When Bridgewater resident Sergeant Lloyd Deans returned from duty after serving eight years in the New Jersey National Guard with a deployment to Iraq in 2008-2009, he realized adjusting back to civilian life was not quite what he expected.
Between looking for employment and peer support, Deans quickly discovered not all veteran resources were conveniently found in one central location. Seeing his military pals struggle in the same manner, Deans finally decided to take action and create an app that would help returning veterans.
“I want to provide veterans and their families the best resources all in one place in the palm of their hands,” said Deans, explaining how he believes the app is both practical and user-friendly.
Deans outsourced an app template from Calif.-based third party vendor Mobile Roadie and extracted resources from various aggregators. The app is self-funded.
The app provides a plethora of resources specifically geared for veterans, including where to find military discounts; education and employment opportunities; and medical and legal services. Instead of individuals searching through numerous websites, they now have the ability to uncover most, if not all, of their needs in one place.
In addition to providing access to resources, the app also supplies information, such as news feeds highlighting veteran issues on medicine, employment and family. Breaking news on relevant topics is also streamed. The app includes some videos containing information on alternative medicine topics like meditation.
Research has shown that some veterans suffer from increased depression and suicidal thoughts after their service, so they require outlets to heal and to vent, which they generally find in humor and in their peers.
The app offers some comedy videos and also permits instant chat with other veterans, who can ask questions, make statements, post pictures, exchange friendly jokes and discuss relatable subject matters.
Since the military life indirectly affects relatives, spouses and children, families of veterans are also encouraged to use this app and seek suitable resources.
There have been 1600 downloads of the app since January 2013 when Deans first began marketing the app.