In honor of Memorial Day, Clarion reached out to veterans to talk to them about preventing violent extremism. This following is Part II of our series “Veterans Speak Out.”
While there is no miracle solution in preventing violent extremism, one avenue that needs to be doggedly pursued is parent training. Clarion Project’s National Correspondent Shireen Qudosi speaks with Veteran’s Community Response founder Darrin Coldiron, and board member Roger Vielle and Mike Carroll, on the need for training parents as a means to prevent child exploitation and radicalization. Veterans Community Response is a non-profit focused on empowering veterans to become productive, contributing members of their communities.
Roger Vielle is Blackfoot and Kiowa, born and raised on the Blackfeet Nation in Northwest Montana by his grandparents. As an elder, he has the following words of wisdom to share with troubled communities.
“If your daddy is a gang banger and he’s telling you all these things, and that’s all you see, and there’s no one else to guide you in all this, then that’s what you’re going to do. There’s good kids that go bad. The parenting right now … this technology that we have right now, the games, the TV, the violence. Kids get home and there’s no one home and they get into other things. They start trying to find other things …
“It is the parenting, but the parents need to know. The parents need to be trained. I think ‘respect’ needs to be a class in high school … If I had to do it, it would be taught in the native way, and we’d have to get some elders in. We’d have to start with the basics, even if they’re teens.”
The hour-long conversation includes VCR president Coldiron (right), Vielle (left) and Carroll (back).
Coldiron was born and raised in Montana. He has been a firefighter for 19 years in Eastern Washington. For the past 14 and 1/2 years, he has served as president and founder of Veterans Community Response, which helps combat veteran reintegration and works on various disaster missions.
Vielle is Blackfoot and Kiowa, born and raised on the Blackfeet Nation in Northwest Montana by his grandparents. Roger has served veterans for the past 10 years as a native spiritual adviser and VCR board member. He is also an instructor at The University of Idaho. Roger served in the U.S. army during the Vietnam War. He is a combat vet who worked in military intelligence.
Carroll served in the U.S. army, deploying to Iraq in 2003. Mike has been working in reintegrating combat vets since 2008. Mike serves for VCR as a peer mentor and as Roger’s right hand man.
If you’re a combat veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Veterans Community Response is a resource created for you. The last five minutes of the interview offers a pathway to connect with the Veterans Community Response.