Veterans can face a series of issues after returning from their service to the country – while suicide as the result of post-traumatic stress is one concern, another is simply declining health with age and potential war injuries. Oftentimes, the veteran will have served with people from around the country, but ultimately return to their hometown – and they may not have the right support in place, or at least people who can understand the experience of reintegrating with society after a war tour.
Jake Wood, a member of the U.S. Marine corps, developed an app called POS REP that may help some of these problems.
It’s a proximity-based app, and it uses GPS to connect veterans to each other and to resources in their community. It’s been live since the end of 2012, and from 2013 to 2014, there’s been a 64% growth in users. (Currently, it doesn’t exist on Android, but that’s the next thing on deck for Wood.)
POS REP, by the way, stands for “Position Report” (a military term), and you get touch-screen notifications that say things like “So-and-so has entered your perimeter” when a fellow veteran moves nearby or goes to a meeting.
Here’s a basic summary of how the entire process works:
After verifying their veteran status, users can find other registered veterans nearby and group chat with their unit on the go. The app also connects users with local resources, which, Allman says, isn’t part of the current military discharge process. “When someone chooses to leave the military, they are required to attend a battery of transition classes sponsored by various government agencies. But for transition programs to be effective, I argue they must take place in the community where you choose to reside after service,” Allman says. “With POS REP, veterans tap one button and we present options based on location. We allow transitioning veterans to tap into the local knowledge of those who are already there, and we give veteran service organizations a free mobile capability.” The result: Organizations that aren’t financially or technically equipped to go mobile are connected directly to the people they seek to serve.
This is positive for any number of challenges a veteran might face, be it stress, potential harm to self, medical issues, or simply re-integrating into their community and making new friends. (Nothing creates friendships like shared experiences, and this app starts you from a place of very deep shared experience.)
You can learn more about POS REP at their official website, as well.
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