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Veteran “moves forward” with confidence thanks to DAV

The legacy of Jason Barbiere’s family is one of military service. His grandfathers were World War II combat veterans, and his father was an Air Force Reservist.

“I’ve always felt very patriotic,” says Jason. “I said the Pledge of Allegiance in school, believed that you take care of your neighborhood and community that it was just what you did, and that people took pride in things.”

Since childhood, Jason was a hard worker. He had a paper route as a young boy, worked at a local garage in his teen years, and worked for his father in the summer months.

“I’ve always had a hard work ethic,” says Jason.

When it came time to choose college or service, the decision was easy.

“I had the money to go to college, but which one would make a difference?” says Jason.

In 1994, when he was 19-years-old, Jason enlisted in the U.S. Marines.

“The decision I made was a family legacy. We were at war, so therefore I knew the possibility of going to war was significant,” says Jason.

After serving in an operation on the Pacific Coast, Jason was deployed to Okinawa during a violent and chaotic time where he and his fellow Marines were called to respond to riots and protests. It was at that time that he experienced his first major trauma, and realized his duty and what it meant to be a Marine.

In addition to severe back injuries he sustained while working with his infantry unit, Jason returned home with PTSD.

“I have severe problems with walking long distances or carrying a lot of weight, and because of my anxiety I sometimes have an inability to leave my house,” says Jason.

A proud Marine, Jason couldn’t imagine telling someone, “I’m afraid to go outside.” Until, that is, he connected with a DAV National Service Officer.

“He helped me find the strength to be myself and understand that my disabilities were not weaknesses.”

Now, because of DAV’s help with his claim process, and the guidance and encouragement that provided throughout the process, Jason says he has a better ability to help others because he can identify with them.

“The most important thing that DAV helped with was helping me to stay focused and find a positive direction,” says Jason. “For a lot of veterans with severe PTSD, it’s hard for us to remember things we’re supposed to be doing. I really can’t say enough about how my experience with DAV helped me find a way to tell my story and keep my head up throughout the process.”

Jason wants other veterans to reach out to DAV.

“DAV has made me an optimist moving forward,” says Jason. “The job DAV has done is why I continue. I have so much confidence now. DAV has changed my life.”

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