TECUMSEH, Mich. — When Tecumseh City Council member Austin See was 19 years old, he felt his calling was in the military.
He joined the United State Marines Corps and served for six years around the world, "training with NATO nations, teaching them how to fight wars, how to defend themselves."
Eventually, See left the service and made the transition to civilian life, which was easier said than done.
"I started drinking alcohol," See said. "I just had a really rough time, rough go at everything."
Eventually, he had a wake-up call and went to the Office of Veterans Affairs. He got connected to a counselor, controlled his drinking and improved his relationship with his family.
"I realized it's possible to get out of a tough situation, but you have to do it on your own," See said. "You really have to push yourself to want to change."
Now, after more than five years on Tecumseh City Council, See felt another calling: helping veterans in Lenawee County struggling with the same issues he did.
So he founded the Lenawee County Veterans Coalition, an organization dedicated to connecting veterans with resources like housing, jobs and counseling.
"I started to think about the support system that I had while serving in the Marines and where I eventually lost that when I came home," See said.
He said too many of his fellow soldiers didn't make it to age 29 as he has, due to suicide. See wants to help as many veterans as possible now, before it's too late.
Those who were willing to give their lives deserve every resource available, he said.
"I definitely believe that if you served a day in the U.S. forces, you deserve everything you want," See said. If you're willing to put down your life for us, I thank you for your service to every veteran out there."
The coalition is looking for more volunteers. Those interested can contact See at 517-442-5603 or Asee@tecumseh.mi.us.