by marlys good
Chris Rudd started his job as a veteran’s advocate on July 1 and he’s trying to get word out to the 1,118 veterans within Big Horn County about the Veterans Outreach and Advocacy Program because he would “like the opportunity to assist as many as possible.”
Rudd, who covers the northern region of Wyoming, (Anna Ornelaz covers the southeast and Ronda Lee the southwest) saw the job listing online, applied, and is contracted through the Wyoming Department of Health’s Behavioral Health Division. He works out of his home in Greybull.
Rudd explains that his job is to connect service members, veterans and their family members with resources that will help improve their quality of life. “I have the ability to visit veterans seeking assistance in their own community,” he said. “Our primary focus is post 9/11 veterans who may be facing problems with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), other mental health problems and/or substance abuse.
“We can also connect veterans to resources that will help them deal with many other issues related to deployments such as combat operational stress, difficulty communicating with a spouse and children, anxiety, employment, underemployment or housing concerns, feelings of detachment, financial hardship, sexual trauma and any other issues that stand in the way of happiness.” Rudd said there are also quality-of-life funds set aside to help post 9/11 veterans who are currently in treatment.
Rudd, a 1997 graduate of Greybull High School, is currently a member of the Wyoming Army National Guard. He enlisted in December 1998 and was called to active duty shortly after 9/11 to do airport security and force protection.
He was deployed overseas from 2004-05 where the guard provided residential security for the top five officials of the Iraqi interim government, and again in 2009-2010 as a convoy commander doing escort missions between Kuwait and Iraq.
His son Garret, now 9 years old, was born while Rudd was serving his first deployment so he missed the first 10 months of his life and missed another year during his second deployment.
“I know all too well some of the stresses that veterans go through,” he said “I encourage them to contact me or one of the veteran’s advocates in their region of the state, so they can assist them in finding the resources to improve their quality of life. Confidentiality is of the upmost importance to us.
Rudd said, “I had no idea that someday I would go into social work, but I enjoy it. I love the job.”
Rudd, the son of Dana and Sheila Rudd of Greybull, can be contacted by calling (307) 202-0482.