TUSCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — Transitioning from military to civilian life is hard for a lot of former servicemembers and Veterans, but one organization in Central Illinois is aiming to change that one week at a time.
It’s why Gunnar Edwards and other local Veterans decided to start 217 Vets.
It’s something only current and former servicemembers can understand.
“I came here looking for that connection that veterans always look for and I found it,” said Cameron Frazee. “Do you think you’d be here without it? asked WCIA 3’s Brandon Merano. No, 100 percent and I told Gunnar that and I mean to be completely honest, no I wouldn’t and this group has given me that purpose we all look for,” added Frazee.
The man behind the purpose all these veterans like Cameron Frazee are looking for is Gunnar Edwards who spent a year serving in Afghanistan from 2012 to 2013.
“Whenever you get back sometimes you don’t have anything or anyone who can relate to the crappy stuff you saw or experienced,”
It’s why he started the non-profit organization 217 Vets in Tuscola.
“It’s been life-changing and life-saving for a lot of people. We have people straight up say this organization has saved their life, people will tell you that if it wasn’t for this place they wouldn’t be here anymore.”
And when this group meets every Wednesday night, there’s a constant reminder and honor for those who aren’t here anymore.
“That relationship really developed into a really close-knit family that you know is begun to be a part of my life that I thought I’d never have.”
Now Frazee and dozens of other veterans say the bond they have back speaks for itself.
“You could trust these people with your lives,”
The group meets every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Tuscola. More information about the group can be found online.