COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – This week, Mount Carmel Veterans Services, a nonprofit based in Colorado Springs is hosting a series of events in honor of Veterans Day.
On Wednesday November 8th Mt. Carmel will host a Medicare workshop at it’s main campus and the organization will also host five events geared toward veterans on Saturday November 11th.
Mt. Carmel Executive Director, Retired Colonel Bob McLaughlin said the goal of Mt. Carmel’s programming and services is to not only support veterans in Colorado Springs, but across the state.
“Anything from transition and employment to behavioral health to supportive services. We have some great partnerships. One in particular that's very powerful is called Next Chapter to Prevent Veteran Suicide,” McLaughlin said. “We are the State Veteran Business Outreach Center to help entrepreneurs. So for me, we're about helping any military member, veterans or their family member with whatever the need is to make sure that they can become a strong member of the community as they're transitioning from service, and once they're out of service.”
McLaughlin launched Mount Carmel in 2016 after retiring from the United States Army.
“I'm a 29 year vet of the United States Army. In my experiences in the military, with multiple deployments, watching military members serve their country in the harshest of conditions, you know, I grew to love and respect what our military stands for and what the young men and women of this country do in defense of their nation. And then as I was transitioning out of the military, I understood that we needed to take care of them in a more meaningful way,” McLaughlin said. “Normally, our military members know that they're doing something bigger than themselves. And in the most challenging times, it sustains them. Then, when that isn't in play anymore. It's a matter of what am I? What am I going to do? What's my purpose in life?”
Roger Johnson felt that way when he was medically discharged from the army in 2015.
“Did five deployments in 12 years. I was medically discharged in 2015 just due to some of the things that I saw. So PTSD, depression, those type of things,” Johnson said. “I really had a hard time in Afghanistan. Lost some key people in our organization. Lost our general, lost our major. A bunch of people I worked with got hurt. So it was really hard that year. And when I came back, I just noticed a real difference in myself. You know, easily startled, always on guard, things like that.”
Johnson said he found mental health help but realized a lot of veterans don’t know where to go for help or it can be hard to find mental health services specifically for veterans.
“I interned here at Mount Carmel and as they say, the rest is history. I've been here for almost three years now as an intern and an employee and then a program manager. Next chapter came about and I got wind of that and was like, man, I've got to be a part of that. And so, I interviewed for the job, I'm the program manager now and the rest is history,” Johnson said.
Andrew King is in the midst of transitioning from active-duty to retired.
“So I joined the military as a paralegal in the Air Corps back in November of 2015, and I served five years as a paralegal. And then I went through the Green to Gold Active-Duty option program, where I was a cadet, and I was getting all my benefits as an active duty soldier. And then I commissioned as an adjutant general, which is a human resources officer, in May of 2022. And unfortunately, I'm getting medically retired due to injuries,” King said.
King said Mt. Carmel is helping him find civilian employment.
“This is really instrumental for me personally, just because it's giving me the confidence to really brand myself through LinkedIn, be part of the social networking events and also building my resume. So this has been a really just amazing for me, just to build that confidence, to seek some connections and to be part of this family,” King said.
As a part of Denver7’s 70th Anniversary celebration and on behalf of Denver7 Gives, Denver7 awarded Mt. Carmel $7,000 to help continue serving veterans throughout Colorado.
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