LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Since 2007, Marine Corps reservist Alex Nauert has faithfully served his country. He knows the potential challenges servicemen and women face when they return home. That's why he's now working to serve them as a sitting board member with the Veteran's Club.
“I saw the struggles that I went through. I saw the struggles my friends and fellow brothers and sisters when through, and it became a passion for me,” he said.
Passion is what drove so many men and women, like Nauert, to enlist and serve in the armed forces. One of the rights he fought for was the right to vote.
“The most powerful thing that we protected was the rights of all citizens to make that ultimate decision and freedom to go out and vote and be able to voice your opinions,” he said.
But, what is on the mind of veterans as they cast their ballots this Election Day? Although Nauert said he can’t speak for all vets, he says he's had plenty of conversations with vets on the issues that matter most to them.
“A really good, strong economy. Making sure we have a strong economy because it is two-fold. It helps with the end of homelessness, gives veterans the chance to bounce back,” said Nauert. "Gives them the opportunity to have jobs available out there. If the economy is doing well, that means there’s opportunities to change their lives around,” he added.
Another crucial matter is mental health and veteran suicide. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that issue as more at-risk veterans isolate themselves with the lack of personal contact. Nauert said he wants to see more being done in that arena to help turn those numbers around.
“Want to have those resources available to us out there for vets to be able to have a choice and not be necessarily locked to just the VA,” said Nauert. “We want to be able to get outside treatment to better their lives and their families."
What encourages Nauert, especially this year, has been the number of Americans who have already voted in what projects to be a very high turnout. He said it’s why he serves.
“It’s a sense of focus, sense of cause being able to voice your opinion and have that freedom of speech and be able to exercise that right. I believe every American should vote,” he said.
Veteran’s Club has programming and offers outreach to all veterans in Kentucky, not just the ones who live in the major cities.