BOISE - It's an issue not many of us fully understand or realize. When veterans transition out of the military, they often struggle - especially if they were injured.
For many - serving in the armed forces is all they've ever known.
So Boise-based Wyakin Foundation is trying to raise awareness about the problem - and stepping in to fill a deep need. Lifting brave warriors who put their lives on the line for our country out of one world - and into another.
Serving our country was all George Nickel had ever known.
"I had troubles transitioning out; I got wounded in Iraq," he said. "So no more military. So I had to find a new purpose.
He decided to get his degree at BSU.
"I had a hard time my first semester," he said.
Nickel found hope a couple semesters later - in the Wyakin Foundation.
"You develop a mentality of, 'I can do this on my own i don't need any help," he said. But sometimes you need somebody to take you in and say, 'now look it's much easier if someone is there beside you.'"
Veterans have to be pursuing an educational path to be in the program.
Nickel is fulfilling his career dream of helping other veterans transitioning, as a Wyakin employee.
"I figured, OK if iI can't be apart of the military and have that as my purpose my new purpose could be helping vets who may be struggling," he said.
Executive Director Brent Taylor said Wyakin's mission is to equip wounded veterans with the tools they need to overcome obstacles and be successful.
Transitioning to normal life is challenging for so many soldiers used to structure - especially those who left because they were injured.
"In the long run it's about not giving things to the veterans, it's about teaching things to the veterans," Taylor said.
Wyakin Foundation provides customized community and professional mentorship, academic and career counseling, professional development, liaison support, networking, and financial assistance.
"In order to effect meaningful change we really have to stay with these veterans in very close day to day contact for as many years as it takes," Taylor said.
Wyakin serves - in some capacity - about 60 veterans, and is seeking more warriors to aid, and more volunteers and donations.
Learn more about the Wyakin Foundation here.