Whether it's through our jobs or our social lives, we've all been hit by this pandemic. A survey's just found this time has taken an especially harsh toll on a large part of our community.
In different chapters of Bill Jones' life, he's become a dad. He's been a Fort Campbell vet deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. One chapter truly could not have been more unexpected.
"I got an email that KISS and Def Leppard are hiring a veteran for the summer," Jones said. "That started my roadie career."
For years, Jones hit the road as a video technician.
"I've been on tour with Rod Stewart, Cyndi Lauper, and Cardi B," Jones said. "It was amazing."
Another unexpected chapter came when COVID stopped his work on the road.
"Completely derailed the entire live events industry," said Jones. "It's been a year, and we still haven't gotten back."
Jones appreciates the factory job he's been working during COVID, but he said the pandemic's unexpected challenges are hard for vets like himself, vets diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
"It's put a challenge on veterans unlike anything else," said Jones.
"The pandemic's difficulties made things worse," said Melanie Mousseau of the Wounded Warrior Project.
Mousseau told us they've had 30,000 responders to a survey of post 9/11 veterans they serve.
"52% of warriors said their mental health was worse as a result of social distancing," she said. "61% said they felt disconnected from friends, family, the community."
With many vets also experiencing employment challenges in the pandemic, Mousseau said their Warriors to Work program is helping vets find jobs and get access to mental health care services.
"Seeking help is a sign of strength," she said.
Waiting for the day the touring gets back in gear, Jones hopes for a shared understanding of what the pandemic has done to many.
"It has been an absolute challenge," he said.
Research on the mental health of post-9/11 vets during COVID was funded by railroad company CSX. The company told us one in five of its employees is a veteran, and that's why studies like this one are so important.
"This research in particular really helps shine a light on what resources and what type of support is needed out there to get to folks that need it the most," said Bryan Tucker of CSX.
For more on the results of the survey, visit woundedwarriorproject.org