A holiday message from Protect Our Defenders Advisory Board member and survivor Terri Odom:
As 2015 comes to an end, I think of our brave women and men serving our country and our veterans. It still astonishes me that only 1% of Americans have the honor of saying they served in the armed forces. So many remarkable people are leading us up the mountain toward positive changes within our military.
All combat MOSs are now open for the best candidate, no longer based upon gender. But sadly military sexual assault continues to be an epidemic within the ranks. Improvements have been made, but clearly it is not enough. There’s much work to do!
I want to mention that the holiday season can be extremely stressful. For many survivors, being social and festive isn’t easy at times. Make sure to take breaks, say “no,” and take it one day at a time. And certainly know that if things become too overwhelming there is help. It takes courage to reach out for help. But survivors are just that – survivors! So as we head into 2016, I know we can climb the mountains ahead together.
I would also like to thank all survivors, POD staff, and most of all, our families. They are truly our unsung heroes; they are with us when the lights and cameras turn off.
Let’s all stand tall and proud and keep our nation’s heroes in our thoughts. God bless America, and God bless our troops!
– Terri J. Odom