Help Our Troops

You Are Not Alone Veterans Foundation Proudly Serves Veterans and their Families! We provide resources and expertise to assist with obtaining housing, recieving entitled benefits, maximizing employment opportunities, and providing counseling whenever needed.

Our veterans are returning to an economy challenged by record unemployment rates and a stagnant job market. At the federal, state and local levels we are failing to help veterans transition from military service to the civilian work force. After World War II, exemplary programs and support for veterans created the American middle class and helped the “greatest generation” to become great. We owe this generation nothing less. We are dedicated to helping our veteran’s who are in need.

With your support we can make this country a better place for all veteran’s who have fought for this country.

How It All Started

Ronald Sykes is a veteran and the founder of, You Are Not Alone Veteran’s Foundation. Ronald’s story is very inspiring. He hit rock bottom after coming back home from the Iraq war. He was suddenly faced with fighting two wars. He had to fight for his health and a roof over his head. Although, his struggle to get his life back in order was not easy, something good came out of it. He realized that there was not enough resources to help veterans in need. As a result he was inspired to establish a non-for profit organization that will assist veterans with receiving the services they need. His own real life experience is a testimony of how helping one another makes this country stronger.

Services We Offer

Food Pantry | Hot Meals

We understand that times can be hard; and you may find yourself in a situation where food is unavailable to you. Our food pantry is an emergency resource for those veterans who are in need of food. We also understand that food is one of the most basic necessities of life and no veteran should go without it. We also strive to provide a place for veterans to grab a hot meal during holidays in order to lift your spirits up and offer encouragement.

Benefits and Entitlements Assistance

Each individual circumstance may vary from person to person. We take the time to learn what your needs are to find the appropriate services that will benefit you as a veteran. We provide assistance with obtaining health care, public assistance, food stamps, and other entitlements that may be available to you as a veteran.

Transportation Assistance

Let’s face it, traveling back and forth to appointments is not cheap in New York City. We work with you to find transportation that is convenient and affordable.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Counseling

Dealing with the past can be hard. Instead of telling others how you feel, you may keep your feelings bottled up. But talking with a therapist can help you get better. We work hard to assist you in finding PTSD counseling services in your area. We know how beneficial PTSD counseling can be for your overall well being and highly recommend it if you are suffering with PTSD.

Support Groups

Support Groups are very beneficial because you can connect with others who have experienced what you have. It reminds us that we are not alone in our struggles. It also encourages us to lift one another up especially when we are down. We provide support groups for our veterans to meet, share, and discuss topics that interest them as a group.

Conquering the Battle Zone in His Mind

“After the smoke cleared,” Ronald Sykes was saying, “after the smoke cleared …”

Now he had to stop. He stood up in his kitchen, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, in his military uniform. He sighed. He walked to the bathroom. He splashed his face with water. He told himself it would be O.K. Then he came back out and sat down with a grimace on his chair.

“After the smoke cleared,” he went on, “we had to take pictures of the body parts. Some guy from the Q.R.F., the Quick Reaction Force, he ran off to the mess hall for some ice. He put the body parts on top of the ice. And that’s when I finally saw what a human heart looked like.”

That had been in Baghdad, in early 2005, and Mr. Sykes, an Army specialist with Bravo Company, First Battalion, 69th Infantry, a fighting unit of the New York National Guard, had just survived a suicide attack. The bomb, he said, had scattered parts in a two-mile radius across Camp Liberty. It had been hidden in the trunk of a white BMW 740 — a car he will never forget.

“And the smell,” he said. “I’ll never forget that, either. Like rotten fish and cabbage.”

With the conflict in Iraq in its seventh year, most people know that soldiers fight two wars: the one that is conducted in the battle zone and the other that begins when they return home. Ronald Sykes’s body survived deployment to the battle zone. But his mind is crowded with dreams and recriminating guilt. He sees things: his buddy, Chavez, running toward the car bomb from the observation tower; the body of a dead Iraqi boy; the brains of an American civilian at the camp seeping out from a large, wet hole in her head.

When Mr. Sykes, 45, was discharged from the Guard in mid-2006, he came home looking for a scapegoat and found one, he said, in himself with the help of Jack Daniel’s.

“I was not the kind of person you would have wanted to be with,” he said. “All I did was sit alone all day, in the dark, in my apartment. I couldn’t stand the light.”

The Army gave him pills to cope with his depression and medicine to counteract his lengthy list of troubles, which included, by his own account, “post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, dreams, pain” — and perhaps most poignantly — “emotions.”

There was Trazodone, Gabapentin, Oxycodone, Citalopram, Fluconazole, Donepezil and Ranitidine — and, if the pharmaceutical combination did not drive him crazy, then perhaps the maddening mix of mishmashed syllables finally did.

“He was basically incapable of functioning,” said his fiancée, Marion Council.

Mr. Sykes, a former chef and caterer who specialized in chicken wings and a spicy Southern crab dish, had started to fall behind on his bills. Lights, gas, phone and $1,200 in monthly rent. He was on a waiting list to receive money from the Department of Veterans Affairs, but the payments were not coming.

He tried to boost his résumé by enrolling in the French Culinary Institute in SoHo, but walked out spooked to death one day when blood splashed on his chef whites while he was boning a chicken. So he finally stowed his pride and approached Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, one of the seven agencies supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund.

Just this August, the agency gave him enough money to cover a month’s rent. That single dose of kindness apparently did more good for Mr. Sykes than any combination of his pills.

Now he plans to move to Delaware and hopes one day to open a restaurant, where, beyond his kitchen duties, he will mentor local children and teach them how to cook.

“When I’m cooking,” he said, “it takes me away. It’s my therapy. It’s what I do to stop me from thinking about what happened.”

Article Referenced from
Published: December 27, 2009