026 Dwayne Paro welcomes Jeremy Paris to today’s podcast, as part of our Courageous Champions of Veterans series. He was born in Buffalo, NY and joined the US Army immediately after graduating from high school. After ten years as a Personnel Administration Sergeant he left the military to become a government contractor performing computer support to the Department of Defense. Although the initial plan was to be a contractor for two years and then split, he spent the next 16 years supporting the same customer within different rolls. Jeremy has been on the staff of Veteran Artist Program (VAP), a non-profit organization, since 2010 and after leaving the DoD contractor world became the Executive Director of VAP.
While at an event in Washington DC with VAP Jeremy shook hands with people representing so many veteran-focused organizations that he was blown away. It was the realization that most veterans had no idea that these organizations existed that prompted Jeremy to start the Veteran Resource Podcast where he interviews veteran nonprofits and thought leaders. The new mission of the Veteran Resource Podcast is that every single one of the 20,000 veterans transitioning out of the military each month will have the opportunity to learn about and get plugged into the veteran organizations that are available to them.
Connection to Military and Veterans (3:12)
Joined the Army right out of high school and was put into personnel. He started as a reservist and then switched over to active duty. On active duty he intended to move over to civil affairs but ended up staying in personnel due to his MOS being in a shortage.
Courageous Champion Support (6:50)
Most veterans getting out of the military are unaware of most non-profits that exist to help veterans. Jeremy is learning about new ones all the time being in the space. These non-profits also provide the opportunity for veterans to do experiential therapy that brings them back to a sense of normalcy while they are moving forward in their lives. Jeremy was looking to see how many support organizations exist but could never find a comprehensive source. This is what guided him to create the Veteran Resource Podcast.
“This word of mouth is how I have been finding a ton of them.”
Podcasts allow people to get known by those they may not reach. An Aha moment was there are many organizations that exist to empower the veteran. They lift up these veterans by empowering them to be volunteers to support other veterans. These organizations also allow both civilian and veterans to come together, which is important culturally.
Jeremy talks with thought leaders as well and has come across some great veterans leading the charge.
“A single thread woven through the interviews was that they had at least one story of someone who was feeling down and maybe contemplating suicide…instead of going down the dark hole they ended up getting connected to an organization that changed their fate.”
He is able to do some amount of mobile interviews to get the stories of what veterans are doing at various events.
Jeremy spent a lot of time listening to various podcasts on his commutes to work to figure out how best to get the word out to veterans on the various organizations. He was astounded by the number of organizations that nobody knows about. His avenue to do this is through podcasting. Getting plugged into the non-profits is important after someone listens to an episode of a podcast.
How to Contact Jeremy (35:20)
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