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Finding Purpose Beyond the Uniform

When thinking of military service, we often envision the brave individuals who dedicate their lives to protecting our country. These individuals courageously embark on a journey that transforms their lives in profound ways. One such individual is John Prutting of Marmora, a former U.S. Air Force security forces team member who served in Operation Enduring Freedom, the official title of the Global War on Terrorism. Today, Prutting serves as the Veterans Outreach Coordinator (VOC) for Angelic Health.

As a child, Prutting felt like he had a call to service. Following the tragic events of 9-11, his call to duty only became more intense. The need to make a difference and protect his fellow citizens became his driving force.

“Once I completed high school, I knew in my heart that I had to serve,” said Prutting, who joined the service in 2010.

Military experience has a way of shaping one’s perspective, particularly when it comes to understanding the unique challenges faced by veterans. Veterans like Prutting are exposed to physical and mental demands that most civilians may never encounter.

“I don’t think I really understood that when I was younger and still serving,” he noted. “Once I started working with our veterans, it hit me that our care has to be almost specific to where and when we served.”

Upon leaving the military, like most veterans, Prutting found himself uncertain about the path ahead. However, he still felt the strong desire to serve and help others. This led him to a career in healthcare, which aided his passion for assisting fellow veterans.

“It’s not always the load that weighs you down, it’s the way you carry it.” —John Prutting, veterans outreach coordinator, Angelic Health
“It’s not always the load that weighs you down, it’s the way you carry it.” —John Prutting, veterans outreach coordinator, Angelic Health

“As the VOC, I am a man of many hats,” he said.

Within his reach, Prutting spends time with veterans and their families, hosting Veteran-to-Veteran cafes around New Jersey, fostering connections and providing support. He assists veterans in navigating Veterans Affairs (VA), including accessing the services and benefits they have earned. He also works closely with accredited veteran service officers to ensure that veterans receive the assistance they need.

“I truly believe in a veteran-to-veteran connection, especially since I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many incredible veterans,” he said.

Prutting’s military background allows him to connect with the Angelic Health Hospice veteran patients on a deeper level. He understands the unspoken bond that exists among veterans, and this connection helps foster mutual trust and empathy. Prutting advocates for veterans’ needs and ensures they receive the care they deserve.

In his role at Angelic Health, Prutting keeps a close eye on the initiatives and programs implemented by the Veterans Health Administration and the New Jersey Division of Military and Veterans Affairs. By staying up to date, he ensures that his clients receive the most relevant and effective care available.

Angelic Health, through its commitment to veterans, offers a range of resources to support the needs of these brave individuals. As a member of the We Honor Veterans program, Angelic Health adheres to the highest standards of care for veterans. We Honor Veterans provides tiered recognition to organizations like Angelic Health, known as partners. There are five levels that partners can achieve in the program, and Angelic Health is close to getting its fifth star—a rare accomplishment. As part of the program, Angelic Health addresses the needs of veterans, and provides best practices for end-of-life care.

Angelic also aids veterans in navigating the VA system, connecting veterans with each other and service officers, and offering a compassionate ear to listen.

For Prutting, the most rewarding aspect of his role is witnessing the impact the veteran’s program has on his patients. Each interaction with a veteran leaves a long-lasting impression on him. Prutting recalls spending several hours with a veteran as the two exchanged stories and provided each other with the support they both needed. The positive impact the conversation had on the veteran was immeasurable and left a mark on Prutting’s heart.

To veterans who may be facing the challenges of transitioning to civilian life, Prutting offers a powerful piece of advice: “It’s not always the load that weighs you down, it’s the way you carry it.”

He adds that by acknowledging the weight you carry and seeking support when needed, you can find the strength and resilience to overcome the obstacles you may face. n

Isabella Fooks-Michnya is an Angelic Health student intern.

Vet-To-Vet Cafe 2024 Dates

Angelic Health’s Vet to Vet Cafés provide an outlet for discussion and support of all U.S. veterans. Locally, Vet to Vet Café’s Angelic Health Community Outreach Center is on the campus of the Millville Army Air Museum, where veterans are invited to meet on the following dates, from 1 to 2 p.m.:

  • January 24, 2024
  • April 24, 2024
  • September 18, 2024
  • December 18, 2024