five-day transition assistance program,” Priest said. “They don’t teach you how to make a resume or how to apply for college, things like that. When I went up to NSU to transfer, I was completely lost and had no idea who to talk to or where to go. They told us we had a G.I. bill, they just didn’t tell us how to use it.”
Priest said civilians often have a hard time understanding a veteran’s perspective or the things he or she might go through. Priest is a father of two, and said deployment can be especially hard on soldiers and their families.