New bill aims to help veterans transition to civilian life

American flag, soldier's hat, Memorial Day, Veterans Day_8987462852450-159532

WASHINGTON D.C. (News4Utah)- A Texas congressman is introducing legislation in memory of his classmate– a veteran who took his own life after he left the service.

It’s been a year, but Texas Republican congressman Jodey Arrington remembers every detail.

“He was strong, he was tough, and he was a warrior’s warrior.”

His friend and classmate, Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Bill Mulder, took his own life.

Arrington says Mulder struggled to adjust to life at home after he left the service.

“We didn’t know…no one knew,” he said.

His bill would devote more money to helping veterans prepare for and adjust to civilian life.

The Transition Improvement Act of 2018 would target active duty service members one year before they return home.  The bill provides money for job training. It also would connect them with support organizations within their communities.

Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke –a co-sponsor—says the bill would pair active duty soldiers with a counselor to help them throughout their frequently difficult transition. 

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 20 veterans take their lives every single day.

“It is literally going to save lives and give those lives greater purpose and function and ability to contribute to the greater success of this country,” O’Rourke said.

Arrington says he hopes to bring the bill to the House Floor in the next few weeks.

“We don’t want to wait until they are homeless or they are suicidal…we want to get with them on the front end and earlier,” he said.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, help is available 24 hours a day.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the University Neuropsychiatric Institute Crisis Line at 801-587-3000 or by using the free SafeUT app.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...