As part of our Standing Up For Heroes Series, we are pairing veterans with mentors who can help them achieve their professional goals, and perhaps at the same time, ease the transition from military life to civilian life. One of those veterans is Former Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot, Lindsey Melki, whom we met through American Corporate Partners, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting veterans in their transition from the armed services to the civilian workforce. Lindsey served part of her active duty in Iraq – where she received two Air Medals and logged over 500 flight hours. Now she is back on U-S soil and earning her MBA at New York University. She is hoping to move into the business world, and find a way to continue to help serve her fellow veterans by addressing some of the issues they face when they come home.
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Lindsey recently met with her mentor, business man and Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, and his Chief Service Officer, Diahann Billings-Burford. They discussed Lindsey’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the importance of corporate social responsibility, and explored the areas that Lindsey might be able to make the most impact.
But the help didn’t only go one way – Diahann also asked Lindsey what she thought was the greatest issue facing veterans today, and Lindsey highlighted the importance of mental health, saying, “There was a recent article on how there have been more deaths from suicide, than from the Afghanistan war alone. And I think, if you’re not mentally healthy you can’t hold down that job, so you can’t get housing, and you will have family problems.”
Diahann appreciated the insight, and offered Lindsey the opportunity to begin to help by volunteering at NYC Service, a city wide initiative in New York City, aimed at driving volunteers into areas where there is the greatest need. Lindsey will continue meeting with Mayor Bloomberg and Diahann, and we will catch up with them again in a few weeks.