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A veteran's holiday wish

Like many veterans, Rhonda White’s service took her far from family and friends during the holidays.

White was 24 years old when she first spent the holidays away from her family and loved ones. It was November 1990, and the young soldier was deployed to Saudi Arabia where she worked for the Long-Range Planning Cell located in Dhahran and the King Khalid Military City during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

“It was hard and lonely at times, but knowing that I was serving for such a cause gave me strength and much purpose,” said White. 

Shortly after returning home in June of 1991, White began experiencing a range of physical issues. She had back problems, headaches, insomnia, and joint pain. She would learn that most of her symptoms were attributed to Gulf War Illness due to environmental hazards that she and fellow soldiers had been exposed to during deployment.

“My doctors told me it was most likely stress or getting older,” said White. “They tried to prescribe me sleeping pills and pain killers, but I refused to take them, feeling that I was way too young to be feeling this way and desiring to find better solutions for my pain.”

White sought out help and says it was a relief to know that she wasn’t the only one with those symptoms. She was offered alternative methods to help her cope with the pain and PTSD from her service. She thanks DAV for letting her know that she didn’t have to be alone in finding the help she needed and deserved.

“DAV helped me to understand that I wasn’t alone and that I deserved to seek help,” says White. “We as women sometimes tend to put our own health and well-being behind those of our family and children, but it is a mistake to think that way because women are so important to any family unit.”

White found the DAV team to be extremely knowledgeable and thorough. 

“They are sure to devote those talents to each and every veteran who seeks their help,” she said. “They helped me, and I am grateful.”

This holiday season – and throughout the year – it is White’s wish that all veterans realize that DAV is available to help any fellow veteran. 

“Whether it’s filing a claim or simply answering a question that a veteran might have, DAV is there to help,” said White. “No one should wait to seek help from DAV. It has been an empowering experience for me. It will be for you too.”

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