This Veterans Day, we would like to honor one of our own that has done outstanding work for our veterans in Canada: Scott Casey, from Local 7619, at Tech Resources, in Logan Lake, British Columbia, has used his own struggle to help others. Working with our Veterans of Steel program and Military Minds, Brother Casey has experienced first-hand the connection between being Steelworker and a veteran. He describes this connection in his own words:
“When we got back, we were shunned, a lot of our guys just crashed. Thirty days from the day I left the army, I was on the streets. You didn’t understand how to fit back into society so you create your own environment to fit into, one filled with good guys and bad guys. Living on the streets, the people there were my sheep, I tried to protect them because I was connected to that whole feeling of hopelessness because I understood it. I was soul searching, I was drinking, I was trying to find my place.
For 18 years I drove truck, so I didn’t have to deal with people, I didn’t want to be anybody at that time and on the road I could escape that or so I thought. In hindsight, it wasn’t good, in fact, I took myself away from society. Then I found Military Minds. They showed me there was good out there still. I got involved pretty early on, just as a way to give veterans job opportunities. Then it morphed into a PTSD peer support organization. Since then, we now provide support to about 135,000 veterans around the world. There is online peer support for a multitude of issues from losing your job, to helping with veterans affairs paperwork, to I’m just not doing well right now. We are on call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, someone is there in every time zone for you.
When it comes to activism and being a part of the Steelworkers, I started in 2010 and it was there that I found a brotherhood/sisterhood within the steelworkers that gave me the connection again, with people who look out for each other, people who want to do good and make a difference and I fell in love with it right away. Two things stood out for me, the strength already here in the union and then being a soldier, we are forced multiples and are good at strengthening from within.
Soldiers have a different set of issues that come with them after service and when we enter the work force, we find that it’s difficult to transition, but if we have a network of our own within, like the union, then we have somebody to fall back on who gets us and understands us. Working with our Veterans of Steel program, I want to see veterans looked after as the government isn’t doing its job. I want our veterans to know they have the full support of the USW in creating this network in the United States and Canada to support each other from war to work, as soldiers to brothers and sisters.”