Working with Veterans

Hello again. I have just started my 3rd and final year as a student in the Triangle Distance Ed program. This means that I am now classified as a full time student.  I am currently taking 3 classes, which is more than the 2 classes per semester I have been accustomed to.  Anyway, it is a busy time, but also a really great semester so far.  I am really beginning to experience how all the learning from my first two years is “coming together” as I get more into my Direct Practice classes including Trauma & Violence, Adult Mental Health Theory & Practice, and Substance Abuse: Clinical Practice. Also, I am doing my field placement at the Durham VA Medical Center, working in the outpatient mental health clinic.  I am truly growing fond of working with this new population, as 100% of my clients are veterans. I have already seen numerous new experiences and am grateful for the beautiful “fit” this field placement makes with my educational and career goals.

As part of my work at the VA, I participated in an event last Friday called the 2012 Bull City Stand Down. This is a community-wide outreach day serving Veterans in the local area. Though all Vets are encouraged to attend, this event seems to be geared toward providing services and information for additional services to the homeless Veteran (The VA has been making a very big push with several new initiatives in recent years to address the problem of homeless Veterans!). The VA is only one of a large number of organizations that showed up to volunteer and provide services and information to this deserving population this day. I did not hear an official count, but there were a large number of people in attendance and many Veterans were assisted in a wide variety of areas including housing, legal services, food, mental health services, various other healthcare services (including flu shots offered by the VA), clothing, and even a hot shower for those that wanted one.

One of the highlights of my day (see picture) was the opportunity to speak with and have my picture made with Joseph Burrucker. At age 86, he is one of the last remaining Tuskegee Airmen from World War II. And, interestingly enough, after his time in the service, he went on to become a social worker!  How cool, is that?!

Well, gotta go “hit the bricks” for Chapel Hill, so I’ll sign off now. Thank for reading!




About Boyd Wilson

I am a 2nd Year student in the Triangle Distance Ed. MSW program here at the UNC School of Social Work. I live in Raleigh. I am 47 years old and began a mid-life career change a few short years ago. After taking some substance abuse counseling classes and passing a credentialling exam, I began working as a substance abuse counselor in 2009. I am passionate about working with people who live with addiction. I am currently doing my foundation year field placement in an employer-based field placement setting at First Step Services in Raleigh, NC. The focus of my field placement work is working with the adolescent substance abuse program at First Step. I am still exploring specific populations that I would like to serve in the substance abuse field. During my first year I did some research for an oral presentation where I learned more about "pregnant and parenting females with substance use disorders." I found myself getting quite interested in someday working with this stigmatized population and hope to do so at some point in my career. At this point I would say that I have an interest in that population as well as adolescents and adults who live with addiction. I also have a strong interest in the use of spirituality in the healing process. As for outside interests, I enjoy competitive swimming and working out at the gym.
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