According to their website, the VFW is a non-profit organization established to help veterans in the community in which they serve. The Jonesboro VFW just received $100,000 from a CARES Act grant in order to maintain its current efforts and focus on the mental health of veterans.

How ironic, or might I say sad. The VFW is a place where veterans, and others I imagine, can go to drink alcohol (in a dry county). And alcohol is a huge source of mental problems.

According to the recent news article lauding this CARES Act grant, officials say 22 veterans commit suicide every day in America. The VFW claims that number is the basis for their efforts to spend $30,000 of the grant to focus on veteran’s mental health. Based on the information below, that seems hypocritical.

According to Alcohol Rehab Guide (ARG) concerning the relationship between veterans and alcoholism, alcohol can affect a veteran’s PTSD. Not only can it prolong PTSD symptoms, but it can also cause them to intensify. Since alcohol is a depressant, drinking can exacerbate some PTSD symptoms such as anxiety, depression and insomnia.

According to ARG, seemingly harmless habits such as drinking socially can quickly escalate into a full-blown dependence on alcohol. When underlying mental health conditions such PTSD are present, the risks are even higher. Some risks associated with alcohol abuse among the veteran population include homelessness, depression and challenges at home or in the workplace.

Maybe I am a little on the dense side, but it seems to me that VFW could accomplish much more by simply ceasing to sell alcohol at its club and encouraging other VFWs to do the same, and possibly educating vets on the above information.

Thank God for our veterans. They need to be treated with the greatest respect and honor. I had three brothers. Two of us served in the Arkansas National Guard and two in the regular army. One was a veteran of the Vietnam War. We are as supportive of the military as we are of the police. Both are necessary if we are to remain a free nation.

Bobby Hester

Jonesboro