NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) – “With patrol, you start your shift and go around, start checking your beat,” said Ryan Landry, a Norwich police officer, from behind the wheel of a cruiser. “You find yourself checking businesses, making sure there are no open doors.”
Landry is patrolling the streets where he grew up, but he served on a different scale during the years in between.
“For me, I took one uniform off and put on another. That sense of service didn’t go away,” he said.
Landry enlisted in the Army in 2009 and was sent to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Life was scary, friendships were deep, and when it was time to come home, the transition was difficult.
“Having people underneath you, taking care of them, you get into the civilian world, and you’re not valued the same,” he said.
So, he recently started a podcast called Everlasting Veteran to talk about issues like improving ways to help veterans find good jobs. Landry said both the military and the civilian world need better communication.
“There are leaps and bounds that need to happen, a remodel, an overhaul of the program,” he said.
He also wants to help veterans connect and talk about their inner thoughts while erasing the stigma of PTSD.
According to an American Warrior Project study, 24 former service members in the country die each day by suicide.
“In a sense, I’ve lost veteran friends,” Landry said. “It’s one of those things that we talk about – we talk about change that needs to happen. It’s time to make those changes.”
This husband and father of three said it’s therapeutic for him to help others.
Landry wants veterans to know – it’s OK if you’re not the same person you used to be. You can get through it with support.
“It’s OK to accept that change, that changed person, and allow people to get to know the new you and reintroduce yourself into the world,” he said.
On Thursday, we continue this two-part series with a look at a unique center for veterans in Norwich where Landry hopes to headquarter his podcast.